INFORMATION DIGEST OF PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN # 227 November 17, 2017

posted 25 Nov 2017, 05:08 by Webmaster Ambasciata

Investments. 1

Social orientation of investment processes in Uzbekistan. 1

ADB to provide loans for US$2.29 billion to Uzbekistan. 2

FINANCE.. 3

Liberalization of the Currency Market Continues. 3

BUSINESS CLIMATE.. 4

President of Uzbekistan approves new measures to liberalize foreign trade. 4

Publications in foreign mass media.. 4

«Uzbekistan Aims to Move Regional Cooperation From Talking Points to Reality». 4

HEALTH.. 6

Uzbekistan has been officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a country that eliminated Measles and Rubella. 6

Sport.. 7

Women’s Boxing: Three Medals from Vietnam.. 7

 


investments

Social orientation of investment processes in Uzbekistan

The stabilization of economy and steady rates of economic growth reached in Uzbekistan give new meaning to investment processes in regions of the republic. In modem conditions accelerated industrialization on the basis of the modern equipment and technologies, creation of new jobs, especially hi-tech ones remain priority, however along with them significant improvement of living conditions and welfare of the population become particularly important. The latter always is an ultimate goal of social and economic development of the democratic state. At the same time at the initial stage of industrialization of the country the most part of economic resources should be directed perhaps, to industrial accumulation

The reached level of macroeconomic development creates necessary prerequisites for the successful solution of the social and economic problems accumulated over decades by modern market methods. Non-market methods also remain. Their financial base is most successfully created by market economy. Democratic institutes allow to apply them more effectively. Market tools allow to use them more economically.

Significant increase in the volume of investment, being of direct social importance or directed to improvement of living conditions the population is observed in regions. Such processes also occurred ambitionally in the Namangan region. So in pursuance of the Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan of May 10, 2012 "About the program of development of services in the Republic of Uzbekistan in 20122016" the resolution of Hokim of Namangan region was accepted on May 15, 2012 and the appropriate program was developed

In 2016 within these programs 718 points of trade and the consumer services with the total cost of 102,2 billion Soums have been created (currency rates of CB RU from 17.11.2017, 1$= 8069,29 soum). Their number includes 347 points of trade and public catering, 190 points of consumer services, 4 points of financial services, 41 health care facilities, 4 objects of tourist services, 10 objects of communication and informatization services , 15 objects of transport services, 6 objects of construction services, 1 object of repair and maintenance of processing equipment, 22 points on repair and maintenance of agricultural machinery and others. 3853 workplaces have been created in these objects.

All this has resulted in significant increase in volumes of the rendered services. In 2016 the volume of communication and informatization services has increased for 8,2%, financial services for 23,6%, transport services for 18,8%, services of public catering - 8,2%, services of health care - for 7,9%, rent services - for 15,8%, computer and household appliances repair services- for 15,6%, services in the field of architecture, engineering researches, technical tests and the analysis - for 13,9% in comparison with 2015.

Rendering the listed types of service directly characterizes quality of life of the population, and investments into them according to the contents and consequences are investments into improvement of quality of life of the population. In the Namangan region total annual volume of the services rendered to the population has made 3912,0 billion Soums or has increased by 16%. Specific weight of services in gross domestic product has reached 35,6%.

The important direction of investments into improvement of life of the population is housing construction. In pursuance of the Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan "About the program of construction of apartment complexes and measures to expand and localize industrial base of construction of individual houses under standard projects in 2016" in the Namangan region 911 houses in 27 complexes have been built .

Investments have made 156 billion Soums and 148 billion Soums of this sum was paid by the state and the population within a year. Recently significant increase in investments for strengthening municipal infrastructure is observed. So in 2016 49,98 km of networks of drinking water supply, 25,0 km of electric lines and 27,77 km of gas supply are laid in rural complexes, 4,6 billion Soums are spent for this purpose, 10,0 billion Soums are invested into roads construction.

In ensuring welfare of the population public health care holds a special place. Strengthening and stable growth of national economy creates favorable financial prerequisites for increase in investments in this direction. In the Namangan region investment in this sphere are aimed first of all at strengthening of material and technical resources and personnel capacity of the perinatal and screening centers, ensuring effective work of family policlinics and rural medical points.

