A Necessary “Rescue” / Fernando Damaso #Cuba

Photo: Peter Deel

In 1959, “the year of the accident” as a friend of mine likes to call it, there were any number of well-known people who had degrees in business administration and public accounting. They practiced their professions in different manufacturing and service companies and in general their salaries provided them with a good standard of living. Accounting was practiced universally throughout the country, contributing to a healthy economy.

At some point “someone” determined that there was no need for all this, and the system was dismantled. Overnight, business administrators, bookkeepers and accountants either became nothing more than check writers for nationalized companies and agricultural businesses, or had to change professions if they wanted to to survive. In order to cut “the evil” at its root, provincial business schools and university accounting departments were closed. With these measures, economic controls disappeared since “under socialism they, as well as money, were no longer necessary.” Life, however, stubbornly and amply demonstrates what a big mistake this turned out to be. The country paid and continues to pay the consequences, while those who were responsible have never accepted responsibility or answered for their errors.

For some time now there has been a renewed emphasis on the importance of economists and accountants. They even have their own organization—ANEC (National Association of Economists and Accountants). One day, November 26, was inexplicably chosen, however, to be the day on which someone, who knew nothing about economics or accounting much less banking, assumed the presidency of the National Bank of Cuba. After reading about the duties currently assigned to him, while ignoring the gray years as if they had never happened, it seems like there will be a lot of them he will surely find difficult to fulfill. Let’s see. He must contribute to the implementation of the guidelines, design the theoretical foundations of “the model,” develop courses for bookkeepers as well as courses for entrepreneurs, provide advice to strengthen the work of accounting teams and the control of resources, coordinate the preparation of economic reports by directors, and develop a culture of economics, among other things. In other words, try to rescue (one of the verbs most widely used nowadays) all that was lost during the years of improvisation and failure.

It would be beneficial if he were successful, for the good of the nation but also as a palpable demonstration that they never should have done away with these economic activities. Although it is a bit late, it is good to correct things.

December 1 2012