Cuban President discusses employment and investment programs

According to the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Margarita González Fernández, 4 million 474,800 people are currently employed in the economy, including just over 3 million in the state sector and around 1,3 million in the non-state sector.

She explained that due to the labor reorganization process undertaken in Cuba since 2009, the number of bloated payrolls has been reduced, both in the budgeted system and in the business system. Meanwhile, employment in the non-state sector has increased.
On the priorities for access to employment, she mentioned young people who had graduated from higher and technical-vocational education, vocational and special schools, graduates of active military service, persons serving sentences, the disabled and those who had left the workforce.
She also referred to the fluctuation of the workforce, especially in the medical, pedagogical, technical and economy sectors. Among the causes expressed by the workers for requesting sick leave, she pointed out their own will, salary and distance from the work centers.
Salvador Valdés Mesa, First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, referred to the levels of underemployment that persist in the nation, and also commented that there are people who carry out economic activities without authorization and, therefore, do not pay taxes.
He argued that more attractive forms of employment should be sought, especially as part of comprehensive development programmes in municipalities. He gave an example with the mechanization that today is introduced in agriculture that humanizes work in the field.
Diaz-Canel stressed the importance of complying with Guideline 143, approved by the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, which favors the incorporation into employment of persons able to work, particularly young people, as a way of contributing to society and to the satisfaction of their needs.
He insisted on the attention that the agencies of the central administration of the State must pay to recent graduates so that after completing their social service they can remain in their posts. To this end, he said, it is urgent that they feel part of the process, that their views are heard and that they are involved in the decision-making process.
He considered it necessary for agencies and entities to better manage human resources, not to accommodate the usual allocation of graduates and to make other efforts to attract staff. We must use alternatives and design strategies to find the specialists and workers they need, he said.
Diaz-Canel advocated for the defense of the Labor Code, an advanced legal body that was approved in June 2014 and is sometimes violated by the non-state sector, as it does not respect workers’ vacations or requires physical requirements to access certain positions. This must be detected, controlled and confronted, because our Revolution was not made for that, he said.
The Cuban President’s working day also included a review of several investments currently being made in the country that have a significant impact on its economy.
On this occasion, it was time to report on the state of the investment processes in the Antillana de Acero, in Havana; in Acinox Las Tunas; in the Soda Chlorine Plant, in Sagua La Grande, as well as in the capacity program for fuel storage.
The director of Antillana de Acero, Miguel Ángel Solarana Reyes, informed that the investment process comprises two stages. The first one foresees the recovery of capacities up to 250 thousand tons of liquid steel per year; and with the second one it is estimated to maintain a stability of 420 thousand tons of liquid steel per year and 350 thousand tons of rolled steel.
The manager referred to the need to stabilize the permanence of human resources in order to assume the current productive process and future investments. Specifically, he referred to a greater incorporation of young graduates into the capital’s steel industry.
During the meeting, the satisfactory progress of the investment process of Antillana de Acero was recognized and evaluated by the Comptroller General of the Republic as acceptable.
Acinox Las Tunas reported that the investments are aimed at replacing the old technology of the 200 ton rolling mill with another more updated one, with the objective of obtaining a capacity of 150 thousand tons per year of corrugated bars and 20 thousand tons of steel wire rods.
 The director of the company, Eraldo Gonzalez Avila, said that, despite the lengthy definition of the financing, the investment process is going well and was also evaluated by the Comptroller General of the Republic as acceptable. At the moment they are working on the repair of the buildings where the new rolling mill and the wire rod block will be located.
Díaz-Canel stressed how indispensable this investment is for the broad construction movement in Cuba and for exports.
The new Soda Chlorine Plant of Sagua La Grande was catalogued as an investment that has not had good results, where the availability of financing, delays with domestic and import supplies, deficiencies in insurance and in the skilled labor force, have resulted in delays in its start-up.
Investments to expand fuel storage capacities, including the construction of new tanks, the maintenance of existing ones and the recovery of others that are out of service, were also analysed.
This program was described by the Cuban President as strategic for the development and sovereignty of the country.   

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