INFORMATION DIGEST - PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN - February 9, 2016

posted 11 Feb 2016, 11:05 by Webmaster Ambasciata
POLITICS
President of Uzbekistan addresses Tashkent Regional Council’s special session

ECONOMY
Ministry of economy publishes report on results of socio-economic development of Uzbekistan for 2015

SOCIETY
Uzbekistan: the Priority is ensuring Human Interests


POLItiCs

President of Uzbekistan addresses Tashkent Regional Council’s special session

The Tashkent Regional Kengash (Council) of People’s Representatives convened on 4 February for a special session.

The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov delivered a speech at session.

Head of state noted that Tashkent region, which has enormous social and economic potential, rich natural and human resources, takes a special place in development of our country.

Islam Karimov gave some examples. The fact that about 15 percent of the country's industrial output, more than 12 percent of agricultural products, 10 percent of attracted investments in country's economy, 9.7 percent of GDP fall to the share of Tashkent region, indicates a lot.

Uzbek Metallurgical Plant, Chirchik plant of agricultural machinery, Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Complex, unique modern manufacturer of automobile engines created in collaboration with world-famous company "General Motors", New-Angren and Tashkent Thermal Power Plants and other large industrial enterprises located in the region are the engines of country's economy, the head of our state said.

These enterprises are industrial complexes, which multiply the wealth of Uzbekistan, the largest not only in our country but throughout the Central Asian region.

At enlarged meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, which was dedicated to socio-economic development in 2015 and the most important priorities of economic program for 2016, the results achieved last year were discussed in detail, the most important immediate tasks for current and subsequent years were scheduled. In particular, we have identified a strategic objective to increase the volume of GDP of Uzbekistan at least 2 times up to 2030, to bring the industry share up to 40 percent in its structure, Islam Karimov noted.

In accordance with the consistent development program of industrial potential of Tashkent region over the past three years 1050 projects have been implemented. In particular, investment in the amount of 2 trillion 700 billion soums and 532 million US dollars has been utilized, about 30,000 new jobs have been created. In addition, cycle plant with production capacity of 370 megawatts of electricity has been built at Tashkent Thermal Power Plant, which enabled to save natural gas consumption twice. (currency rates of CB RU from 09.02.2016, 1$= 2841.60 soums)

Current implementation of 26 projects amounting to 2 billion 558 million US dollars in mining, chemical and petrochemical industries serves as a logical extension of our ongoing work in this direction. Implementation of three projects with a total value of more than 136 million US dollars is planned to be realized at Chirchik enterprise "Ammophos-Maxam" in order to modernize production of mineral fertilizers and establishment of new production facilities in current year.

Such a huge success achieved in the Tashkent region and indicators in the industrial sphere, as well as tasks planned for 2016 are delighting us all, the head of our state stressed.

President Islam Karimov, noting the success of Tashkent region, elaborated on the existing shortcomings, regular priority tasks.

At session an organizational issue was considered.

A.Usmanov was dismissed from the post of hokim (mayor) of Tashkent region.

On the proposal of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov Sodik Abdullayev, who worked as hokim of Zangiata district, has been approved to the post of khokim of Tashkent region.

(Source: Press-service of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan)

economy

Ministry of economy publishes report on results of socio-economic development of Uzbekistan for 2015

The Ministry of economy of the Republic of Uzbekistan has published a report on the results of socio-economic development of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2015.

According to the data presented in the report, the implementation of measures to deepen structural reforms, to stimulate and support enterprises of the real sector in the implementation of modernization and active diversification of leading industries, strengthening the material-technical base and infrastructure of agriculture, accelerate the development of modern services contributed to the growth of gross domestic product by 8%, industrial products – by 8.0%, agriculture products – 6.8% and construction works – by 17.8%.

The sustainability of economic growth was accompanied by a strengthening of macroeconomic stability, characterized by a decrease in inflation to 5.6%, a state budget surplus of 0.1% of GDP and positive trade balance.

High economic activity and implementation of programs for improving employment contributed to the growth of real income per capita by 9.6% that along with measures to stimulate consumer demand has provided an increase in retail volumes by 15.1% and paid services to the population – 10.8%.

Due to the realization of active investment policy, aimed at deepening structural reforms based on the modernization, technical and technological renewal of production, accelerating the commissioning of crucial high-technology capacity, advanced development of transport and communication infrastructure, the volume of utilized investments in 2015 amounted to over 40.7 trillion soums, with a growth of 9.6 percent against 2014. (currency rates of CB RU from 09.02.2016, 1$= 2841.60 soums)

Of the total volume of utilized investments worth $ 3.3 billion, or over 21% amounted to foreign investments and loans, with an increase of 9.1%, including 2.4 billion. – foreign direct investments. The amount of utilized by the Fund for reconstruction and development investments for implementation of major investment projects in strategic sectors of the economy comprised $728.6 million.

