`Lack of hard currency Cuba’s most pressing problem’

January 12th, 2010 - 11:57 am ICT by IANS  

Havana, Jan 12 (IANS/EFE) Cuban Vice President Marino Murillo has said that a shortage of hard currency remains the most pressing problem for the island’s communist government.
Murillo, who is also economy minister, said that Cuba needs bigger exports and import substitution to generate reserves.

The vice president told a gathering of economists that the government is giving priority to revenue-producing sectors such as tourism, telecommunications and civil aviation, Communist Party daily Granma reported.

Cuba is suffering through one of its worst slumps in decades as a result of the global recession, the continuing US embargo and the shortcomings of its own economic model.

Raul Castro, who formally succeeded ailing older brother Fidel almost two years ago, has reduced the size of Cubans’ food rations, cut back on energy use and suspended payment of Havana’s foreign debts in a bid to relieve the government’s liquidity squeeze.



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