HAVANA, May 18 (UPI) -- The Council of Ministers in Cuba said self-employed workers could now hire non-family members, as the government seeks to expand private sector jobs.
The government under Raul Castro intends to lay off 1.3 million public sector workers, although the first wave of layoffs, set for April 1, was delayed as the government said the private sector was not creating jobs fast enough, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
There are 178 categories of self-employment in Cuba, including vendors who sell food or clothes on sidewalks in shopping areas. Until Saturday, only 83 of these were permitted to hire non-family members, the newspaper said.
With only had 295,000 Cubans licensed as self-employed, however, it is likely the sector will only absorb a fraction of the 1.3 million the government plans to lay off.
A report in Granma, the official newspaper in Cuba said, "The Council of Ministers agreed to extend to all of the non-state sector activities the approval to hire employees and continue the process of easing the restrictions on self-employment.''
The newspaper added that more details would be forthcoming.