Non-centralized investments had the largest amount in the total investment structure (78.2% of the total volume), of which 30.9% - own funds of economic entities (growth by 12.6%). This was due to active implementation of sectoral programs of diversification and competitiveness of industries, as well as the territorial programs of socio-economic development of regions.

Implementation of measures in the framework of the priority directions of further reforming and increasing the sustainability of financial-banking system of the Republic in 2011-2015 contributed to the preservation of the positive dynamics of growth of total bank capital by 23.3% and their assets by 25.1%. As a result, the capital adequacy of the banking system remained at the level exceeding the minimum international standards by 3 times, and the liquidity of the banking system – more than 2 times higher than the minimum requirements. The decline of the Central Bank refinancing rate from 10% to 9% since the beginning of 2015 had a stimulating effect on the growth of volumes of crediting of the economy by 27.3%, from the total amount of which 79.8% were long-term loans for investment purposes.

In the framework of the Program of measures on structural reforms, modernization and diversification of production for 2015-2019, the past year saw work on improvement of mechanisms aimed at improving the efficiency of investment processes. In total 158 major investment projects with a total value of $7.4 billion dollars were commissioned in the reporting period, including "Construction of Ustyurt GCC on the basis of field "Surgil"", "Expansion of production of soda ash at Kungrad soda factory", "Organization of production of energy-saving led lighting products on the territory of Jizzakh SIZ", "Organization of production of vehicles in the Khorezm region", "Organization of production of plastic materials and accessories for footwear industry on the territory of Jizzakh SIZ", "Organization of production of leather garments in the city of Namangan".

As a result of introducing new production capacities, modernization, technical and technological renovation of existing production facilities, expanding the range and improving the competitiveness of products, the highest growth in production is observed in such industries as light (116.6%), woodworking (115.6%), construction materials industry (114.1%), food (114.4%), pharmaceutical and medical (128.9%).

The volume of production of consumer goods increased by 9.7%, including foodstuffs – by 17.8%. Mastered the production of 75 new species and 164 new models of finished sewing and knitting products, 143 new types of confectionery products, dairy and meat products, 67 new types of drugs.

In the framework of the Program of localization of production of finished products, components and materials for 2015-2019, the output of 696 projects amounted to 4.0 trillion soums, the estimated effect of import substitution amounted to $1.56 billion. The production of over 820 new industrial products was mastered.

In order to further reduce the level of state involvement in the economy, 608 state properties were sold at public auctions, including 506 objects at "zero" redemption value under investment commitments. 245 distressed and inactive organizations were eliminated. 353 unused and unfinished by construction state owned objects were demolished under the privatization program. 120 hectares of land was released as a result of the above measures, about 80 of which has been allotted to entrepreneurs for organizing production and services.

The year 2015 saw the continuation of active work on providing the reliable protection to private property, small business and private entrepreneurship, the removal of barriers to their rapid development. Small businesses over the past year received loans in the amount of 12.1 trillion soums or 1.3 times more than 2014, including 2.5 trillion soums of microloans. In 2015, 26.9 thousands of new small businesses (the growth rate – 103.3% against 2014) were created. The greatest number of small businesses were established in industry and other branches (36%), trade and catering (30.4%) and construction (11.2%). As a result, the share of small business in GDP comprised 56.7%, industry – 38.9%, in retail turnover – 87.1%, in paid services –50.8% and in employment - 77.9%.

The implementation of program of measures on radical improvement of system of corporate management had allowed to improve the organizational structure of 623 companies with regard to modern standards of corporate management.

As a result of the implementation of the Program of services development for 2012-2016, more than 14 thousand new facilities were created in the past year. The volume of services rendered to the population increased by 14%, while the share of this sector in the GDP structure increased from 54.0% in 2014 to 54.5% by the end of 2015.

In the framework of the Program of development and modernization of engineering communications and road infrastructure for 2015-2019, work was undertaken in the past year on the development of 240 km of track sections, the construction and reconstruction of 382.4 km sections of roads. Electrification of 155.9 km of railway section of Marokand-Karshi and organization of high-speed traffic of passenger trains on the railway line Samarkand-Karshi were completed.

