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Cuba allows entrepreneurs to operate during pandemic. Pixabay

In a major reform of the state-dominated economy, the Cuban government will allow small private businesses to operate in most fields, eliminating its limited list of activities, state-run media reported on Saturday.

The measure, coming as the Caribbean island seeks to recover from an economic slump, will expand the field from 127 activities to more than 2,000 Labor Minister Marta Elena Feito Cabrera was quoted as saying. She spoke at a council of ministers meeting that approved the policy.


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She said there would be 124 exceptions, but the media reports provided no details.

Reform-minded Cuban economists have long called for the role of small business to be expanded to help jump-start the economy and to create jobs.

The Cuban economy has stagnated for years and contracted by 11% last year, due to a combination of the coronavirus pandemic that devastated tourism and tough U.S. sanctions. Cubans have been dealing with a scarcity of basic goods and endless lines to obtain them.


Reformist Cubans have always called for an increased role for private players in the small business sector. Pixabay

The crisis has forced a series of long-promised but stalled reforms, from the devaluation of the peso and reorganization of the monetary system to some deregulation of state businesses and foreign investment.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel said last year the country faced an international and local crisis and would implement a series of reforms to increase exports, cut imports and stimulate domestic demand.

He said the measures would include “the improvement of the non-state sector, with immediate priority in the expansion of self-employment and removal of obstacles.”

The non-state sector – not including agriculture with its hundreds of thousands of small farms, thousands of cooperative and day laborers – is composed mainly of small private businesses and cooperatives; their employees, artisans, taxi drivers, and tradesmen.

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The labor minister said there were more than 600,000 people in the sector, some 13% of the labor force. They are all designated as self-employed and an estimated 40% depend mainly on the tourism industry or work in public transportation.

Over the last six months, the government has also moved to grant access to wholesale markets for small businesses and import and export, though only through state companies. (VOA)


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India's IT spending is expected to reach $101.8 billion in 2022, up 7% from the previous year.

Driven by a surge in digital transformation owing to the pandemic, the IT spending in India is forecast to total $101.8 billion in 2022, an increase of 7 per cent from 2021, global market research firm Gartner said on Wednesday.

In 2022, all segments of IT spending in India are expected to grow, with software emerging as the highest growing segment.

Spending on software is forecast to total $10.5 billion in 2022, up 14.4 per cent from 2021.

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While experiencing a slower growth rate than 2021, spending on software in 2022 is forecast to be nearly double of what it was pre-pandemic.

"India has experienced one of the fastest recoveries despite being one of the worst hit regions in the second wave of the pandemic in early 2021," said Arup Roy, research vice president at Gartner.

As hybrid work adoption increases in the country, there will be an uptick in spending on devices in 2022, reaching $44 billion, an increase of 7.5 per cent from 2021.

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The report is a first-of-its-kind deep-dive into the world of cryptocurrency in India – one of the fastest growing consumer-bases globally.

A new monograph by the Observer Research Foundation, in collaboration with the Esya Centre, presents a deep-dive into the growth of cryptocurrency in India and proposes a balanced regulatory approach. According to the study, it would be unwise for India to place bans on private crypto assets, when it has the ability to capitalise on the opportunity offered by cryptocurrency.

The report offers key policy suggestions on building the ideal crypto regulatory framework that would both benefit India's economy and ensure consumer welfare. The Indian crypto asset industry has witnessed exponential growth over the last five years. Analysts suggest that more than 15 million Indians now hold digital currencies. As a result, cryptocurrencies, like any other financial asset, need to be regulated in order to ensure consumer welfare as well as promote innovation. This is the key finding of Regulating Crypto Assets in India, a report that has been jointly published by the Observer Research Foundation and Esya Centre, two New Delhi-based public policy think tanks.

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Rihanna was summoned from her seat to accept the honour, with the Prime Minister.

Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."

Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.

The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)


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