INFORMATION DIGEST - PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN - March 1, 2016

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INFRASTRUCTURE
Finished tunneling work through the pass Kamchik

BUSINESS CLIMATE
The International Conference dedicated to adoption of the Corporate Governance Code

EMPLOYMENT
Uzbekistan annually implements a target job creation and employment program

SPORT
WSB and APB tournaments in Tashkent


INFRASTRUCTURE

Finished tunneling work through the pass Kamchik

In years of Independence questions of development of a railway infrastructure, expansion of transport corridors by means of building of new roads, forming of uniform national railway system became one of important and strategic directions of progress.

Realised, by the initiative of the Head of our republic, projects of building railway roads   "Navoi-Uchkuduk-Sultonuvajstag-Nukus" and "Tashguzar-Bajsun-Kumkurgan", are obvious indicators of development of social and economic life of our Native land.

During the last years in railway industry are implemented and tens large investment projects continue to be implemented. The value of their realization is very important for inhabitants of republic.

One of such projects is building of the electrified railroad line from Angren to Pap which is implemented by the confirmed resolution of the President of Republic of Uzbekistan.

The grandiose project, including building of unique 19 kilometer tunnels, is performed in cooperation of the qualified specialists of joint-stock company “O’zbekiston temir yo’llari” and the company “China Railway Tunnel Group”.

On complexity of building the given tunnel is among the top eight, and on extent in number of thirteen in the world, being a unique construction in own way on the territory of the CIS.

Today we are participants of significant event in process of construction of a tunnel “Kamchik” – joining of two directions of conducting tunneling works in the basic trunk of a tunnel. I.e. are finished tunneling works in the basic trunk of a tunnel. Finishing work proceeds and for today is completed on 85 %. Further, works on a lining of a steel cloth and other communications in a tunnel will be conducted.

It is necessary to notice that building of the railway, total length 123,1 km, has been completely completed on either side of a tunnel in the end of August, 2015 (on a site in 104 km).

(Source: Information service Joint stock company O’zbekiston temir yo‘llari)

BUSINESS CLIMATE

The International Conference dedicated to adoption of the Corporate Governance Code

On February 23, 2016 at the Scientific-Educational Center of Corporate Governance, the International Conference dedicated to adoption of the Corporate Governance Code arranged by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, State Competition Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Scientific-Educational Center of Corporate Governance.

The main aims of the Conference were explanation and discussion over:

modern trends in improving the corporate governance system in the Republic of Uzbekistan and abroad;

the key guidelines and provisions of the Corporate Governance Code, aimed at improving the effective management of the joint-stock companies with achieving the balance of interests of the management bodies, shareholders and the employees of the company;

tasks and practical recommendations on accelerating the implementation of the international standards and norms in at sphere of corporate governance into activities of the joint-stock companies.

The event was attended by over 100 participants, including representatives of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, the United Nations Development Programme, the diplomatic corps in Uzbekistan, international experts of the European School of Management and Technology and "Indekon Consulting" company (Germany) as well as the heads of joint-stock companies and joint ventures.

In course of the Conference the open dialogue with representatives of the business circles and discussions over implementation practices of the adopted laws and Decrees of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, topical problems and issues related to improvement of the joint-stock companies’ management system aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the joint-stock companies, ensuring reliable legal protection of the shareholders, were arranged.

At the plenary session the representatives of the European School of Management and Technology and "Indekon Consulting" company (Germany), heads of the ministries and institutions, as well as the joint ventures made their speeches and reports.

The speakers stressed that based on the thorough analysis of the ongoing processes taking place in the global economy, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov elaborated and adopted the important decisions on further implementation of the radical reforms aimed at providing the steady economic growth as well as creation of a solid economic foundation for the future development of the country.

One of the important areas of the Program on reforming, structural transformation and diversification of the economy during the years 2015-2019 is being the Decree by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated April 24, 2015 № UP-4720 "On measures aimed at introduction of the modern methods of corporate governance in the joint-stock companies", by which the basic guidelines on improving the corporate governance system and strengthening the protection of the shareholders' rights were defined.