Under the implementation of the Program of development of telecommunication technologies, networks and communications infrastructure for 2013-2020, more than 1.8 thousand km of fiber-optic broadband networks have been constructed using modern technology. A systematic work is underway on the modernization and expansion of the Single portal of state interactive services, which now connects 990 of state and economic management bodies, state authorities, their structural and territorial divisions. In 2015, more than 400 thousand services were rendered via the Single portal.

As for the Program on the construction of individual housing on standard projects 12 thousand houses were put into operation in rural areas. The newly built arrays have been introduced with 367 km of gas supply networks, 289 km of electricity grids, 471 km of water supply networks and 213 km of roads, as well as 115 social and market infrastructure.

In the whole country, the year 2015 saw the commissioning of 11.7 million square meters of housing, including 8.6 million square meters in rural areas and 2.6 thousand km of water networks, including 2.1 thousand km in rural areas.

Measures taken in 2015 resulted the production of 3361.3 thousand tons of raw cotton, 8176.6 thousand tons of grain crops, 10128.1 thousand tons of vegetables, 2696.7 tons of potatoes, 1853.1 tons of melons, 2746.2 tons of fruits and berries, 1579.0 thousand tons of grapes. The population of cattle reached more than 11.6 million heads, production of meat – 2033.5 thousand tons, milk – 9028.2 thousand tons, eggs - 5526 million.

The Program of creating workplaces and ensuring employment of the population resulted the creation of more than 980 thousand jobs, of which more than 60% in rural areas. As a result of measures taken on further improvement of a comprehensive system of employment of graduates of professional colleges and higher educational institutions, as well as the organization of practical training of students, 480 thousand graduates of professional colleges and 61.2 thousand graduates of universities were provided with employment.

In order to further improve the quality of health services, measures were implemented to strengthen the outpatient care and integration of modern medical and diagnostic equipment. In particular, the amount of funds spent for the construction, reconstruction and capital repair of buildings of medical institutions and equipping them with necessary equipment totaled 500 billion soums.

More than 2246 billion soums and over $225 million were channeled pursuant to the State program "Year of attention and care for the older generation", in order to strengthen the social protection, material support and medical assistance to veterans of war and labor, as well as the elderly.

(Source: UzReport.uz)

Society

Uzbekistan: the Priority is ensuring Human Interests

Uzbekistan has been effectively practicing the principle ‘From a strong state to a strong civil society’, which has been a guideline for ensuring human rights and interests, creation of favorable conditions for implementation of people’s potential, expansion of powers of various civil institutions. Trade unions rank among the most popular civil institutions. The ‘Concept of further enhancement of democratic reforms and building of civil society in the country’ envisages the further strengthening of their role in reformation and modernization of all spheres of society.

Almost the entire country’s working population is unionized. Trade unions are most popular public associations to protect socio-economic and labor rights of workers, as well as provide comprehensive support to those in need of it. In the context of universally established market laws, people have been resting their aspirations on trade unions in terms of social support, addressing them for help when their labor rights are violated.

Effective system

In recent years, trade unions have significantly streamlined their activities taking into account the proposals of primary trade union organizations and based on the requirements of the time. That has resulted in an optimized and effective system that strengthens the protection of social and economic interests of workers. The scope of activities of primary organizations and their economic opportunities have been expanded. Young and initiative professionals have been involved in all units of trade union organizations. A talent pool of well-trained and qualified professionals has been built.

Currently, more than 19,000 representatives of primary trade union organizations are incorporated in administrative bodies of enterprises and institutions, taking active part in decision-making with regard to workers’ interests.

The protection of socio-economic interests of workers has been strengthened on the basis of social partnership. There is a General Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers, the Council of Federation of Trade Unions and the Chamber of Commerce and Trade of Uzbekistan on Socio-Economic Issues for 2014-2016.

The document has been a guideline for a system-based work on the development of effective forms of employment, strengthening of public control over the implementation of legislation in the field of occupational safety and health, moral and financial support for socially vulnerable population strata, promoting the development and execution of government programs.

95 sectoral and 14 regional agreements have been functioning in the country on the basis of the General Agreement, and over 113,000 collective agreements are effective directly at enterprises, organizations and institutions. They cover the promotion of employment, security and safety, legal and social protection of workers, benefits for specific categories of workers, compliance with the ILO conventions.

