Cuba reduces taxes to stimulate self-employment

12:36, May 28, 2011      

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Cuba's self-employed will enjoy a significant amount of tax cuts as the government has adopted a series of measures to boost the country's private economy, the official daily Granma reported on Friday.

The report said self-employed workers hiring between one and five employees will be exempt from certain taxes this year. Other jobs including home construction and transportation will see temporary or permanent tax cuts.

The government has also raised the seating limit in private restaurants from 20 to 50.

These measures were approved at a recent meeting of the Council of Ministers to facilitate "the rise of self-employed work as an employment alternative," said Granma.

Apart from cutting taxes, the Cuban authorities also decided to further expand the current categories of private jobs, taking in occupations like insurance agents and wedding planners.

Restaurant owners, landlords, agricultural products sellers, private taxis and cargo carriers will benefit from these measures.

Cuba has so far issued licenses to 314,538 "self-employed" workers. The country has a population of 11.2 million.

In October 2010, local authorities approved 178 categories of self-employment, seeking to find "new ways of working" as the country decided to streamline the bloated state-run firms to "update" its socialist model.

The expansion of the private sector is one of the major economic reform measures proposed by Cuban leader Raul Castro and ratified at the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in April.

Raul Castro stressed at the Congress the need to rectify "old mistakes that have damaged the Cuban economy for the last 50 years".

Source: Xinhua
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