At a recent meeting Cuba’s Council of Ministers, its highest ranking executive and administrative body, reviewed the government’s budget and the Cuban economy. Here is a Cuban website’s report of the meeting.
The State Budget for 2016, which shows a deficit lower than that approved by the National Assembly of People’s Power. This was despite expenditures to restore the damages caused by Hurricane Matthew in housing, schools, roads, waterways, communications infrastructures, among others.
The State Budget for 2017 is projected to have a lower deficit than originally projected, For the first six months “gross income represents 53% of the annual Plan, which is determined mainly by the favorable behavior of tax revenues.”
For the first half of 2017, the national economy has performed in accordance with the original forecasts. Production of foods and vegetables has exceeded forecasts while milk and beef are below such forecasts. The drought has had a negative impact on this sector.
By the end of May 2017 the number of foreign visitors exceeded 2,260,000, which represents a 20% growth over the same period of 2016.
More than half a million people are now engaged in self-employment, which confirms its validity as a source of employment and increased supply of goods and services with acceptable levels of quality.
However, there are problems with this sector of the economy: use of “illicit origin” raw materials and equipment; breaches of payment of tax obligations and underreporting of income; Inaccuracies and inadequacies in control; and deficiencies in contracting for the provision of services or products between legal persons and natural persons. There also has been a lack of rigor and exigency in their monitoring and control; tendency to increase prices; and use of bank loans for unauthorized purposes.
However, the Council ratified that non-agricultural cooperatives constitute a means to free the State from the administration of subsidiary economic activities, production and services. Therefore, the Council will continue to advance the implementation of this experiment of self-employment by correcting the deviations.
 Martinez & Meneses, Council of Ministers analyzes economic progress and other important issues, CubaDebate (June 30, 2017).