HAVANA, May possibly 25 (Reuters) – There is no speedy repair for Cuba’s sputtering economy, its economy minister mentioned 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, mentioned there was as well tiny 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 create at residence.
“If we can´t create it, we won´t have it,” Gil told lawmakers, referring especially to some meals items 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 considering the fact that 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 important driver of a great deal-necessary foreign exchange, has struggled to revive, with visitor numbers among January and April this year at only half that of the identical period in 2019, Gil mentioned.
That has left the nation brief of the foreign currency required 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 mentioned, as inputs dried up. Quite a few fruits and vegetables have fared equally poorly, he mentioned.
Fuel that may otherwise support bolster farm production and provide goods to market place has been re-routed to electrical energy generation, Gil mentioned. Cuba utilised almost twice as a great deal diesel as planned to create electrical energy in the initial 4 months of 2023, the economy minister added.
Soaring meals rates, due to inefficiencies and dwindling production, have far outpaced the shopping for energy of most Cubans, Gil mentioned, leaving a lot of with salaries brief of covering their “fundamental wants.”
Cuba blames a Cold War-era U.S. trade embargo for a great deal of its woes, even though prime officials have increasingly known as on Cubans to obtain new strategies to overcome the sanctions.
Reporting by Dave Sherwood
Editing by Bill Berkrot
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