It should be noted, pursuant to the Decree, the Commission for Enhancement of Efficiency of the Joint-Stock Companies’ Activity and Improvement of the Corporate Governance System has approved the Corporate Governance Code, which foresees introduction of the advanced corporate governance methods, including:

defining the development strategy and goals for the long term, the internal control system and mechanisms for effective interaction of the executive body with shareholders and investors;

introduction of the standard organizational structure with taking into account of the scales, industry specifics and the scope of activities performed by the joint-stock companies;

rise of transparency in the joint-stock companies’ activity, publication of information by them based on international auditing and financial reporting standards.

The Conference participants noted that Uzbekistan is actively working over the radical change in the principles and approaches to the corporate governance, introduction of the advanced international standards of corporate management related to production, foreign trade and investment processes, formation of new corporate entities to replace the old, outdated management practices.

Special attention is being paid to the wide attraction of foreign investors and managers into the joint-stock companies, creation of favorable conditions for their active participation in corporate governance, modernization, technical and technological re-equipment of production processes, arrangement of output of the high-quality, competitive products and their promotion into the external markets, as well as the radical reduction of the State’s presence in the economy at cost of decrease in the state-owned assets and shares at the Charter capital of the joint-stock companies.

Thus, in accordance with the Decree by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated December 21, 2015 No PP-2454 “On the Additional Measures Aimed at Attraction of the Foreign Investments into the Joint-Stock Companies” the order was introduced in compliance with which the share of the foreign investors at the joint-stock companies’ Charter capital shall constitute not less than 15 percent.

The Conference participants heard and discussed the reports and speeches made in course the Conference, noted the following basic guidelines and recommendations for improvement of the corporate governance system:

to accept the recommendations of the Corporate Governance Code for the purpose of achieving the balance of interests of the public authorities, the shareholders and the workforce of the company;

to define as the strategic goals of the joint-stock companies maintenance of  financial stability, increase in labor productivity, growth in production and export performance indicators, achievement of energy efficiency, implementation of modernization, technical and technological renovation of production processes, leading to increase in the shares’ value;

to implement the effective internal control mechanisms, inclusion of independent persons into membership of the Supervisory Board, performance of analysis on conformity of the business processes and projects to the goals of the company’s development, establishing as one of the priority objectives, the protection of the rights and legitimate interests of all shareholders, including the minority ones;

to elaborate the Provisions on the order of steps to be undertaken at the occurrence of a conflict of interests for prevention and settlement of the disputes arising from occurrence of a conflict of interests;

to create by the Supervisory Board of the joint-stock companies, the committees for identifying and resolving the conflict situations with membership of the governing bodies, joint-stock company personnel representatives and involved outside experts in them;

to implement measures aimed at transition of the company to publishing the information based on international auditing and financial reporting standards;

to elaborate and get approved the Regulations on information policy with the aim to provide transparency of the company’s activities;

to apply widely the management techniques, successfully proven in the international practice, including SWOT, the GAP analysis and other approaches and the special software;

to improve the skills of the joint-stock company officials through their participation in training courses, seminars and others.

Participants of the International Conference concurred that the elaborated Corporate Governance Code summarizes the best international corporate governance practices those having been adapted for use in the joint-stock companies of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Conference held will, in the whole, enhance the level of knowledge and skills in the field of the corporate governance.

(Source: Press Service of the State Competition Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan)

Employment

Uzbekistan annually implements a target job creation and employment program

Jobs are an indicator that reveals a nation’s prosperity and effective course of reforms as well as the people’s favorable attitudes toward them. Therefore, in Uzbekistan creating jobs is among the top priorities of the state policy.

This issue has been especially relevant for Uzbekistan with its constantly growing population, which has exceeded 32 million people, playing an important role in socio-economic development of the republic.

Uzbekistan annually implements a target job creation and employment program, which is developed by the government and approved by the parliament. There is hardly a state in the world to take similar system-based efforts.

For example, more than 980,000 jobs were created in the country last year, with more than 60% of jobs in rural areas. Over 480,000 graduates of vocational colleges have been employed.

The largest number of new jobs were established in Samarkand, Ferghana, Tashkent, Kashkadarya, Andijan and Bukhara regions and in the capital city, that is, in densely populated regions.

Special industrial zones in Navoi, Tashkent and Jizzakh regions have been a remarkable factor for the creation of workplaces: the special zones provide many tax exemptions and preferences for investors, which contributes to the development of high-tech industries. This ensures the establishment of new jobs in the operating manufactures, and the chain of conjugated inter-branch connections in transport, construction, social infrastructure.

O'zbekyengilsanoat, O’zkimyosanoat, Uzbekneftegaz and others companies have been effectively addressing the employment problem through the construction of new and existing facilities.

The rehabilitation of inactive companies, which provided more than 30,000 jobs last year, is another contribution to the solution of the employment problem. The biggest share of them fell on Samarkand, Namangan, Ferghana regions and the capital. This direction is based on mechanisms of implementation of target ‘road maps’ on rehabilitation of the financial and economic state of low profit and unprofitable enterprises, abolishment of unpromising facilities and their onward sale to the new owners under the condition of creation of production capacities and jobs.

The development of farming enterprises that deal with the production of foods and non-food products have provided employment to more than 127,500 people in many regions of the country. A big credit goes to diversified farms. Privileges on single land tax payments and lending have empowered them to expand the production and establish new processing plants, which have a positive impact on rural employment.

Special Role of Small Businesses

Entrepreneurial structures have been playing a remarkable role in addressing employment problems. In due time, in the process of construction and development of small business and private entrepreneurship, Uzbekistan attached ​​strategic importance to the development of this sector as one of the decisive factors of economic growth and creation of new jobs. The policy has fully justified itself - the share of small businesses in employment makes up over 76%.

The rapid development of small enterprises and micro-firms last year ensured employment of over 290,000 people. Moreover, the sector plays a dominant role in all regions, particularly in Tashkent.

There is also a contribution of high credit support for small businesses. Commercial banks allocated 8.5 trillion soums for these purposes in 2015. Concessional loans are normally allocated for the projects that envisage creation of jobs in remote rural areas. (currency rates of CB RU from 01.03.2016, 1$= 2856.64 soums)

A relatively low fixed rate of single tax payment for small businesses and micro-firms of 5% for the industry, and 10% for trade and catering enterprises, as well as other measures on support of exports of small businesses and antrepreneurs is an important incentive for creation of jobs in the sector.

Financial and economic tools for the development of individual entrepreneurship have been providing fixed tax rates for the individuals who are engaged in business activities without establishing a legal entity, including those who are engaged in retail trade of food products, agricultural products in farm food markets, in the production and marketing of their own products, or provision of household services.

All forms of home-based work have been rapidly developing in recent years, including those running in cooperation with companies on labor contracts, crafts and family entrepreneurship. In 2015, they contributed to the employment of more than 203,000 people, mostly women, people with disabilities, and other socially vulnerable categories of the population.

In this context, it would be appropriate to mention the role of the Law ‘On Family Business’, which settled favorable conditions for this key form of private enterprise. The family business is subject to all the privileges, preferences and guarantees, as provided by the law for small businesses.

A family business implies the opportunity of reasonably flexible working schedule and division of labor, which allows occupation of normally unemployed categories of the population, including women with young children.

Graduates in the spotlight

An important feature of the system-based work on employment comes to special attention to the employment of graduates of vocational colleges. It is highly important for boys and girls to immediately start working, once they have gained knowledge in specific disciplines and respective work skills, and are ready to not just practice them, but also to earn, laying the basis of their financial wellbeing.

Integrated measures have been effectively applied in each vocational college, as well as in territories and sectors in order to ensure employment of their graduates.

For example, all colleges are attached to certain companies, organizations and sectors of the economy. Experience has shown the positive outcomes of signing tripartite contracts between enterprises, colleges and the students for practical training with subsequent employment in certain enterprises and organizations. Vocational colleges are provided with information about available vacancies for graduates in accordance with their specialization.

In recent years, young people have been increasingly involved in entrepreneurship and family business, and learning the basics of business management. The maximum number of employees of microfirms and small enterprises has been increased to 50% in case if they employ high school, university or college graduates, as part of creation of favorable conditions for youth employment, and improvement of the business environment.

Commercial banks have been constantly increasing the amount of soft loans to finance business plans of graduates of vocational colleges. In 2015, they allocated nearly 280 billion soums of concessional loans for the establishment of businesses, which is 1.3 times more YOY.

What’s New about the Current Program?

All the above-mentioned facts are the outcomes of the successful implementation of the Job Creation and Employment Program. It implies the employment of the capacity of territories and sectors of the economy, rational use of manpower with an eye to demographic factors and structural changes in the economy.

It has thoroughly assessed the supply and demand in the labor market, defined the need for jobs in terms of professions for all regions and cities, which has helped to specify employment opportunities for graduates, women, socially vulnerable groups and the unemployed.

Activity areas have been expanded in the framework of targeted programs, establishment of small industrial zones, development of construction, and provision of employment through the bank loans.

The document stipulates the application of new but proved methods of employment of population and young people in all districts and cities. For example, as part of involvement of youth in entrepreneurial activities, many colleges organized training courses on preparation for business activity, and created specialized portals ‘Create Your Own Business’.

This year’s program has introduced the mechanisms of monitoring through the compilation of address lists, specifying the location, timing, a sector profile of the facilities to be commissioned, as well as through the enhancement of performance of the working committees that are responsible for the implementation of the program. The mechanism will help to identify the enterprises, industries, districts and cities that lag behind the approved parameters of job creation, and take prompt action to remedy the situation.

The Program for 2016 provides for the establishment of 990,000 new jobs, more than 660,000 jobs of which will be created through the intensified development of small businesses and private enterprises, and service sector. There is a plan to employ more than 510,000 schools and college graduates.

When determining the need in jobs, experts were guided by the fact of remaining strong impact of the demographic factor on the labor market this year. According to the estimates, the labor force in 2016 will make up 18.6 million people.

It is planned to occupy the unemployed in the construction of transport, roadside and social infrastructure and standard design housing. About 100,000 jobs have been reserved for the people of disabilities, mothers with many children and others who undergo hardship in the labor market.

A Follow-Up of Job Fairs

Job fairs have increasingly been an effective way of promoting employment. Their mission is to introduce the job seekers to vacancies, provide them with information about the labor market, about the companies in need for workforce, job and retraining opportunities on the basis of the vacancies available. It is planned to hold at least one thousand job fairs this year with the participation of potential employers and the unemployed, covering all cities and districts.

These days job fairs are held in many regions, including education institutions. There is a complete alumni database, the data of their employment is promptly analyzed, trilateral employment contracts are concluded.

For instance, 50 companies and organizations presented their vacancies at the job fair in Beshariq Vocational College of Agriculture (Ferghana region). This year, the college graduates 850 young men and women. During the fair, students learned about vacancies and labor conditions. More than 100 graduates were forwarded to employers in accordance with their specialty.

 “Having reviewed the proposed jobs, I decided to conclude an employment contract with the Beshariq Biomahsulot company,” - says a graduate Zuhriddin Kholikov. “I am also going to undergo my practical training there.”

What Employment Centers Offer

Most of the work in this direction is carried out by employment and social protection centers throughout the country. Anyone is welcome to get additional knowledge or learn a new profession, to apply for a job search, or get advice. Social support of professional enthusiasm in women is particularly important, as their economic independence is seen as an important component of a healthy society in all respects.

There is a diversity of real opportunities of improving one’s life, all we need is a desire. The centers operate in each district of the capital, collecting the data about existing vacancies at urban enterprises. Each center provides staff training and retraining courses in order to meet the demand in the labor market. They offer training on the most popular professions, including accounting, office management, computer maintenance, modeling and tailoring, health massage, cooking, shoe business, welding, repair and installation of bathroom and lavatory equipment and electrical appliances. Trainees and registered job seekers receive allowance. Employment promotion centers organize job fairs in conjunction with district administrations, vocational colleges and enterprises.

A Vocational Training Center was established through the grant funds of the Republic of Korea in the Sergely region of Tashkent to prvide training and retraining of temporarily unemployed people, including graduates of educational institutions. It offers modern classrooms and practice shops for 360 seat and a dormitory for visitors from the regions of Uzbekistan.

The center provides training and retraining of specialists in the four main areas - the machinery production, electronics and electrical engineering, repair of motor vehicles, information systems and technologies.

