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Cuba: The interruption of self-employment licenses a pending task.
Cuba: The interruption of self-employment licenses a pending task. Photo: Radio Habana Cuba.cu
The recent freezing by Cuban authorities of the granting of licenses for a large group of self-employment modalities will not exceed six months, which is the term expected to last an ongoing revision process of the performance of this sector.

In statement to Cuban television, First Deputy Labor and Social Security Minister Marta Feito said that the recently announced freezing of license grants is not a setback, as many may believe, but a process aimed at improving self-employment, control and at honoring the current laws regulating the activity.

It depends on the proceedings aimed at approving necessary regulations, which will hardly last six months, since all actors involved have shortened the time to step up the process, said Feito.

On August 1, Resolution 22 of the Labor and Social Security Ministry got in force announcing the freezing of new licenses for 27 self-employment modalities, till the current improvement process in the sector concludes.

The announcement raised concerns and polemic among the people, particularly self-employees and others who were preparing to apply for licenses and join the sector, currently with over 500 thousand workers.

But the official said that the measure has to do with many irregularities and illegal attitudes already detected, following lack of control by local state entities in different territories.

For this reason, Feito pointed out, public officials at all levels are now being submitted to a training process so that they be able to explain about the rules, and the country’s policy towards the non-state sector, about those workers’ rights and duties and particularly about new modifications stemming out of the current improvement process.
Feito announced that the approval of a license will seriously consider the impact of the future business on the community, so that there are no contradictions with the environment or social activity.

The freezing of licenses and the current process of improvement within the self-employment sector came on the heels of statements by Cuban President Raul Castro at a Parliament session in July as he stressed the need to fight illegalities and irregularities in the economic activity.

“I consider it convenient to emphasize that we have no renounced to keep deploying and developing self-employment or to continue with the experiment of the non-agriculture cooperatives. We will not withdraw from it or stop it, we will not allow stigma or prejudices against the non-state sector, but it is crucial to respect the laws, consolidate what we have advanced and spread the positive aspects of it, which are not few, and then resolutely face illegalities and other irregularities foreign to the established policy, ” said Raul Castro.

Self-employment is considered a complement to the state economic sector and a relief for the state’s administration of a large group of services which turned to be inefficient and of low quality.

Private restaurants, cafeterias, design shops, cell phone repairs and many other services have proven to be of high quality and have garnered the preference of the people, although there are prices that are not always affordable for the salary of the average Cubans. Taken from ACN

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  • William J Read

    Cuba should improve the attitude of many employees serving the public, whether or not they are "self employed". On too many occasions when I meet Cubans in shops, hotels, restaurants etc they are not interested in their work, and hence the customer receives poor service. They are not pro-active; for example, when I tried to buy a map of Havana in a Havana hotel shop, the worker said that he did not sell them.. He is asked all the time for maps, but has never taken the initiative to sell them.