Tue, 11 May 2021

HAVANA, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Raul Castro, Cuba's first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), on Friday called for a "jolt" to kick the island's economy into high gear, according to Cuban media.

Speaking at the opening of the PCC's 8th Congress, Castro said economic growth required shaking off inertia and a lack of initiative, and a change in outdated management styles so companies could achieve higher levels of production, Havana broadcaster Radio Reloj said.

"The development of the national economy, along with the struggle for peace and ideological firmness, constitute the main missions of the party," Castro said in presenting the congress's key report.

Cuba needs to increase national production, especially of food, and to end the costly habit of importing, said Castro.

The congress, being held under extraordinary conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is essential two years after the approval of a new Cuban Constitution, he noted.

Castro praised his older brother and late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro for having the vision to create and foster the country's pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, which today supplies Cuba with innovative products and provides no less than five potential COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline.

Delegates to the congress, which concludes on Monday, will work in three commissions to review the country's progress in meeting economic and social development goals since the previous congress, and map out future plans.

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