HAVANA, Cuba, (Telesur) – On Monday, Cuba put into effect a new legal framework that for the first time legalizes small and medium-sized enterprises. Local entrepreneurs initiated the application process either online or by attending offices set up by the government across the country’s over 160 municipalities.
“The Platform of Economic Actors that came into force with the implementation of the new legal framework had already received 75 applications to create micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as non-agriculture cooperatives,” Cuban deputy minister of economy, Johana Odriozola, tweeted.
The new measures would improve the performance of the Cuban economy and ameliorate the economic relations between state and non-state sectors.
“I will be permitted to receive donations from international companies and import raw materials,” said Nayvis Diaz, who runs a bike rental and repair shop,” she added, “this is a huge change. We are even thinking of using bamboo, steel, and other materials to manufacture the bicycles we rent in Cuba.”
Under the new legal framework, small and medium-sized companies will be able to hire up to 35 and 100 employees respectively. The small and medium-sized enterprises will only be restricted to operate in a few fields, including education, public health, defense, garbage management, and mining.
Accounting for 13 percent of the nation’s workforce, local entrepreneurs on the island are now encouraged to export through state-operated enterprises. Among them is Juan Sotolongo, who works as the coordinator of RFR Colorin, a local development project that uses flexible polyvinyl chloride materials to manufacture rain boots. With the new measures adopted by the government, he dreams of exporting boots made in Cuba to the neighboring Caribbean nations.
“For the moment, we want to improve the quality of our products to reach foreign companies based at the Mariel Special Development Zone, but in the future, we want to extend the scope of our business,” he said.