Cubans have been given the go-ahead to rent buildings through state-run real-estate agencies, which until now had only provided their services to state institutions and companies and to foreign citizens and firms, the government said Wednesday.

President Raul Castro's government eliminated that restriction in a resolution published in the official gazette that allows ordinary Cuban citizens to rent buildings for use as homes, offices, commercial establishments or warehouses.

The resolution specifies that Cubans will not be able to use this rental space to set up "international schools, news agencies or non-governmental organizations."

The lifting of the ban is part of efforts to promote private enterprise and falls within the scope of Castro's plan in recent years to "update" the island's socialist economic model, the Juventud Rebelde newspaper said Wednesday.

In the real-estate area, those market-oriented reforms have included the lifting - in late 2011 - of a decades-old ban on the buying and selling of property by Cuban citizens and permanent residents. EFE