HAVANA, Might 25 (Reuters) – There is no swift repair for Cuba’s sputtering economy, its economy minister stated on Thursday, as inflation, fuel shortages, plunging farm production and a money crunch drag on output and continue to fan discontent in the communist-run island nation.
Economy Minister Alejandro Gil, in an hour-lengthy presentation just before newly elected lawmakers, stated there was as well small foreign currency on the island to spend for coveted fuel, meals and farm imports, which means Cuba would increasingly scrape by with what it can make at dwelling.
“If we can´t make it, we won´t have it,” Gil told lawmakers, referring especially to some meals solutions and urging legislators and municipalities to place renewed impetus on farm output this year and subsequent.
A extreme financial crisis in Cuba, amongst the worst because Fidel Castro´s 1959 revolution, has led to shortages of meals, fuel and medicine and contributed to a record-breaking exodus of migrants north to the United States.
Tourism, as soon as a crucial driver of substantially-necessary foreign exchange, has struggled to revive, with visitor numbers in between January and April this year at only half that of the similar period in 2019, Gil stated.
That has left the nation brief of the foreign currency vital to import crucial farming necessities like fertilizer and animal feed.
The production of pork for the state, for instance, plunged from a record 199.7 tonnes in 2017 to just 16 tonnes in 2022, Gil stated, as inputs dried up. Numerous fruits and vegetables have fared equally poorly, he stated.
Fuel that may well otherwise support bolster farm production and provide goods to industry has been re-routed to electrical energy generation, Gil stated. Cuba applied almost twice as substantially diesel as planned to make electrical energy in the 1st 4 months of 2023, the economy minister added.
Soaring meals costs, due to inefficiencies and dwindling production, have far outpaced the shopping for energy of most Cubans, Gil stated, leaving a lot of with salaries brief of covering their “simple demands.”
Cuba blames a Cold War-era U.S. trade embargo for substantially of its woes, although major officials have increasingly named on Cubans to discover new approaches to overcome the sanctions.
Reporting by Dave Sherwood
Editing by Bill Berkrot
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