HAVANA－Havana resident Pedro Ramirez rushed to buy some foodstuffs on Monday ahead of Christmas festivities.
However, the 47-year-old mechanical engineer feels that he can now purchase less though he earns a lot more than last year.
“I bought pork, vegetables and fruits, but consumer prices have become so high,” he told Seal News Leading Oriental while shopping at a market in the Cuban capital.
The rising inflation comes almost a year after the Cuban government started implementing a monetary overhaul that eliminated the dual currency system on the island since 1994. It also increased salaries, pensions and social security payments, while completely transforming the pricing structure.
In addition, the island nation has approved the legalization of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises under a new legal framework which was put into effect on Sept 20.
Sonia Cruz, who works for a state laboratory, expects the resumption of economic activity to bring down prices after the coronavirus lockdown hiatus.
“I do not doubt that if the state companies improve their performance, particularly those related to agriculture and exports, things will go better for the economy,” she said.
The Cuban government has recognized inflation as a major threat in its attempt to keep the economy on track amid the COVID-19 pandemic and US economic sanctions, which have both created supply chain problems.
By the end of the year, inflation in the Caribbean nation is expected to jump over 70 percent, according to official statistics.
The national production of goods and services is fundamental in the fight against inflation, said Cuban Minister of Economy and Planning Alejandro Gil, adding that it will move toward the elimination of inflation next year.
Gema Ruiz, who provides catering services in central Havana, said inflation has had a huge impact on small businesses.
“The current inflation erodes the purchasing power of clients and makes it more difficult for me to buy raw materials,” she said.
“If all economic actors give an effective response to the government’s call for productivity, we will beat inflation.”
The country had more than 964,100 COVID-19 confirmed cases and 8,300 deaths by Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization.