HAVANA — Cuba is announcing a new credit system that will begin offering loans to small-business owners, private farmers and other citizens beginning next month.
It is a key step that economists say is necessary to support independent workers and allow President Raul Castro's economic reform package to be effective.
The government's Official Gazette says loans will also be made available to people looking to purchase building materials, to pay for labor associated with home construction, and other needs.
The Gazette says the system will be rolled out "progressively, as the country's economic and financial conditions permit."
The rules announced Thursday take effect Dec. 20.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.