A social component of collective agreements has been reinforced in recent years. The local acts have been added with completely new directions like strengthening the protection of social and economic interests of women and the youth. Now, collective agreements settle such relevant issues like development of the labor market and ensuring of employment. They have also become a significant factor for increasing workers’ incomes. An average of 314,000 soums was invested in the protection of interests of one employee under a collective agreement in 2010, while in 2015 the figure balanced between 2 and 7 million soums. (currency rates of CB RU from 09.02.2016, 1$= 2841.60 soums)

The growing number of small businesses and private enterprises entails the need in the protection of labor, socio-economic and legal interests of workers in the sector. Over the past five years trade unions provided support to over 494,000 employees from 57,000 organizations. More than 162,100 employees of 30,000 small businesses and private enterprises, family enterprises and joint ventures joined trade unions during 2015 alone. Their social and economic protection is ensured through collective agreements. They are the employees of 534 agricultural companies, 867 family businesses, more than 12,500 private entrepreneurs, as well as over 50 joint ventures with the share of foreign investments.

Collective agreements were added with the liability of the parties for infringement of workers’ rights under the employment relationships. 12,000 enterprises and organizations were monitored in 2011-2015. Home-based workers have been ensured with social protection.

Social protection of workers and their families has been strengthened through agreements in the framework of socially oriented state programs. War and labor front veterans, people with disabilities, large families and young families, women and young people in rural areas, lonely elderly and pensioners have been fully supported, and provided with the opportunity for improving health and rest.

Protecting workers’ rights

The protection of people’s interests at work is a priority direction of trade unions. On this background, they have been consistently enhancing public control, organizing free legal advice, hotlines and public receptions for citizens under the Federation of Trade Unions, national councils of trade unions, and territorial associations of trade union organizations. There is a Legal Clinic of Federation of Trade Unions.

Certain measures have been taken to advance the legal culture and knowledge of national and international labor standards for workers of various fields, young people and women. With this purpose, the curricula of secondary and higher educational institutions, as well as advanced training centers have been enriched with specialized courses on social and labor relations.

The Federation of Trade Unions has been directly involved in the development of over 100 legal acts on social and labor relations. It submitted proposals on the draft laws on labor protection in new edition, on social services for the elderly, people with disabilities and other categories of the population, and other documents, as well as presented expert opinions on 77 drafts of regulatory acts on labor protection.

In order to better explain their nature and importance, the Federation involved partners in the preparation and publishing of collections on ‘Innovations in labor legislation’, ‘Recommendations on the appointment of commissions on individual labor-related disputes’.

Over 57,000 citizens’ appeals have been considered over the past five years, and 51,000 have been settled positively. Trade union organizations filed 361 lawsuits in the courts, made about 2,000 submissions to employers, and thereby restored the rights of more than 5,300 people.

As of 2012, more than 7,600 citizens have received free legal help on social and labor relations through trade union hotlines. The Legal Clinic under the Federation of Trade Unions has harmoniously combined the legal protection with educational practice, significantly expanded the scale of free legal services, as well as ensured practical training of work with citizens for future lawyers.

New jobs

In order to promote employment, trade union organizations have been exercising public control over the creation of new jobs under a program, which was approved by the joint decision of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate of Oliy Majlis, as well as under territorial programs on ensuring employment and support for business. They have proved the accuracy of creation of new jobs at 20,500 business entities. They also monitored processing of employment contracts with the newly recruited employees and record book management.

Trade unions have been also maintaining a system-based monitoring of creation of new jobs at farms and small businesses. A section of collective agreements was supplemented by special benefits for graduates of vocational colleges as part of promoting their employment.

Territorial trade union organizations have been actively involved in the development of the programs that determine the minimal number of quotas on jobs for the persons who are not capable of competing in the labor market. In 2013-2015, the quoted vacancied were occupied by 219,000 socially vulnerable persons. Decent and safe working conditions in the newly created workplaces have been ensured in accordance with specific recommendations that were developed by the Council of Federation of Trade Unions jointly with government agencies and local employers. Employers and workers have been introduced in specifics of compliance with labor laws.

Trade unions see it important to organize new jobs at their own expense. Workplaces have been created in many regions of the country, providing employment to college graduates and women.

Occupational safety

Much attention has been paid to the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases. Attention of employers and employees has been repeatedly drawn to this issue, the compliance with existing legal acts is subject to public control. Over the last five years, the number of labor protective measures in collective agreements has increased by almost 84% against 2011. The fact of fulfillment of 96.5% of scheduled actions in local acts is a big progress.

