Cuba's postal service will become a state-owned corporate group next year bent on modernizing its administraton and seeking greater efficiency and quality as part of President Raul Castro's effort to "modernize" the island's socialist economic model.

The official economy weekly Opciones said that Correos de Cuba "will shed the old megastructure that impedes its development and install more modern systems of management, the guarantee of efficiency and quality."

With some 13,600 employees, Correos handles such services as newspaper, mail and shipment deliveries as well as a list of other services including Social Security payments and credits.

Its new model as a corporate group will include 18 territorial subsidiaries and others specializing in courier services, currency exchange, insurance and "superior address organization."

Correos de Cuba's director of strategy, Raul Marcial Cortina, told the weekly that "decentralization" is one of the goals of restructuring, with each subsidiary organizing and directing its own services in its own territory.

The Cuban government recently announced the restructuring of the sugar industry, in former times the principal driver of the nation's economy, and similar measures are not ruled out for other sectors of the economy.

The historic Sugar Ministry was eliminated in September and in November was replaced by the business group AZCUBA, an umbrella organization covering 13 provincial companies plus nine support and services agencies, two research institutes and a training center.

The reform included reducing the industry's workforce by 45 percent.