Deputies discuss critical national issues in standing committees

This article originally appeared in the Granma | Wednesday, 15 July 2015 | Click here for original article

Among the central topics addressed were the performances to date of the 2015 national economic plan, state budget and housing construction programme

Cuban deputies took center stage during three days of debate in the National Assembly’s standing committees, focused on critical, prioritised national issues related to the economic, social and political life of the country.

Prior to the fifth ordinary session of the eighth legislature, set to begin tomorrow July 15, deputies discussed and analysed reports from ministers, leaders and specialists from a number of state entities, regarding the progress of plans being implemented as part of the updating of the country’s economic model.

Among the central topics addressed were the performances to date of the 2015 national economic plan, state budget, and housing construction programme, as well as progress in the granting of approved subsidies and credits for self-initiated construction and housing repair.

Although progress is still considered insufficient in expanding housing, reports indicated that 30,000 dwellings will be completed this year via government and homeowners’ efforts, which should contribute to meeting the population’s needs.

Another important issue discussed in the standing committees was the current status of Cuba’s aging population and measures being taken to improve group homes for the elderly and community senior citizen centers. With one of the oldest populations in the region, 19% of Cuba’s population is over 60 years of age, a figure which will reach 30.8% by 2035.

It was emphasised that life expectancy in the country has surpassed 78 years, and that the health profile of this older demographic segment is characterised by chronic diseases which impact functionality, and includes a growing number of Alzheimer’s patients. This reality implies the need for changes in the delivery of health care services and treatment, deputies insisted.

Also addressed was attention being paid to the training of workers required for economic development; strategies to follow; and the role of various entities, particularly in the development of vocational-technical high schools.

Experts from the Ministry of Education reported that, since 2009, a process has been underway to re-formulate study plans for all specialties at this educational level, which is responsible for developing a workforce of skilled workers and technicians, in accordance with demand in each of the country’s provinces.

In the Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Environment Committee, a wide-ranging, critical and timely discussion took place on the cultural policies of public spaces and venues. The need to defend the nation’s identity, and promote the consumption of quality cultural products, was emphasised by deputies as essential to the nation’s sovereignty.

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