INFORMATION DIGEST OF PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN # 119 June 17, 2016

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ECONOMY
Deputies gather to discuss the fulfillment of state budget

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
On July 12-14, 2016, Uzexpocentre will host the first international fruit and vegetable trade fair. In the future, the event will be held annually in October

SOCIETY
Website "Government through children's eyes" launches

PEOPLE OF ART
Jamol Usmonov: “I Am on a Creative Quest”

TOURISM
Urgench International Airport becomes laureate of prestigious contest

economy

Deputies gather to discuss the fulfillment of state budget

On June 1st, the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan convened a regular sitting. It was completely devoted to the discussion of a report on the execution of the state budget and budgets of the state special-purpose foundations in 2015 and the first quarter of the current year.

Among those participating in the event were heads of corresponding ministries and departments, experts in the field and representatives of the mass media.

The fulfillment of the country’s major financial document in the period under review, as required by the recently approved Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan, “On parliament control”, was preliminarily canvassed by all factions of the political parties active in the Republic, a deputy group from the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan and a number of committees from the Lower Chamber in conjunction with representatives of the Uzbek government, heads of the Finance Ministry and other interested departments. All the additional materials and required information were carefully considered and many constructive proposals expressed as to how to ensure the further improvement of mechanisms behind the fulfillment of the nation’s main financial document.

During the morning session the deputies deliberated over the execution of the state budget and budgets of the state special-purpose foundations in 2015. The Republic’s Finance Minister, R. Azimov made a report on this question, with a co-report being made by A. Shadmanov, Chairman of the Committee on Budget and Economic Reform of the Oliy Majlis’ Legislative Chamber.

It was pointed out, in particular, that in the period under review, the state budget was executed strictly in keeping with the parameters approved earlier by the country’s Parliament. The targeted implementation of the pivotal priorities specified by the Uzbek leader in the Socio-Economic Development Program of Uzbekistan for 2015 at the January 2015 sitting of the Cabinet of Ministers, contributed markedly to a steady growth of the national economy and macroeconomic stability. The growth rates of GDP were estimated at 8 per cent, production volumes of manufactured goods – 8 per cent, agriculture – 6.8 per cent, retail commodity turnover – over 15 per cent and the volume of paid services – 10. 8  per cent. In the period under review, the state budget of Uzbekistan was executed with surplus.  As for inflation, it stood at 5.6 per cent, or within the limits of prognosticated figures.

According to the deputies who took part in the sitting, all these accomplishments facilitated some positive structural improvements and qualitative changes, generating a positive trend in the national economy and being conducive to the implementation of efficient monetary-crediting and tax-budgetary policy, which, in turn, boosted the population’s employment and income.

Last year, the Uzbek government focused its attention on issues surrounding the further development of the social sphere and a steady rise in the population’s standard of life. In 2015, for example, the aggregate income per capita in the Republic increased by 9.6 per cent and the average wage of budgetary employees, pensions, social allowances and stipends grew by 21.9 per cent.

While talking over the report on the fulfillment of the state budget and budgets of the state special-purpose foundations in 2015, representatives from all factions of the country’s political parties and the group of deputies from the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan addressed the sitting.

Being guided by the interests of their electorate, as well as by the aims and tasks of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, deputies from the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Business People of Uzbekistan accentuated the significance of efforts to back the development of small business, to ensure the freedom of entrepreneurial activity and to further reduce the state’s presence in the national economy, which constitute the priority directions of market reforms carried out in the country. The small business’ share of GDP went up from 31 per cent in 2000 to 56.7 per cent last year. For the time being, the sector accounts for a third of total manufactured output and 98 per cent of farm produce. On top of this all, the sector employs more than 77 per cent of the Republic’s able-bodied citizens.

Within the framework of a program designed to support small business and private entrepreneurship, production volumes in the sector grew substantially over the past 5 years, which led to an increase in the amount of unified tax payment as a share of the state budget. The intensive development of small business in Uzbekistan was largely due to a systematic reduction of tax burden and a larger volume of bank credits allotted to private entrepreneurs.  This encouraged the development of many other industries of the national economy. The speakers devoted special attention to the creation of a highly propitious economic environment on the basis of market requirements and efficient utilization of production and resource potentialities available in the Republic’s territories. As well as that, they highlighted the development of high-tech small industrial enterprises specializing in the processing of agricultural produce.

The faction members also observed that a package of measures to erect and reconstruct land-reclamation facilities, including open and covered horizontal drainage systems, meliorative pumping stations and other important land-reclamation and hydro-technical installations, resulted in an increase in procurement volumes, a higher-level industrial processing of farm produce and the development of a ramified storage infrastructure.

Members of a faction from the Milliy Tiklanish Democratic Party, following its program objectives and tasks, emphasized that when executing the main parameters of the state budget, attention of all government, administrative and economic bodies was concentrated on the consistent implementation of reforms intended to ensure the stage-by-stage development of market relationships on the basis of the “Uzbek model” of development, diversification and structural transformation of the national economy and the inculcation of brand-new advanced technologies in the manufacturing industry. Taken together, these components will help to raise the Uzbek economy’s competitiveness in the international arena. It testifies to the systemic realization of priority directions and tasks set by President Islam Karimov in the National Economic Program for 2015, as well as to the creation of conditions guaranteeing high rates of economic growth in the Republic.

The Uzbek government augmented the amount of expenditure for the preservation and maintenance of the country’s historical-architectural and humanitarian heritage. The wherewithal earmarked from the state budget for these purposes serves to ensure the opportune implementation of numerous restoration and conservation projects for cultural and architectural monuments that constitute the cultural heritage of Uzbekistan. In this connection, the faction members called to strengthen the parliament control over the spending of money funds appropriated from local budgets. Special stress was laid on the necessity to continue realizing systemic measures, which are designed to promote indigenous produce to the world market, as well as to render assistance to domestic manufacturers turning out import-substituting goods.

At the sitting, the deputies also put forward several constructive proposals concerning the implementation of provisions stipulated in the Budget Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the observance of financial discipline and the achievement of an increase in the responsibility of officials from budgetary and state-funded organizations in a given sector.

Representatives of a faction from the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan noted that last year the government focused attention on ways to further develop the social sphere, to steadily increase the population’s income and living standard. In the period under review, the volume of funds poured from the state budget into the social sphere and the social support of Uzbek citizens reached 58.8 per cent of the total amount of expenditure.

Deputies from the People’s Democratic Party mentioned the targeted use of budgetary resources directed last year to the social sphere, social protection measures, formation of receipts at the State Employment Assistance Foundation and the targeted use of its funds. In 2015, 4.4 billion Soum worth of pecuniary aid was provided by the Foundation through personnel retraining programs, attraction of unemployed people to social paid work and payment of unemployment allowances. Given the fact that sometimes budget and state-funded organizations use budgetary resources inefficiently or not for purposes the latter are intended for, the deputies offered  a number of recommendations as to how to raise the responsibility of state and administrative bodies  in the center and in the regions alike for the targeted and rational spending of budgetary resources, as well as to further reinforce the control over the execution of norms and provisions specified in the Budget Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

According to faction members of the Social-Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, in 2015 the country succeeded in creating a solid foundation on which to ensure the further balanced development of all sectors and industries of the national economy. This spectacular achievement was due to the systemic realization of the National Economic Program. At the same time, the state budget was executed with surplus and in keeping with the parameters approved by both Chambers of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

It was particularly noted at the sitting under discussion that a great deal of attention is paid to the development of science and research, which is testimony to the goal-oriented effort to create an innovative sort of economy in the country. In 2015, to cite an example, the amount of funds directed from the state budget to science was 15.0 per cent bigger than in the similar period a year ago. At the same time, 137.4 billion Soum (currency rates of CB RU from 17.06.2016, 1$= 2933.99 soums) was earmarked to finance the directions prioritized in corresponding state scientific-technical programs.

Significant amounts of funds were also appropriated towards the elaboration of innovations and maintenance of institutions and unique installations that provide different services to the sector, as well as towards the coverage of other expenses associated with its development. All these steps are fully in line with the program aims of the Party, which has always advocated the devotion of more attention to science and the active introduction of its achievements in production and everyday life.

Additionally, the faction members put forward proposals on how to optimize the financing of priority directions specified in state scientific-technical programs, fundamental and applied research in different fields and innovative works.

Members of a deputy group from the Ecologic Movement of Uzbekistan emphasized that the preservation of the environment and the improvement of the population’s health are prioritized in the Republic’s state policy. That’s why, since the first days of independence the country has been pursuing a course of rational exploitation of natural resources and conservation of the environment for the present and future generations.

At the sitting, members of this deputy group appreciated at their true value a package of measures taken in the Republic to tackle a whole complex of environment-preservation and health-improvement issues. The state budget’s expenses on the conservation of the environment was estimated at 699.9 billion Soum in 2015, including 18.6 billion Soum – on the preservation of water and land resources, 7.1 billion Soum – on the protection of animals and plants  and 7.3 billion Soum – on the protection of biodiversity in Uzbekistan.

Taking into account all opinions and proposals expressed in the course of discussion, the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan issued a corresponding resolution on the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers’ report on the fulfillment of the state budget and budgets of the state special-purpose foundations of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2015.

In the second part of the sitting, the deputies considered a report on the fulfillment of the state budget and budgets of the state special-purpose foundations of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the first quarter of the current year. The report was made by M. Mirzaev, deputy Finance Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

In his address to the January 15th enlarged session of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Uzbek President outlined a range of main priorities in the National Economic Program for 2016. These include the indisputable continuation of systemic democratic and modernization-related reforms, the deep restructuring process in the national economy, above all in the manufacturing industry and agriculture, and the outperforming development and protection of proprietary relationships and private property, entrepreneurship and small business, while ensuring the macroeconomic stability.

It was pointed out at the sitting that the fulfillment of the state budget and budgets of the state special-purpose foundations in the period under review was carried out in accordance with the parameters approved by the Oiliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the basis of the Budget Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The participants stressed the fact that continuing the realization of the approved strategy designed to guarantee high growth rates in the national economy and mobilization for this purpose of all available reserves and potentialities augmented the country’s GDP by 7.5 per cent. At the same time, a further strengthening of the nation’s macroeconomic strategy was accompanied by low inflation.

Production volumes of industrial output grew by 7 per cent, farm produce – 6.7 per cent, services – 12.1 per cent and retail turnover – 12.8 per cent.

The beginning of the current year has seen the commencement of construction of as many as 13,000 comfortable individual houses in rural areas under territorial programs of socio-economic development in the regions. All the required engineering communications and social infrastructural facilities are being built too.  The systemic measures taken by the Uzbek government contributed to the creation in the period under review of more than 8,400 new small businesses, up 5.5 per cent on the same period a year ago. The volume of bank credits allotted to small businesses increased 1.3-fold compared with the first quarter of 2015.

The implementation of a broad range of goal-oriented measures has led to the creation of over 167,000 new jobs, with the rural areas accounting for 57.7 per cent of this number.

The “Year of Healthy Woman and Child” State Program is actively realized in the country, with a view to strengthening the protection of family, motherhood and childhood, and raising the level and the quality of medical care provided to mothers and children. To finance the implementation of its projects, some 1.3 trillion Soum has been appropriated in the first quarter of the current year from all sources of funding.

Representatives of all political parties and the deputy group from the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan took part in the comprehensive discussion of the report on the fulfillment of the state budget and budgets of the state special-purpose foundations of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the first quarter of 2016. All of them stressed the need of indisputable and precise fulfillment of the state budget by all government, administrative and economic bodies in the current year.

The Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan passed a resolution on the approval of the report on the fulfillment of the state budget and budgets of the state special-purpose foundations of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the first quarter of 2016.                                                            

Information Service Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis Republic of Uzbekistan

(Source: «Business partner.uz» newspaper)

 

International cooperation

On July 12-14, 2016, Uzexpocentre will host the first international fruit and vegetable trade fair. In the future, the event will be held annually in October

According to experts, the fair is initiated in order to introduce foreign partners to vegetables, fruits, grapes and melons that are produced in Uzbekistan and have unique consumer properties, to establish the long-term and stable cooperation between producers, processors and suppliers of fruit and vegetables by means of modern market mechanisms, increase of volumes, expansion of the range of exported fresh and processed fruit and vegetable products, and opening new outlets.

Uzbekistan invites the leading foreign traders, representatives of the largest transport companies, processing and agricultural companies, and manufacturers of field-oriented equipment. The main purpose of the fruit and vegetable fair is to create conditions for them to purchase the Uzbek fruit and vegetables they need. The purchasers will be able to travel to Tashkent for a couple of days a year, meet with farmers, transport and tax authorities, customs officials, representatives of other state institutions on the same platform, and address all the issues for the successful delivery of products. It also promises to be a wonderful chance to promote domestic fruits and vegetables in the global market.

Such a practice has perfectly justified itself in other agricultural areas. For example, Uzbekistan has been holding the International Cotton Fair for over a decade, where the bulk of the cotton fiber is contracted.

Last year, Uzbekistan grew 12.5 million tons of vegetables and potatoes, 1.8 million tons of melons, 1.5 million tons of grapes, 2.73 million tons of fruit. 114 new cold rooms with a capacity of 77.800 tons were established and upgraded for storage.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

 

Society

Website "Government through children's eyes" launches

A new website "Government through children's eyes» has been launched on the Internet (www.kids.gov.uz) within the framework of the governmental portal of the Republic.

The website has been developed in connection with the announcement of 2016 year as the "Year of a healthy mother and child", as well as the logical continuation of ongoing large-scale work on the formation of harmoniously developed generation through the widespread introduction of advanced information and communication technologies, to familiarize children with the such concepts as "state" and "government", providing general information about Uzbekistan.

The website has been developed by the Centre for development and introduction of computer and information technologies "Uzinfocom" under the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The website is designed for children aged from 6 to 12 years and comprises general information about Uzbekistan, the structure of the government, and other information.

Because of the new website is a pilot project, it is envisaged that in the future it will be improved on the basis of received suggestions and proposals.

(Source: UzReport.uz)

 

PEOPLE OF ART

Jamol Usmonov: “I Am on a Creative Quest”

Uzbekistan’s top artists that have demonstrated their power in modern art are getting ready for the Eighth Tashkent Biennale set to take place in autumn. One such artist is Jamol Usmonov.

Jamol, what led you to start creating installations?

My installations do not emulate European culture or European schools. It came from within when I was creating the Semurg Bird installation based on Alisher Navoi’s “The Language of Birds”. I had never made installations before. I then realized that the two-meter space was not enough for the creation of the legendary bird. That’s how my first installation came into being, and I enjoyed the process of making it and the art as a whole because it gave me an opportunity to express my thoughts. Unfortunately, only the bird remains of the whole installation. He rest of the parts just vanished from the workshop. Most probably, the chromed mirrors that were part of the composition were too tempting. My second installation was the composition “The Blind Man and the Elephant”, which was also based on the poem by Navoi. It won me a Grand Prix. Then it went on display at the Venice biennale.

You actively participate in major international modern art forums. Which one has been the most memorable?

“Throughout my creative career, I have participated in biennales abroad four times. And the Second Moscow Biennale has had a lasting impression. I stood next to my installation, which I had crafted after I had seen TV news footage in which dozens of people had died due to low-quality medication.

I also views artworks created by colleagues. I was deeply amazed by the works of two artists. The Croatian artist had brought a video art piece. Just imagine a room and two TV sets facing each other. One features a little Croatian girl, who has immigrated to the US, standing on a chair and singing a Croatian song. In the other screen were old women, sitting and looking at the singing girl. It is just hard to describe in words; you have to see it. The Japanese artist’s work was dedicated to peace. Measuring 2х1.5 meters, it was designed in such a way that as you walk further away from it, the image changes. I was interested in the technique that was used to create the installation.

I have participated in Venice biennales twice, but I wasn’t there physically. In 2003, Venice conceived the idea of setting up a Central Asian pavilion. My installations were demonstrated through video. I had made them in Tashkent and had them recorded and sent to the biennale.

The Chinese biennale displayed my paintings.

You have been invited to join the Eighth Tashkent Biennale. What was your reaction like?

I wasn’t burning to participate as I am not young any more. But I accepted the invitation with a sense of inspiration. The management was offered several projects, but I am not going to reveal the secrets yet; I am a superstitious person. You will see everything in the showroom. The projects are costly and we need a sponsor. The management promised to help and very soon we will find out the decision. The scope of work will depend on the amount of sponsorship offered. Unfortunately, installations are not purchased yet. After the biennale, my creation will languish somewhere in the studio. I cannot afford such pleasure at this point. Therefore, I am waiting for help and pondering project options.

How often do you create installations?

Just the other day, I finished another one. It was created as part of reconstruction work at the Tashkent airport. It embodies an airport, where “steel birds” land and take off. But I should say that I make installations only when there is sponsor support. What I do more often is I take a brush and sit down at an easel. Paintings are much sought after in the market and they are easier to transport across the world.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

Tourism

Urgench International Airport becomes laureate of prestigious contest

Urgench International Airport won in an international contest “The Best Airport of the Year of the CIS states” of the “Airport” Civil Aviation Association in nominations “The Best Airport of the CIS states for 2015” and “For great contribution in tourism sphere”.

Director-general of the “Airport” Civil Aviation Association Victor Gorbachev handed over a certificate and Cup of the association to the representatives of the Uzbek Airport.

Urgench International Airport won the contest for the fourth time. In 2015, the airport served and transported 133,400 passengers, 13,431 tonnes of correspondents, 12,990 tonnes of luggage, 23,749 tonnes of cargoes, as well as over 35,000 foreign tourists.

(Source: UzDaily.com) 

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