Active work of primary organizations and authorized entities on labor protection has ensured instructional briefings for each newly hired employee at enterprises and organizations. The amount of funds allocated for this purpose by employers through collective agreements has increased remarkably. For instance, the amount of funds for implementation of labor protection-related provisions of collective agreements has increased by 1.5 times last year against 2011, and amounted to 133.8 billion soums. 80-85% of workers in various industries are now covered with annual primary and periodic medical examinations.

Approved by trade unions, the Program of Action on Improvement of Working Conditions and Occupational Safety for 2015-2016 has provided an opportunity to significantly improve the work in this direction. An interdepartmental working group under the Council of Federation of Trade Unions ensures its implementation in cooperation with the relevant ministries and departments. The national competition on ‘The best public control of labor protection’ has helped to further improve the quality and effectiveness of the work pursued by employers and trade union organizations in this direction.

Trade unions and youth

The Federation of Trade Unions instituted a Youth Council in order to protect the labor rights and socio-economic interests of youth and develop their spiritual outlook. 2.5 million young men and women were registered as trade union members in 2011, while in 2015 this figure reached 3 million. Trade union bodies of all levels have been purposefully working on increasing the representation of young people. As a result, 15% of primary trade union organizations are chaired by young people under 30, over 33% of chairmen of district and municipal trade union organizations are under 40 years old.

Trade unions introduced new items and sections on strengthening the protection of social and economic interests of youth into collective contracts and agreements. For instance, more than 15,000 young families received interest-free loans for the purchase of durable goods and housing construction during the reporting period. Contracts of 12,500 students of higher education institutions were partially paid. 721 employees received 2.795 billion soums of interest-free loans due to call-up to military service of mobilization reserve in 2015. More than 7,000 young workers acquired new skills. Boys and girls are subject to financial assistance in case if they undergone practical training at enterprises, and entered a job after graduation with honors from vocational colleges.

Priority for women’s interests

Protection of social and economic interests of women has always been in the spotlight of the Federation of Trade Unions. Collective agreements were supplemented by the section ‘Streamlining women’s labor. Additional benefits and guarantees for women and persons engaged in family responsibilities’.

Owing to the measures taken, 38,000 young mothers with 2-3 year old children received financial assistance. The working week was shortened by 1 hour with full pay for more than 26,500 women who work at enterprises and organizations of non-state ownership. Maternity leave was extended for 1,672 young women. There is a public control over the creation of reserve jobs for single women and women with many children, college graduates and women approaching retirement age.

Based on social partnership, trade unions have taken measures on protection of labor rights and interests of the women who are engaged in home-based work, family businesses and small businesses. Now they can take a full advantage of their benefits and guarantees as specified in the collective agreement. In order to enhance quality and efficiency of work in this field, the Federation of Trade Unions instituted a Council of Women and working commissions on women’s issues under sectoral and territorial trade union organizations. They are entrusted with public control over the creation of decent and safe working conditions for women at enterprises, organizations and institutions, regardless of the form of ownership. New benefits for the fair sex were introduced upon the examination of collective agreements.

Rehabilitation and recreation

Benefits for rehabilitation of workers and their families have been expanded over the past five years. Previously, members of trade unions could take advantage of preferential tickets only once every five years, while since 2011 the opportunity of obtaining preferential tickets was available every three years, and every two years since 2013. Moreover, they pay only 45% of the cost. Close relatives of employees can improve their health on preferential basis by means of membership fees.

Over the past period, sanatoriums have strengthened their logistical capacity, carried out construction and repair works. Health resorts have been equipped with modern medical equipment. Two new health resorts and two rest houses were built. Quality and effectiveness of services have been consequently improved.

More than 100,000 people improve their health at trade union sanatoriums every year, and more than 500,000 people have recuperated for the last five years. Nearly 200,000 of them have improved their health by preferential and free tickets. There are departments for veterans of war and labor front. The gerontological field has been well developed.

In 2012, the Federation of Trade Unions initiated the ‘Concept for rest and rehabilitation of children in camps’, and established a permanent national coordination group at the government level. 269,000 boys and girls improved their health in 2011, while in 2015 the index reached 301,000.

Nearly 1.43 million boys and girls have had wonderful recreation in summer camps over the past five years. 280,000 of them are children from socially vulnerable families, Mekhribonlik mercy homes, the Aral Sea region, and Saryosiyo and Uzun districts of Surkhandarya region. They had a rest on a preferential basis and free of charge in the best children's camps of the country.

A targeted program on construction, reconstruction and overhaul of children's health camps has been underway. The logistical capacity of 50 of them is strengthened every year under the program. 9 new camps have been built, 27 camps were reconstructed and 45 overhauled over the last three years.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

 

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