The following measures have been respectively carried out:

- children departments and maternity complexes of medical institutions in 12 districts of the region have been reconstructed. Total investments have made 36 billion Soums;

- 56 dental systems worth 256 million Soums have been delivered to the central regional policlinics and family policlinics of the cities of the region. Fibergastroduodenoscope worth 47 million Soums has been installed in multiprofile central policlinic. Regional oncological clinic has been equipped with the new x-ray system worth 172 million Soums. The list can be continued.

It is known that investment processes are aimed at increase in competitiveness of national economy, at increase in production efficiency in regions and at the enterprises. In modern conditions fast growth rates of gross domestic product and high macroeconomic rates have to be reached due to serious structural changes and production efficiency. But all this has to be followed by the corresponding positive processes in the social sphere. Therefore economic strategy carried-out in regions has to include, along with long-term production tasks, definition of means and ways of transformations in the social sphere, their investment security.

From the standpoint of social development the following features of investment processes in regions can be noted:

- investments into production branches more often are directed for creation of highly paid jobs. Though total of new jobs itself it is still small, the tendency to their accelerated growth is important. Also the fact that special tasks for them are set in the state investment programs deserves attention;

- the state strenuously maintains financially development of small business and entrepreneurship, increase in employment and growth of the salary, and participation of the given sector in social development of the region is thereby stimulated;

- essential expansion of the volumes of investment, the directed directly to improvement of living conditions of the population, especially in rural areas, complex character of these investments and aspiration to overcoming bottlenecks in social infrastructure is equally important.

Summing up the above, we can conclude that considerable activization of investment processes in the social sphere is observed in regions of Uzbekistan. It creates favorable prerequisites for the solution of pressing social problems and exerts beneficial effect on economic development through improvement of quality of a manpower.

(Source: «Business partner.uz» newspaper)

ADB to provide loans for US$2.29 billion to Uzbekistan

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to allocate loans worth US$2.29 billion to Uzbekistan in 2018-2020.

ADB adopted a business plan for Uzbekistan, which was designed for 2018-2020.

According to the plan, ADB intends to provide loans for US$1.54 billion from ordinary capital resources and US$750 million from concessional funds of the Asian Development Fund.

In particular, ADB will allocate US$750 million for modernization of Uzbekistan’s energy sector, including reconstruction of thermal and hydroelectric power stations, as well as transmission lines.

Another US$793 million will be directed to construction of transport infrastructure and water supply systems.

For development of agriculture and rural areas, the bank plans to provide US$400 million. ADB intends to allocate US$45 million for healthcare development and US$400 million for support and development of the financial sector.

Also, ADB can provide Uzbekistan with additional funds in the amount of US$660 million for projects in energy and finance, as well as water supply sectors.

(Source: UzDaily.com)

FINANCE

Liberalization of the Currency Market Continues

The recent meeting of the International Press Club was devoted to the topic "Liberalization of currency: preliminary results and plans for the future."

Its speakers were the first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Timur Ishmetov, deputy chairmen of the Central Bank Shuhrat Atabayev and Botir Zahidov.

As is known, within the framework of the decree of the President of the country "On Priority Measures for the Liberalization of Monetary Policy", since September, the liberalization of the domestic foreign exchange market through the introduction of a market mechanism for rate formation began.

At the preparatory stage, the main attention was paid to reducing inflationary pressures and preventing the possible growth of speculative demand in the foreign exchange market. This goal was achieved by tightening monetary policy, namely, raising the refinancing rate from 9% to 14%.

Measures have been taken to strengthen the stability of the banking system. In addition, large and strategic enterprises are supported, taking into account their financial condition and available debt in foreign currency. In particular, the restructuring of loans issued in order to prevent the negative impact of the devaluation of the national currency on their financial condition.

Social support for low-income families is being implemented, not a sharp rise in prices is allowed, confidence in the national currency is strengthened, by establishing norms for the implementation of all settlements and payments in the domestic market exclusively in soums.

All this made it possible to implement a "smooth" transition to free exchange rate, without any serious shocks in the banking system and in the economy as a whole.

Now the exchange rate of the sum is formed on the daily interbank trades of the currency exchange. The participation of the Central Bank in interbank trades is minimized.

