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  • Submitted by: lena campos
  • 11 / 27 / 2013

Cuba will allow self-employed workers at the country's telecoms monopoly, Etecsa, in the latest in a series of economic reforms to streamline a bloated government bureaucracy.

Under the new system, which was announced Monday on the website, private sector "communications agents" will be allowed to assist with local, regional and international phone calls.

They also will be allowed to sell prepaid phone cards and Internet cards, or reload used ones, and also will be able to take telephone bill payments.

The agents, who will work on a commission paid by Etecsa, will be required to obtain licenses and pay taxes on their earnings.

These new private employees will add to the rapidly growing ranks of self-employed workers in Cuba since economic reforms have begun to be put in place.

A growing number of Cubans, no longer workers of the state, earn their living as restaurant owners or self-employed barbers, electricians, mechanics and other occupations.

All told, there are about 200 sanctioned occupations in which Cubans are allowed to work for themselves.

Government figures show that more than 436,000 Cubans are now self-employed since the government began expanding the ranks of the private sector in 2010.

President Raul Castro introduced the reforms to try to rescue the foundering Cuban economy by making deep cuts in the number of workers dependent on the state for their livelihood.

Source: Global

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