DAILY NEWS HERALD
DAILY NEWS HERALD # 107
Public Relations and Mass Media Department of the MFA
of the Republic of Uzbekistan
June 1, 2018
Uzbekistan creates new system of selecting prospective public servants. 1
President approves new procedure for granting privileges and preferences. 1
free economic zoneS. 2
60 projects totaling 196.2 million US dollars are under implementation in the Urgut Free Economic Zone. 2
Uzbekistan exported 26,800 cars in 2017. 2
Publications in mass media.. 2
Caravan moving forward. 2
Innovative ideas for development of ICT. 6
International relationships. 6
Uzbekistan delegation to visit Qatar 6
Uzbekistan – Iran: strengthening interregional cooperation. 6
To Move up to a New Stage – Openness Ranking. 7
Where to Spend Summer?. 7
Uzbekistan creates new system of selecting prospective public servants
On 30 May, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a resolution “On measures to create a modern system of selection on a competitive basis of prospective managerial staff”.
The document said that Uzbekistan will create a system for selecting promising managerial personnel, as well as facilitating the continuous growth of their professional competence in the system of state and economic management bodies, local executive bodies and other state bodies and organizations.
According to the decree, the republican contest for selection of perspective managerial staff “Tarakkiyot” will be held once in three years in the country.
Citizens of Uzbekistan between the ages of 30 and 45, who have a basic higher education and have at least three years of experience working in a leading position in the relevant field, can take part in the competition.
The head of Uzbekistan has formed a republican commission for holding the contest, its working body is the Academy of Public Administration.
Participants of the contest who work in state organizations, for the period of participation in the contest, retain their position and average monthly salary.
Winners of the competition are paid a one-time cash reward of 50 minimum salaries, and the remaining finalists - 25 minimum salaries.
The remaining finalists of the competition are included in the reserve of management personnel in the relevant field.
Winners of the competition are trained on three-month courses. They will also be trained in specialized organizations abroad.
The document said that graduates of courses will be appointed to senior positions in state organizations in the relevant areas.
President approves new procedure for granting privileges and preferences
On 31 May 2018, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree “On cardinal improvement of the procedure for granting privileges and preferences”.
The document criticizes the current practice of granting privileges, preferences and exclusive rights for certain economic entities.
The resolution said that now the tax and customs privileges and preferences are granted by the laws and acts of the president as a whole for industries, spheres of activity, territories.
At the same time, they must have a specific goal and ensure the achievement of clear social, economic and financial results. Temporary benefits are provided by presidential acts for a period of not more than 3 years, except in cases stipulated by international treaties of Uzbekistan.
The document noted that individual benefits are provided by presidential acts, in exceptional cases, for implementation of socially significant projects in sectors, where there is no interest of the private sector in investing, given specific social or economic grounds, or in accordance with international treaties of the country.
The president banned government and departmental decisions on granting privileges, approving lists of goods imported (imported) into the territory of Uzbekistan with the application of benefits for customs payments.
free economic zoneS
60 projects totaling 196.2 million US dollars are under implementation in the Urgut Free Economic Zone
In particular, 34 construction projects are initiated currently, while 12 investment projects are being implemented on the basis of buildings and structures existing in the FEZ. To date, investors have contributed $ 53.2 million for their implementation.
A few days ago, the first four enterprises started operating on the territory of the free economic zone. Sam Dry Fruits Limited Liability Company is among those pioneers. Within the framework of this project, the production of sandwich panels has been established at a total cost of $ 2.1 million in Urgut for the first time, on the basis of modern technologies.
“Currently, sandwich panels of three sizes are being produced with the help of imported modern equipment from China,” says O. Mamatov, the company’s business manager. “Now our goods are in high demand already, and orders are being received from enterprises set up in the FEZ. Along with meeting domestic needs, we plan to export products by the end of the year. After the enterprise starts operating at full capacity, most of the goods will go abroad.”
Over twenty young workers, led by three specialists from China, manage the production processes based on cutting-edge technologies.
At enterprises put into operation in the free economic zone, production of socks and knitted goods (Alfa Max Alliance), disposable shaving machines (Salim Biznes Baraka), electric cables and modern LED-lamps (Marokand Kabel Invest) is established. By late this year, another 10 enterprises are planned to be put into operation in the Urgut FEZ.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
Uzbekistan exported 26,800 cars in 2017
“Uzavtosanoat” joint-stock company held a press conference on activities carried out in the system, cooperation with foreign investors, development of production at GM Uzbekistan automobile plant and ensuring transparency of car sales.
It was noted that last year GM Uzbekistan produced 140,247 cars, which is 59% more than in 2016. Samarkand Automobile Plant produced 3,600 trucks and buses last year. The growth amounted to 5.5 percent. JV MAN Auto Uzbekistan produced 1,2 thousand trucks and buses.
– In 2017, we exported 26,800 cars, – said Deputy Chairman of “Uzavtosanoat” JSC A.Musayev. – Most of them are delivered to Russia. Ravon Nexia R3 is among the most popular and demanded cars in this country.
Publications in mass media
Caravan moving forward
About a year ago, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced liberal reforms kick-starting a broad modernization in Uzbekistan. The fact of the matter is that excessive haste will be a no-go - just as the Uzbek style and political tradition prescribe.
On January 30, 2018, Uzbekistan was on holiday, celebrating Islam Karimov’s 80 th birthday. His rule as the country’s first president had lasted for over 25 years, uninterrupted, before he passed away on 2 September 2016.
Samarkand, Karimov’s hometown, became the main venue for the festivities. As envisaged in his will, he was laid to rest in a specially built mausoleum near the Hazrat Khizr mosque, which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In the center of the magnificent building is a tombstone of white onyx sheltered under a snowy-white dome - an embodiment of local architectural traditions decorated with gorgeous ornamentation, gilding, and precious and semi-precious stones.
At the entrance is a granite slab engraved with Uzbek and English text, reading: “This is the sacred and eternal place where the first president of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the great statesman and politician, the respectable and honorable son of Uzbek people Islam Karimov rests.”
In homage to Karimov, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who was democratically elected in December 2016 to succeed him as the nation’s leader, highlighted the crucial role and achievements of his predecessor in the development of the independent Uzbekistan. “A great politiciain and wise reformer, Islam Karimov was in many ways committed to the independence and development of our country and the well-being of its people, leaving a legacy that will live forever throughout its history,” said Mirziyoyev at the gala opening ceremony, which attracted a (reportedly) large audience, including activists, outstanding professionals, aksakals, and young people from all over the country.
The notion implied by those slightly extravagant remarks - a natural expression of an oriental mindset - is hard to dispute: Islam Karimov was a truly exceptional personality and political figure paramount to the emergence of the independent Uzbekistan. Outside observers have always failed to come to a consensus on figures of such caliber - and this case is no different.
In the early 1990s, Karimov, facing extremely harsh conditions, managed to ward off instability and maintain sovereignty, keeping his country intact and under control - which has been generally viewed as one of his most important accomplishments.
The new state had to be built against a backdrop of real economic difficulties associated with turning a planned Soviet economy into a market one - not to mention the resulting social turbulence, coupled with rising Islamic extremists and tensions across the borders with Afghanistan and Tajikistan as the latter was gripped by a civil war.
“Building the independent state of Uzbekistan and not letting it suffer the same fate as the neighboring Tajikistan was the greatest thing Islam Karimov had ever done,” says Andrei Grozin, head of the Central Asia and Kazakhstan department of the Institute of CIS Countries. “I think he did everything he could in those difficult circumstances - and quite effectively. All these mausoleums and all these public festivities to mark an anniversary of his death just go to show that Uzbeks tend to view him positively.”
While acknowledging the first president’s obvious success in state-building, some critics also point out that his approach was tough or sometimes even “unacceptable”, including restriction of civil rights and liberties, brutal and persistent suppression of any dissenting voices or religious extremism, and keeping the population under total control of law enforcement and security agencies.
Under Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan was a highly isolated country with limited freedom for the people and vast opportunities for security agencies and various militarized organizations,” notes Igor Savin, senior fellow at the Central Asia, Caucasus, and Urals-Volga Center at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The most cited example of Karimovs tough rule is the notorious spring of 2005 in Andijan, where authorities brutally crushed an uprising after guerrillas from Akromiya, an Islamic sect banned in Uzbekistan, seized a number of administrative buildings. Civilians were also caught up in the fire, as the government authorized the use of weapons. According to official statistics, 187 people died, while estimates by international human rights organizations are several times higher. However, a less biased analysis shows that the government’s response was adequate.
Going easier on the rebels could severely destabilize the country and prompt Arab Spring-like mass unrest with catastrophic consequences. “There are a lot of objective and Subjective factors - for example, those related to the nation’s demography, structure of employment, or limited supply of numerous typeslof resources, including water, food, energy, and many others — which, combined with its economic disproportions, both overall and interregional, make Uzbekistan one of the most likely candidates to embrace such an adverse scenario. And as the Uzbek government and Karimov learned from the events in Andijan, those fears are not completely unfounded,” says Grozin. Of course, his administration has been criticized for excessive use of force and suppressing everything but the kitchen sink. But I think it should be taken into account that sometimes the status quo forces the government to overdo this pressure, control, and so forth.”
On its own
Islam Karimov s economic policy, with its explicit inward focus, is also somewhat controversial. The government is proud that all those years the country had been drawing on its own internal ^sources to develop. Unlike its neighbors, it did not borrow from other countries, avoiding serious economic crises and maintaining robust macroeconomic stability. Uzbekistan has consistently registered a threefold budget surplus over the past 10 years and a balance of payments surplus over the past 14 years. Its foreign exchange reserves are equivalent to 24-month imports. Since 2.014, its internal sovereign debt has been zero, which, as authorities proudly point out, indicates a healthy monetary and fiscal system. The country’s external debt does not exceed 18.5% of GDP, while the economy itself has been growing by about eight percent throughout these years.
All that time, the government’s role in the economy has been strong, helping save and develop production capacities that remained after the Soviet era. Under Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan managed to maintain a wide range of high-technology sites. Today, it is the only Central Asian republic to have an automotive industry. After all the ups and downs, its backbone - Uz-Daewoo Auto - became a modern company, selling cars abroad as well as domestically. Until recently, an aircraft industry also existed. And Uzbekistan has managed to retain significant potential in its military- industrial complex. Basically, its model is rather similar to the one created in Belarus by Alexander Lukashenko.
This economic statism, however, has proved a double-edged sword. “State patronage indeed saved a significant part of those production capacities that remained in Uzbekistan after the Soviet collapse. But at the same time, it curbed initiative andlimited the opportunities to attract foreign direct investment. Actually, it cooled down the country’s growth and development potential - or created a quite adverse climate for global investors,” says Grozin.
Furthermore, an unbiased expert will likely question the official data on nominal GDP growth. If it was right, says independent expert Yuly Yusupov, Uzbekistan would have achieved Western living standards. Apparently, that is not the case. “In 2015, for example, Uzbekistan’s per capita income was $2,132, while the global average stood at $10,112. Among the 188 countries ranked by the World Bank, our country placed 134th, which is hardly admirable,” adds Yusupov.
But even if the actual growth was below the official estimates, which is likely, something was more important: Not everyone was getting their slice of the pie. “Most of the population didn’t see any benefits from that growth. People just didn’t feel it,” comments Igor Savin. According to him, the situation’s ambiguity is evident from the mere fact that about two million Uzbek citizens permanently work abroad. “It suggests a limited labor market, which, in turn, suggests limited investment in industrial development.”
Reforms, Uzbek style
Obviously, the Uzbek government has been well aware that the economy’s structural issues, including an overregulated market and an excessive role of the authorities, were an increasingly serious threat to progress. “By the end of Karimov’s rule, Uzbekistan’s economic development had come to a dead end. Its growth and development potential was exhausted by a nationally tinted model of state capitalism. In many aspects, the country was falling into recession,” notes Grozin.
Between 2012 and 26! 14, Islam Karimov made his first attempts to liberalize the economy. For example, the government was trying to put an end to the simultaneous existence of multiple foreign exchange rates - an official rate, a rate for legal entities, a rate for global investors, and a black market rate. But for a number of reasons, the mission was not completed. The authorities did what they knew best, choosing to act and protect the social stability.
President Mirziyoyev, an experienced manager moving up the ranks after 13 years as the prime minister, has put liberal reforms back on the government’s agenda. The changes will affect a number of important areas - social life, government structure, and the economy will all be transformed to become more flexible, advanced, and efficient. Among those to enjoy
improvements are the armed forces and law enforcement and security agencies, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the National Security Service, the Prosecutor General’s Office, and the judiciary. Last September, foreign exchange liberalization was launched, paving the way for an open currency market and allowing citizens to buy and sell dollars at local banks.
Another focus is governance optimization. In January, a three-year strategy to develop an e-government system was announced, while in February, President Mirziyoyev ordered to ‘prepare, before 1 September, a legal framework for cryptocurrencies.
Finally, a broad set of economic reforms has been introduced to make state-owned enterprises more efficient and the business climate more favorable. A separate goal is transforming the automotive industry to increase output and local content.
In a notable attempt to revive the economy, Mirziyoyev has virtually abolished one of the three key principles of Uzbekistan’s government policy - self-reliance (the other two being secularism and non-participation in multilateral organizations). Attracting foreign investment is becoming an utmost priority for the state. The president ordered to develop new investment laws that will provide solid protection for the rights and interests of investors. An Investment Code will be introduced soon. In March 2017, the State Investment Committee was established.
Just a year into its mission, the committee has already delivered some noticeable results. For example, it managed to break the long chain of shrinking foreign investment inflows. Over the five years to 2016, they had almost halved from $3.3 billion to $1.9 billion, according to the data presented last November at an investment climate round table in Tashkent. “Until 2017, Uzbekistan heavily relied on its internal resources and followed a conservative investment policy. This made our practices obsolete. Moreover, the government wasn’t informed of investors’ problems, since there was no feedback mechanism,” said the committee’s chairman, Azim Akhmedkhadjaev at the round table. Things have changed. In the first three quarters of 2017, the country attracted $4.2 billion, including around $3 billion in foreign direct investment, according to Akhmedkhadjaevl
AH of the above should help restructure the Uzbek economy, which has been dragged down by the relatively low productivity of its agriculture — a sector still accounting for a; significant part of the nation s GDP. “Uzbekistan clearly needs a major revamp, as its economy is mostly agricultural. But in order to develop, it needs highly productive capacities. Not just fruits and vegetables but manufacturers who would process raw materials and create finished products,” notes Igor Savin.
The government is planning to achieve precisely that: increase the share of services and advanced manufacturing to spur economic growth and create new jobs.
Uzbekistan’s liberal reforms have a long way to go. Experts are unanimous that shock therapy is not acceptable to the government — instead, it will proceed with great caution, mitigating the social impact of unpopular measures. That’s what it did last September devaluing the som. External conditions forced the authorities to almost halve the official rate in one day, from 4,210 to 8,100 som per dollar. Nevertheless, the government exerted every effort to prevent a surge in prices for basic goods, making the impact on the lowest- income groups much less severe.
Although slowing down reforms, such measures help avoid social instability — again, a reasonable concern for Tashkent. And they seem perfectly justified. “Such slowness has evoked some criticism aimed at the government. Many observers, especially in other countries, have been expecting Mirziyoyev to take some brisk, radical steps to revamp the economy or even the political system. But that would be completely against the country’s traditions. Impetuosity is not the Uzbek way,” says Grozin.
Whatever the case, one thing remains clear: Uzbekistan, like a caravan, is already on its way, perhaps not so rapidly but steadily progressing forward — through all headwinds and noises.
(Source: BRICS №2(20).2018 magazine)
Innovative ideas for development of ICT
The Ministry for development of information technologies and communications of Uzbekistan has created a special portal ”Innovative ideas for development of ICT” idea.mitc.uz, where everyone can send their ideas in the field of ICT development directly to the Ministry.
To do this, a user should pass a simple registration procedure on this site, read and approve offer and send proposals in Uzbek or Russian on five areas: information technology, education, e-government, telecommunications and mail.
To date, 40 ideas have been submitted through portal concerning various aspects of ICT development in Uzbekistan. Particularly, idea of providing long-term funding for maintenance of important information systems, operated by public authorities was presented. The idea of developing country’s fiber-optic network was also proposed.
Uzbekistan delegation to visit Qatar
On June 2-4, 2018, the delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulaziz Kamilov will pay a working visit to the State of Qatar.
It is planned that the Uzbekistan delegation will hold meetings and negotiations with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, during which the prospects of development of bilateral relations, relevant international and regional issues will be discussed in Doha, Qatar.
(Source: Web site of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)
Uzbekistan – Iran: strengthening interregional cooperation
Delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran led by Minister of Roads and Urban Development of the country Abbas Akhoundi visited Uzbekistan Railways joint stock company.
First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Chairman of the Board of Uzbekistan Railways JSC O.Ramatov noted that reforms carried out on the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in all spheres are giving high results in accelerated development of various sectors of economy, particularly, road construction, transport and logistics.
There are many unused opportunities in cooperation between the two countries. Despite the fact that the two countries have established strong cooperation in the sphere of transport, there is a huge potential for establishing regular mutual trips, development of tourism.
At the meeting it was noted that effective use of new cooperation areas, launching of “Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan – Iran – Oman” interregional transport corridor is particularly important.
The delegation visited a number of ministries and organizations, exchanged views on further development of bilateral cooperation.
As previously reported, guests will also visit Samarkand and Bukhara regions.
To Move up to a New Stage – Openness Ranking
Ensuring the openness of the activities of public authorities and governance is one of the important mechanisms for democratization of the system of public administration in Uzbekistan. In the Strategy of Actions, the openness of government bodies, introduction of modern forms of providing information relating to the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of individuals and corporate entities is defined as a priority.
The normative basis for the implementation of large-scale measures in this sphere are the constitutional norms that ensure the openness of the activities of government agencies, as well as the Law on the openness of the activities of public authorities and administration, adopted in 2014. It provides legal guarantees for citizens’ access to socially significant information, determines the forms and methods for ensuring the transparency of state bodies, establishes clear mechanisms for information interaction between state bodies and society.
With a view to implementing this law, increasing the effectiveness of government agencies, a Cabinet of Ministers resolution has been adopted aimed at implementing the provisions of the mentioned legal act. In accordance with the document, a Public Council for the coordination and monitoring activities was formed to ensure the openness of the government and administration bodies, and methods of monitoring and evaluation of the openness of public authorities and administration units have been worked out, so have regulations to ensure transparency of government agencies.
Public Council carried out work on the monitoring and evaluation of the openness of public authorities and management bodies, and systematically published ratings of “openness index” of government agencies as of January 1 and July 1, 2017, and January 1, 2018.
It is important to note that at the first stage the methodology was used, the main purpose of which was the implementation of incentive measures for the creation and development of institutional and infrastructural bases for ensuring openness in state bodies. At the same time, more attention was paid to the issues whether essential regulatory acts have been adopted in state institutions that ensure the openness of their activities, if there are any stands for posting information on activities, whether the website of the government body is in compliance with the requirements of the legislation.
Analysis of the openness index of government bodies shows that monitoring of the processes of openness yields positive results. Thus, from measurement to measurement, the average value of the index for all agencies has been growing, and now it exceeds the required minimum acceptable figure.
In accordance with the decision of the expert committee of the Public Council, all this makes it necessary to move to the second phase of the evaluation system, aimed at improving qualitative and quantitative indicators. In the framework of this methodology, emphasis will be placed on the activation of activities to ensure openness: holding a large number of press conferences and briefings by the heads of bodies, publishing materials in the media, effective presence in social networks, and dissemination of information in electronic formats.
According to this method, the activities of state bodies will be evaluated as early as July 1, 2018. The rating of the openness index will continue to be published on the government portal of the Republic of Uzbekistan and on the official website of the Public Council at the address: www.ochiqlik.uz.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
Where to Spend Summer?
In the summer of 2018, there will be 1,313 children’s leisure camps in the country, which is 23 more than in the previous summer season. Among them there are 206 stationary camps, 978 day camps, 129 recreation camps.
The seminar organized by the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan in the Tashkent region allowed to discuss the arrangement of summer holidays for students.
Responsible persons of the Federation of Trade Unions have given recommendations on the organization of activities of children's camps during the summer vacation season, the supply of quality food products, the provision of meaningful and interesting rest for children, public order and safety in the camps. It was noted that the camps should become not only health-improving, but also centers for the intellectual development of boys and girls.
As emphasized at the seminar, systemic work is carried out to further improve the activities of the camps in accordance with the concept of organizing recreation and improving children. Improvement of quality of health-improvement measures and expansion of coverage of children has been achieved. This year it is planned to provide rest in camps for more than 301 thousand 500 children, which is 7.6 thousand more than in the previous year.
The government pays great attention to strengthening the material and technical base of children’s camps, turning them into modern recreational complexes. In particular, in accordance with adopted target programs, over one hundred facilities were renovated and modernized, 17 new children’s health camps were built.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)