The Central Bank conducts operations on purchase and sale of foreign currency solely to prevent excessive volatility of the exchange rate, without affecting the trend of the exchange rate.

In particular, the average monthly volume of operations on the currency exchange in September-October increased 1.7 times compared to the corresponding indicator of the first half of the year.

At the same time, the volume of currency sales by exporters increased more than 2 times compared to the average monthly operations in the first half of this year.

Over the past two months, banks bought foreign currency funds in the amount of $ 565 million, which served as an additional source of currency on the currency exchange.

It should be noted that for the last two months the balance of time deposits of individuals in national currency increased by 9%. This confirms the gradual growth of public confidence in the banking system and the ongoing monetary policy.

Liberalization of foreign exchange regulation creates absolutely new realities in the economy, which inevitably affect macroeconomic policy and require a fundamental change in approaches and mechanisms to monetary policy. For this reason, since January 2018, monetary policy, its principles and mechanisms will be directed to inflation targeting.

From this point of view, the Central Bank intends, on the one hand, to continue the tight monetary policy aimed at minimizing the influence of monetary factors on inflation growth, and on the other - to strengthen consolidated actions regarding budget expenditures with an emphasis on keeping their volumes within the approved parameters.

The adopted set of measures to prepare the basics for the transition to the inflation targeting regime envisages the development of the domestic financial market, the expansion of the monetary policy instruments of the Central Bank, the improvement of the statistical and analytical base for the development of monetary policy, the revision of the calculation methodology and compilation of the consumer price index in accordance with international practice, etc.

The process of liberalization of the currency market continues. There are still many tasks ahead of us, the speakers of the meeting emphasized.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

BUSINESS CLIMATE

President of Uzbekistan approves new measures to liberalize foreign trade

The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan signed the Decree "On measures on streamlining the licensing of export and import of specific goods, as well as the registration of export and examination of import contracts" and the Decree "On measures on further liberalization of foreign trade and the support of businesses".

The Decree provides for further improvement of the procedure for licensing export and import of specific goods, registration of export contracts, examination of import contracts and evaluation of tender documentation.

In particular, in order to optimize the export-import procedures and consolidate the issuing licenses for export and import of specific goods in a single authority, the decree provides for the transfer of licensing functions from the Ministry of foreign trade to the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan. At the same time, jewellery made of precious metals, precious stones and goods from them are excluded from the list of licensed goods.

In addition, in order to avoid duplicate procedures, the decree provides for the simplification and modification of the current order for examination of import contracts by the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for investment. In particular, the procedure for examination of import contracts concluded with the sum less than $100 thousand is abolished from now on.

 (Source: UzReport.uz)

Publications in foreign mass media

«Uzbekistan Aims to Move Regional Cooperation From Talking Points to Reality»

This is the title of an article published in the online magazine «The Diplomat» on November 14, 2017. The article was written by the editor-in-chief of the magazine Katherine Putz after her participation in the international conference under the auspices of the United Nations "Central Asia: one past and a common future, cooperation for sustainable development and mutual prosperity" (November 10-11, 2017, Samarkand).

The readership of «The Diplomat» is 1.2 million people per month. The magazine is rapidly gaining popularity among Western political and expert circles, journalists and observers who specialize in the Asian region. Its headquarteres is in Tokyo, the editorial board is in Washington and New York City. The magazine also is published a printed version monthly.

The full text of the article is given below.

UZBEKISTAN AIMS TO MOVE REGIONAL COOPERATION FROM TALKING POINTS TO REALITY

Catherine Putz, Japan, 14 November

Uzbekistan wants to breathe life into regional cooperation with the help of the UN and EU.

On November 10 and 11, delegates from across Central and South Asia, plus representatives from significant international partners such as the United States, European Union, and key development and financial institutions such as the United Nations Development Program and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), gathered in Samarkand, Uzbekistan to discuss regional security and cooperation.

As I commented ahead of the conference, there was nothing necessarily new on the agenda. The core themes - security, cooperation, water issues, development - have been Central Asia’s key concerns for the past two decades. What was different and important was the sense of hope that underlined much of the proceedings: Maybe now talk will finally turn to action.

Uzbekistan’s hosting was in itself important, as the country under its previous president, Islam Karimov, acted more often than not as a boulder in the road impeding greater cooperation across the region. New President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who will mark his first year officially at the helm in December, has cast himself and his country into the role of facilitator.