Since its inception, the center trained and retrained more than 1,500 young people. Most importantly, none of the center’s graduates stays unemployed. The list of the companies that assisted with practical training and jobs includes the Tashkent Pipe Plant, Tashkent Casting and Mechanical Plant, GM Powertrain Uzbekistan, Bekabad Metallurgical Plant, Uztelekom and many others.

Uzbekistan has been pursuing an integrated policy to ensure that every able-bodied person has the opportunity to show his skills, initiative and ability in certain job, a stable source of income to improve his wellbeing and the family budget. There are the opportunities of a feasible labor for those who are limited with physical abilities.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

sport

WSB and APB tournaments in Tashkent

The match of the VI season of the World Series of Boxing and the first fighting game of the second cycle of APB tournament was held in the capital's sports complex "Uzbekistan" on February 26, 2016.

WSB: Uzbekistan - Champion

Boxing fans watched the WSB match with great interest, as the competitions in this format were held in Uzbekistan for the first time. Our team didn’t let us down. «Uzbek Tigers» held victory over «Puerto Rico Hurricanes» with a score 5:0 on the first day, and beat «Astana Arlans» with a score 4:1 on the second day.

On the first day, Abror Kadyrov, acting in the weight category up to 52 kg, fought Caber Avila. Abror, seized the initiative from the first minutes and did not give any chance to his rival. He won in the second round TKO.

Elnur Abduraimov (60 kg) fought Steven Ruidiazom and won with the score of 3:0.

This was followed by Dostonbek Turdiev (up to 69 kg), who completely controlled the match against Samuel Kedeno without giving him a chance to somehow prove himself. Turdiev also held a victory in the third round TKO.

Shukhrat Abdullayev fought Juan Carrillo (81 kg). In the first round Shukhrat missed initiative and looked less sure of himself, but was able to quickly reverse the course of the match and won with the score of 3:0.

The final match was won by Sardor Abdullayev (91 kg +), who beat Valavikus Mantas. He won with the score of 3:0.

On the second day, Hasanboy Dusmatov (up to 49 kg) fought Temirtas Zhusupov of «Astana Arlans». Hasanboy did not leave Temirtas any chance, and won with a score of 3:0.

After that, Abdulhay Sharahmatov (up to 49 kg) fought Meirbolat Toitov. Abdulhay fought well for all five rounds, and brought our team yet another victory, with a score of 3:0.

Next came Fazliddin Meliboev (up to 64 kg). His opponent was a boxer Askhat Ualikhanov. Fazliddin dominated the entire match and won with the score of 3:0.

Hurshidbek Normatov (up to 64 kg) stepped into the ring against Meyirim Nursultanov. The fight was even in the first two rounds, Hurshidbek looked a little better, but Meyirim took the initiative and beat out boxer with a score 3:0.  This was the only loss by an Uzbek athlete in the two days of the tournament.

Mirzabek Hasanov (81 kg) fought Erkin Mukhamedzhanov. At the end of 5 rounds, the victory went to our team - 3:0.

APB: Uzbeks win

Five matches in the format of APB series were held in Tashkent, and all of them ended in favor of the Uzbek athletes. Zhasurbek Latipov stepped into the ring against a boxer from Mongolia, Murdum Engen Gandulam, in the weight category 52 kg. The fight was very entertaining, Zhasurbek seized the initiative from the first minutes of the meeting, the opponent was actively trying to turn the tide of the battle. Latipov won with a score of 3:0.

In the weight category 69 kg, Dilshod Mahmudov fought Yuba Ndiaye Cissokho from Spain. Dilshod completely controlled the match and secured the victory with a score of 3:0.

In the weight category 75 kg, Isroil Madrimov fought the representative of India, Krishanom Vikash Yadav, and defeated him in the stubborn fight with a score of 3:0.

Two matches were held on the second day.

Zuhriddin Makhamov fought Alejandro Machedon from Romania in the weight category up to 81 kg. Zuhriddin completely controlled the match and won with a score of 3:0.

Ulugbek Mubinov fought the representative of Croatia, Marin Mindolzhevik, in the weight category 91 kg. The fight was very exciting. Ulugbek seized the initiative from the first minutes, the opponent was actively trying to turn the tide of the battle in vain and lost with a score of 0:3.

(Source: NA «Uzbekistan Today»)

 

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