Cuba allocates 22.6 per cent of GDP to Social Programs
Georgina Barreiro, minister of Finances and Prices, presented this Friday before the plenary session of the Cuban parliament the 2007 State budget, where the resources destined to public health, education and culture sectors are due to increase, together with retirement and social security pensions, the country's defense and home security.
The eighth ordinary period of sessions of the Cuban parliament, presided over by first Vice President and Minister of Defense Raul Castro, Barreiro announced that the budget assigns 4.8 billion pesos to support investments related to the education and health sectors, housing construction, infrastructure for transport, energy and water resources.
She also stressed significant resources will go to subsidize regulated products sold to the population in which the country spends around one billion dollars in order to guarantee the products included in the basic food basket.
Minister Barreiro said it was considered convenient to provide 300 million pesos as an emergency fund for possible natural disasters for the next fiscal year.
State control will focus on the money destined to its economic and social improvement, in order to obtain the most from available resources.
Barreiro said it is estimated national income will grow by 9.8 per cent next year, mostly due to export of services, retail sales and the increase of managerial efficiency, while expenses will grow 9.1 per cent, reflecting a positive trend.
The balance between income and expenses for the year 2007 is expected to leave a 1.9 billion pesos deficit, equivalent to 3.2 per cent of the GDP, trend consolidated over the last years that helps to maintain the deficit in a sustainable rank.
The Minister also reported that pensions will amount to 3.9 billion pesos, 330 million beyond the figure planned for the current year, while social security will reach 1.2 billion pesos, allowing to attend 588 thousand 097 beneficiaries.
The social development indicators reached and recognized by international organizations, she stressed, are higher than those shown by many countries with greater resources, placing Cuba in an outstanding position in spite of the unjust and criminal blockade imposed by the United States government almost half a century ago.
The economic and social results of the country show the tenacity and efforts of the Cuban people and in agreement with this year's budget allocation which allowed for a 12.5 per cent growth of the GDP, the highest rate in the region, affirmed the Minister.
Source: Prensa Latina