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FBIS-LAT-95-173-S Daily Report 6 Sep 1995 CUBA

Castro Comments on Tax Collection

PA0609065195 Havana Tele Rebelde Network in Spanish, 0300 GMT 6 Sep 95 PA0609065195 Havana Tele Rebelde Network Spanish BFN [Remarks by President Fidel Castro during the debate on the Foreign Investment Law by the National Assembly of the People's Government session in Havana on 5 September, from the "This Very Day" program -- recorded]

[FBIS Translated Text] I am certain, and we are seeing that already, that we will come out stronger. This is the result of our unity, the role of the party, mass organizations, and the work we are conducting, which are allowing us to win the battle. That is why I am saying that we will solve many of these problems that will arise. The commitments that we consider sacred will always be so. We will not violate them.

We could enact another tax law, but (?not for) those who have accepted the current one, if one day in the future, higher taxes are advisable, since a socialist state needs money to uphold its achievements. That money has to come from the profits of enterprises, and it has to come from the profits we make, our efficiency, our tax collection. We must still wage a great battle on tax collection, on the collection of taxes on personal income. We are winning the battle on improving finances, but we still need so many things.

People are running out of money one way or another. But, some of the money is being concentrated in a few hands. There are people earning lots and lots of money under the current circumstances. That is why I was talking about taxes, taxes paid in pesos, taxes paid in foreign currency. Many problems arise. We receive a big house: The family leaves, one is left behind. Then, that someone is not going to pay [words indistinct] and leases it to a foreigner for 600 pesos or 700 pesos. What are we going to do with the housing problem? How do the people benefit from all that? How do we collect taxes?

(?You are) trying to create a strong corps of inspectors comprising serious people, who have the resources [words indistinct] since collecting taxes under these conditions [words indistinct] becomes something outlandish. An individual earns 400 pesos in one day, 300 pesos. That is impossible. They become millionaires. We have to begin to cope with something that was unheard of, namely, taxes. Everything belongs to the state. In addition, it has to subsidize many enterprises because of their inefficient organization and production. We have to wage many battles, but I see a better spirit among the people. I see a better spirit in the cadres of militants, the population.

That spirit is rising. We must use it to the full for all these battles that are much more difficult than the ones we waged before. The (?earlier) battles were easy. We mismanaged and squandered fuel, tractors, tires. We used to do everything. We had inventories of unused items. Millions of things. We had many more tractors and trucks than we needed, and so on. We used to do everything, we had everything. Everything was much easier. We also had vices, defects, and the deviations that stem from abundance.

We will (?have to resort) to all the virtues, efficiency, seriousness, responsibility, and capacity that difficult times require. I have no greater concerns. We have been debating this law, which we know is not perfect. We have so many resources and mechanisms to implement a policy. Often, a problem gives rise to an extreme solution. If there is a [words indistinct] to resolve it. For instance, we are seeing how workers are joining [passage indistinct], which is not the result of the surplus of money [words indistinct] without leaving anybody unprotected, without closing schools, hospitals. At any rate, we have accomplished a great feat, with the amount of resources we have. Indeed, if ever there is talk of miracles, one would have to see the miracles we are performing in the conditions in which we are performing them, namely, in the midst of a blockade, and so on, that forces us to or creates the conditions for us to become tremendously efficient and capable.

The country is demonstrating this from a strategic standpoint [passage indistinct] a spirit that is rising. We must not (?be afraid of) anything, because we are not going to renounce anything, our social and political strength in handling all these problems, in handling the opening to investments. No matter what may arise, we will not lose control. We have the conditions to prevent us from losing control. If we have to make more reforms, we will. If we have to expand the opening, we will. I see no immediate need for it, we just have to continue consolidating what we are doing, improving what we are doing. Ultimately, we will not just save socialism. Ultimately, our socialism will be truly improved, which is what we had to seek, rather than to destroy [passage indistinct] to improve socialism. What [words indistinct] has done is to destroy socialism in a savage manner. The [word indistinct] can be seen everywhere.

We are improving socialism, I am sure. We are not just struggling to save it, we are struggling to improve it. Many of the experiences we are acquiring now will serve us in good stead to have a more efficient, perfect, and more rational socialism, better adapted to human reality. That is my hope. After debating the more controversial of these articles, because of the fears and concerns [words indistinct], but the way it stands now may not be perfect, yet it is what we need to work. It will be proved that it will [word indistinct] the effort by all, the cadres, the union, the party, youth organizations, and all the others. [passage indistinct]