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Housing deficit being dealt with--slowly.

Cuba's National Institute of Housing reported 79,751 homes finished out of a plan to build 100,000 houses this year.

This program is a social priority for the country, said Fidel Figueroa, head of Cuba's Ministry of Construction (Micons). Recent housing census show that over half of Cuba's dwellings need major repairs. He said Micons aims to set up a sustainable construction materials industry in each province.

With a new plant in Havana that produces 2.2 million sq meters of flooring yearly, Micons aims to boost Cuba's total production to 7 million sq meters a year. Contributing to the plan are 10 more tile factories and two plants that have increased their capacites.

There are also plans to produce 52,000 high-quality sanitation fixtures, as well as $400 million worth of imported construction materials from Venezuela.

Figueroa said Cuba expects to apply a technique developed by its engineers to manufacture ceramic bricks that are cheaper and with a resistance similar to concrete. Micons also expects to obtain roofing and intermediate floor components from expandable polyethylene and maintain the volumes of prefabricated coverings as well as produce 6 million sq meters of asbestos cement roofing.
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Date:Nov 1, 2006
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