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New unified tax code to be created in Cuba's National Assembly

07-23-2012 14:16 BJT

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In Cuba, the National Assembly of People’s Power is to begin two days of meetings. The 600 plus deputies meet twice a year. Cuban leader Raul Castro has launched the first major overhaul of the island’s SovietStyle centralized economic model.

This week’s Parliamentary session is expected to create a new unified tax code. The system is designed to help manage the country’s growing private sector.

The idea of paying tax is new to most Cubans. Wages are barely 20 dollars a month though the state supplements this with subsidized food with a ration card along with free healthcare and education.

But with the economic reforms underway the new small private businesses do need to pay tax. According to the official newspaper Granma, the National Assembly will push through major revisions to the tax code and labor laws, needed to deal with the growing private sector.

Many of the new entrepreneurs fear that if the measures are too tough they could be forced out of business. Only last week a 2 thousand percent rise in import duties were announced, a move that has caused widespread anger.

"These customs changes are bad, very bad" - this market trader told me.

Michael Voss said, "President Raul Castro faces a difficult balancing act between meeting rising expectations of change while ensuring that the old-guard buy into the reforms. And there has been resistance, particularly from bureaucrats with a vested interest in the status quo."

In previous speeches to both the National Assembly and the Communist Party Congress, President Castro has repeatedly spoken of the need for a change in mentality to accept that a private sector is compatible with a socialist system.

The National Assembly doesn’t originate legislation but can fine tune it in committee stage.

As well as tax laws, other issues to look out for this week are possible changes to the restrictive foreign travel rules and simplifying bureaucratic procedures at Government Ministries.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: CNTV.CN

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