A committed and above all combative attitude is demanded from cadres in all management structures, and in the most diverse areas in the face of the complex situation that the country is currently experiencing, stated President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, April 23, at a Council of Ministers meeting.
He stressed that we continue defending fundamental ideas expressed by the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, and will leave no room for lack of motivation or pessimism, but will face the circumstances with resolve, optimism and above all certain of victory.
“Neither the Cuban Revolution nor Cuban revolutionaries are going to give up,” he stressed.
Díaz-Canel noted that it is necessary to follow up on the proposals made by deputies in the National Assembly of People’s Power, in particular regarding issues such as housing and associated subsidies, after surveys showed that those eligible for subsidies have lacked the necessary attention, guidance, and follow-up in the policy implementation process.
Precise instructions were offered to boost food production, mainly regarding short-cycle crops, where the strategy of municipal self-sufficiency plays a decisive role.
Once again, the President reiterated the two priorities established by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, which are on a par: defense and the economy.
The Cuban leader noted that savings must increase, and problems regarding supplies to the population must continue to be addressed, as well as the key programs for economic development, to continue advancing on goals set.
FOR GREATER COMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENT
Providing continuity to the systematic analysis of exports, foreign investment, and the use of credits by various agencies, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, explained how these matters are advancing in the Ministry of Communications, in which two strategic priorities for the development and security of the country have been defined: telecommunications and information and communication technologies.
One of the means to increase imports according to the adopted policy lies in the promotion of software development, for which the creation of science and technology parks, online support, and technical assistance, and software R&D (research and development) centers, among others, are planned.
According to the Minister, the use of external credits is fundamentally linked to financing investment that supports the program of computerization of Cuban society.
He also pointed out that telecommunications services provide income from exports, and have a well-conceived growth projection and favorable outlook.
Meanwhile, First Deputy Minister of Communications, Wilfredo González Vidal, referred to the new business opportunities using foreign capital on which the Ministry is working, two of which are related to the use of technologies and the better use of available human resources to develop computer applications and services, especially for export.
Regarding credits, he reiterated that they are mostly used for telecommunications, the development of broadband, and the digital television program.
In this regard, President Díaz-Canel emphasized that more advantage should be taken of the potential Cuba has to export IT solutions, based on the human capital developed by the Revolution. This was one of the concepts always defended by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, which materialized with the creation of the University of Computer Sciences and its development as a center for teaching, research, and production.
THE ECONOMY AT THE CLOSE OF MARCH
Alejandro Gil Fernández, minister of Economy and Planning, provided an update on fundamental aspects of the economy’s performance, as of the end of March.
Regarding the export plan, he noted slight growth with respect to 2018, while products such as tobacco, rum, and sugar and its derivatives surpassed plans. This year has also seen a fall in imports.
He insisted that improved control over the execution of the investment plan is necessary, ensuring completion within planned timeframes, especially regarding those investments associated with prioritized programs.
Gil Fernández explained that economic performance at the end of the first quarter was characterized by failure to meet planned exports, which is reversible, and requires more export items to be produced in every province. Investments, energy savings and food supplies to the population will continue to be addressed as priorities.
The President of the Councils of State and of Ministers insisted on the need to continue seeking better performance in food production, and in particular the variety of goods available to the population.
It is essential to promote conservation of energy sources, he stressed, and at the same time comply with adjustments designed to ensure the minimum impact possible on activities directly affecting the population.
He argued that the most important thing for each territory is to produce, food, and to control distribution and commercialization processes, as well as to persist in confronting illegalities, corruption, and crime.
The Minister of Economy and Planning also presented the Global Model and the directives for the elaboration of the 2020 Plan and Budget, to guarantee harmonious and proportional economic growth, and maintain macroeconomic equilibrium in the short term.
He noted that the highest growth is projected in agriculture, construction, telecommunications, tourism, transport, trade and the sugar and manufacturing industries, which coincide with those sectors prioritized in the first stage of the National Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030.
In the case of investments, these will be mainly aimed at productive activities, energy infrastructure, and increased constructive capacities.
Regarding the State Budget, it was pointed out that analysis shows that better fiscal results can be foreseen from the moment of planning, to boost revenue and ensure greater efficiency in the use and allocation of public spending.
As part of the designed directives, among other elements, priority is given to the allocation of financial and material resources for national industry; to productive links between different entities; to achieving higher efficiency in production and services; as well as to guaranteeing resources for repairs and maintenance within the Economic Plan.
Similarly, production and services aimed at satisfying food supplies, transportation, the computerization of society, housing and medicines, are supported.
President Díaz-Canel noted that these directives are not a straitjacket, but a guide to start working on the 2020 Plan and Budget, with the participation of local areas, agencies, and other economic entities.
WATER FOR ALL
Bladimir Matos Moya, first vice president of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INRH), presented a summary of the study and proposals for the reorganization of water supply and sanitation services to the population, which lack sufficient infrastructure, especially in less urbanized communities.
Eight million inhabitants currently benefit from different supply systems for which the Institute is responsible, while the rest of the population is served by other structures, which makes service more complex, especially in rural areas.
In order to overcome the difficulties that persist today, the Council of Ministers approved the INRH’s proposal that the Aqueduct and Wastewater Enterprise Group, currently being restructured, along with the Aguas de La Habana joint venture, be made responsible for guaranteeing potable water supply, sanitary, and storm drainage services, providing coverage to the entire population with access to these services.
Inés María Chapman Waugh, a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, said that with this decision we move closer to the conclusion of the water reorganization process, and the implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and the Revolution related to this vital resource.
JOB ASSIGNMENTS FOR GRADUATES
Referring to the assignment plan for higher level graduates trained in centers affiliated to the Ministry of Higher Education in the current school year, Minister of Labor and Social Security, Margarita González Fernández, noted that at the end of 2018, graduate work placements were 91% covered.
To date, she added, 93% of graduates have a graduate job placement. Exchanges with different agencies continue, and all graduates will be guaranteed a job before the end of the school year.
URBAN PLANNING IN SANTA CLARA AND CONFRONTING ILLEGALITIES
The President of the Institute of Physical Planning, Samuel Rodiles Planas, presented the General Urban Development Plan for Santa Clara, which defines 12 regulatory zones that cover the entire city, with the largest surface areas dedicated to residential and productive use.
Three stages have been defined, in the short, medium, and long terms, in which work priorities include improving the image of the city to enhance its urban and historical values; consolidating an efficient and competitive industrial and services city, where production and marketing are encouraged, as well as the use of its own resources; preparing the territory to respond to growing housing demands; promoting tourism development that protects the environment; and developing sustainable environmental policies that guarantee an increase in quality of life, among other areas.
The President of the Institute of Physical Planning also presented a report on compliance with comprehensive plans to confront illegalities by provincial and municipal administration councils, as well as the main results achieved in this regard by Central State Administration bodies, and Superior Enterprise Management Organizations (OSDE).
He commented that beginning the second semester of 2012 through the end of 2018, a considerable number of illegalities linked to territorial and urban planning were eliminated, many of which were present from previous years.
In this regard, the President of the Councils of State and Ministers stressed that these issues are not followed with adequate and systematic control, which affects the modest progress achieved in the fight against illegalities. In this sense, he instructed that work systems of territorial governments, agencies, and entities include the supervision and monitoring of the measures that have been presented, and accountability reports on compliance with these, at different times. (Information from the Presidency’s website)