Posted on Thursday, 10.31.13
Cuba legalizes rent-a-toilets in its effort to expand private business
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
Pushing on with its effort to open its economy to market forces, the
Cuban government Thursday legalized the business of renting out public
bathrooms, providing fixed prices for five categories of facilities.
A pilot rent-a-toilet program, which was started in 2011 in Havana
province, now has been expanded to the entire island.
It allows the rental of state-owned bathrooms to private persons who
hold government licenses as "public bathroom attendants" — one of 182
categories of self employment permitted by the government.
Details of the change were contained in a seven-page resolution signed
by Minister of the Economy and Planning Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez and
published in the latest edition of the Official Gazette.
Cuban President Raúl Castro has been pushing to make the island's
Soviet-styled economy more efficient, largely by allowing more private
enterprise and cutting government spending and payrolls, since he
officially succeeded brother Fidel in 2008.
The number of public bathrooms in Cuba is unknown. Most are presumed to
be in cities and towns, and many are known to be in dire condition.
The price for using a toilet, urinal or washbasin will be one Cuban
peso, or about four U.S. cents, according to the regulations. Prices for
additional services such as "perfumes, talcum powders, cosmetics, soap,
showers, among others, are set by supply and demand," although the
renters must notify the municipalities of the services they offer.
Renters must pay for the water and electricity used at residential rates
and guarantee "quality, hygiene and good customer service," the
regulations added. Toilet facilities cannot be subleased or used for any
The complicated process require technicians from communal services
departments of municipal governments, working with current bathroom
attendants, to study the activity at each site in order to establish its
Monitors must then write and sign reports listing the location, date,
time of start and end of study, number of people who used the bathroom,
pesos collected and other services offered. The reports go to the
municipalities and local tax offices.
Rents will be pegged to expected revenues, although the first year's
payments will be forgiven "as a stimulus to guarantee the improvement of
the bathrooms and their hygiene," according to the regulations.
Based on the technicians' reports, each bathroom will be placed in one
of five categories, with those that bring in less than 69 pesos daily in
the lowest category and those whose revenues top 259 pesos a day in the
Rents will be charged accordingly.
Source: "Cuba legalizes rent-a-toilets in its effort to expand private
business – Cuba – MiamiHerald.com" –