New Tax to Fund Preservation Efforts in Cuban Capital
HAVANA – Renters and people operating private businesses in historic
central Havana will have to contribute a percentage of their income
toward the preservation of what has been designated a World Heritage
Site, the Cuban government said Thursday.
The online edition of the official gazette revealed the new regulation,
which extends to the self-employed sector the contributions set forth
for the entities in the zone that are not subordinate to the Office of
the Historian of Havana, or OHCH.
The measure stipulated that businesses and residents in the zone "where
conservation is given priority" must contribute to its "restoration and
preservation (by turning over) a percentage of their earnings" to OHCH.
The size of the tax will be set by the Ministry of Finance and Prices.
The tax will be paid in either regular pesos or convertible pesos,
according to the type of income that the private workers receive.
Businesses will also need a permit from OHCH to pursue their activities
in the city's historic central section.
In February, the Council of Ministers approved giving greater support to
OHCH's work as well as adjusting the 1993 decree regulating its
functions and tasks to the new economic measures pushed by the
government of Raul Castro to "update" the country's socialist model.
OHCH chief Eusebio Leal emphasized to Efe in March that the plan to
restore the historic downtown area was "an expected announcement" in
Cuba of the "economic updating," basing itself on "a principle of
renovation and sustainability" and granted a "high level of executive
Raul Castro's readjustment plan, the objective of which is to overcome
the economic crisis that has gripped Cuba for decades, includes labor
reform in the state sector to eliminate swollen payrolls, broaden the
scope of self-employment activities and eliminate prohibitions such as
the buying and selling of houses and automobiles.