Cuba counted 580,828 self-employed workers at the end of 2018

HAVANA, Feb 10th (EFE) Cuba registered a total of 580,828 self-employed workers at the end of 2018, of which 29 percent are young, 34% are women and 10% are retirees who have joined the private sector, statistics published this Sunday by state media on the island.

The provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Camagüey, Holguín and Santiago de Cuba group 65 percent of private or self-employed workers in the Caribbean country, according to the Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Security, Marta Elena Feitó, in an interview with the Juventud Rebelde newspaper.

The most representative activities are those related to gastronomy (9 percent), cargo and passenger transport (8%), rent of houses, rooms and spaces (6%); telecommunications agents (5%); and the contracted workers (26%), employees in the areas of food and transportation, said the vice minister.

Feito recalled that the main changes that have been applied since last December 7 eliminated the limit of 50 capacities for the restaurant, bar and cafeteria service, and now it is allowed to establish more than one activity of this type in the same address, and also the possibility of selling non-alcoholic beverages in bakeries-sweets was included.

The announcement of the new rules that regulate private work, which in principle had planned to restrict the number of licenses to one and limit the capacity of restaurants – popularly known as ” Paladares” – generated discontent among the recipients, which was finally settled with a reformulation of those measures.

The last balance made after the entry into force of the package of new regulations for the exercise of private work showed that 15,466 people carry out more than one activity, particularly in the gastronomy sector.

However, the vice minister noted that the new measures are still “incipient” to consider that there is a change in control, but said that there are some aspects of the established rules that “were met and others are being met.”

In this regard, he mentioned that at the end of December, 793 measures were imposed for breach of current legislation and detailed that of that figure, 610 were preventive notifications and 183 fines, 18 percent of these for illegally exercising work activities.

The directive stressed that there are still people who carry out activities illegally, in most cases on public roads and on the outskirts of state entities, and opined that this “can not be faced only by an inspection body” but must be done in an “integral” way.

He stressed that this form of non-state management must be preserved in “an act of legality” because it recognized that it is an “important” type of employment that increases the supply of goods and services, frees the State from activities that are not fundamental, and Taxes collected through this channel are a source of income for local budgets.

In Cuba, with a total population of about 11.2 million inhabitants, “cuentapropistas” already account for 13% of the population, almost four times the number registered in 2010 when the island’s government expanded private activity by a number of sectors and self-employed workers exceeded 150,000.

Photo: Rey Cuba Photography