Friday, August 05, 2005


In Spite of Dennis, Cuba will grow 9 per cent this Year

In spite of suffering heavy losses due to drought ($1.2 billion dollars) and hurricane Dennis ($1.4 billion), president Fidel Castro announced a sturdy growth rate of 7.3 per cent for the first half of 2005 and an estimated 9 per cent for the whole year, speaking at the Moncada Fortress attack´s 52nd anniversary commemoration.
He denied gloomy versions published by international media about the economy´s performance, taking into account the frequent and prolonged power cuts that affect the industrial and service sectors since last year.
According to official statistics, the most outstanding performances corresponded to branches as mining, oil production and tourism. It was said that 13 of 22 economic activities showed increase during the first half of the year.
Nickel production reached 38,200 metric tons in the first six months and export earnings that were the highest in the Cuban economy, while income from the tourism sector increased by 5 per cent with 66.9 percent occupation level. Over 1,920 rooms will be made available this year to the island´s hotel capacity.
Software production and assembly of TV sets doubled as compared to the same period of 2004. Domestic crude oil production went up by 9.2 per cent, but generation of electricity was down by more than 4 per cent due to delays in plant repairs, deficit of installed capacity and damages left by Dennis.
However, the Cuban president assured that present power generation capacity, around 2,000 MW would be doubled by the middle of next year due to the expansion of present plants and construction of new ones.
As to the country´s housing deficit, Fidel Castro assured that next year´s plan would amount to 100,000 homes, more than double this year´s estimate. Besides the 7,300 houses built before July´s hurricane, another 10,000 would be built for those who lost their homes in the storm and 30,000 additional lodgings will be made available, he said, before the end of 2005.
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