HAVANA (AP) — Cuba's economy czar says plans are in place to begin an experimental phase of non-state, non-agricultural cooperatives by the end of the year.
Marino Murillo says the pilot program will cover 222 co-ops in sectors covering everything from transportation and food service to fishing and carpentry.
The creation of midsize non-state cooperatives has been a long-promised lynchpin of President Raul Castro's economic reforms. Non-state farming cooperatives already exist.
Murillo says $100 million is being budgeted for the coming year to jump-start the initiative.
He spoke Monday to lawmakers gathered for one of the Cuban parliament's twice-a-year legislative sessions. Foreign journalists were not allowed access to the session, but state television aired Murillo's speech in the evening.