In his opening remarks, Mirziyoyev spoke of Central Asia in familiar terms - having a “shared past and a common future.” Pointing to Samarkand as one of the great hubs of the Silk Road, he repeated his established diplomatic theme of good neighborliness and major goal of a stable, economically developed region.

Mirziyoyev highlighted a border agreement signed between Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan ahead of the conference and remarked that so far 85 percent of the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border has been delimited, with future negotiations on the schedule.

After remarking on such positive achievements, Mirziyoyev said that the results achieved to date are not a time for “self complacency.” In a way, Mirziyoyev said what was on the lips of many participants: This is a start, a good beginning, but the road is long.

While the event was carefully managed, (in the interest of full disclosure: I was invited and hosted by the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs), with participants bused into the conference venue with police escorts and an organized trip to visit Islam Karimov’s mausoleum after the conference, the conversations among participants were not so controlled. The facilitation of such informal and open conversations marks a departure from the past.

The visit to Karimiov’s tomb was a curious counterpoint to the conference, which focused on the kind of pan-regional cooperation Karimov often eschewed and included, in the remarks of some speakers and the UN speakers in particular, mention of human rights issues. Immediately after Mirziyoyev, conference-goers were treated to a short video message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres which closed with the pledge: “Let us work together for peace, sustainable development, and human rights for all across Central Asia.”

The joint communique following the 13th EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting, which occurred alongside the Samarkand conference, also include positive language regarding human rights, linking human rights into broader efforts to strengthen the resilience of societies.

Furthermore, the conference addressed not only opportunities for cooperation (which everyone can always say is a good idea) but included discussion of challenges and pathways to achieving that cooperation.

Mirziyoyev and a number of other speakers mentioned that the Central Asian governments do not want a supra-national structure - underscoring regional states’ sovereignty concerns and their shared history - but instead need a functional regional dialogue to enable the joint tackling of regional issues.

Roy Allison, director of the Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre at Oxford’s St. Anthony’s College, in his remarks outlined how institutional frameworks to date in Central Asia have been of a “macro-regional” rather than truly regional character. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) don’t serve as forums for strictly Central Asian issues. Allison noted that the SCO’s expansion - with India and Pakistan joining this year - diluted the body’s Eurasian focus and shifted its center of gravity out of the region. The CSTO, which includes states like Belarus and Armenia and does not include Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, is led by Russia and the EEU, similarly does not have full Central Asian membership and lacks a truly Central Asian focus, not to mention the body’s other challenging issues.

Rather than Russia or China, it’s the European Union and various United Nations bodies that seem best poised to assist in jump-starting this regional dialogue. The EU is physically far enough removed and without the kind of political baggage that comes with U.S. or Russian efforts, but it is economically interested enough to put in the diplomatic groundwork necessary for success. The EU, rather than China, also serves as better bridge to the rest of the West - namely the United States. So, while Mirziyoyev used Beijing’s favorite phrase (“win-win”) and several speakers made positive mention of the Belt and Road Initiative, there was no heavy Chinese presence. The entire concept of greater cooperation in Central Asia, married with Mirziyoyev’s clearly economic primary objective, casts the entire enterprise also in China’s interest.

At the EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting the foreign ministers of the five Central Asian states signed a Program on Mutual Cooperation for 2018-2019. The program, like the conference, reflects all the usual areas prime for joint action: security, trade, investment, transportation, energy, tourism, and culture.

Federica Mogherini, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, spoke in her remarks of the EU as a partner for change, development and security in Central Asia. The comprehensive nature of the EU’s interests - unlike the Afghanistan-driven interests of the United States - further positions the EU, along with the UN, to help Central Asia with regard to establishing cooperative mechanisms.

What was remarkable about Samarkand was not the conference - those are much the same all over the world - but rather the sense that this time optimistic statements about cooperation actually mark the starting point of action, rather than just the repetition of standard talking points. As with all things, time will tell if the meetings on the sidelines of the event and conversations over tea in the lobby can yield positive change for the region.

hEALTH

Uzbekistan has been officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a country that eliminated Measles and Rubella

The country achieved elimination of these diseases from January 2014 to December 2016.

The Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella in the WHO European Region underlined that this fact contributes significantly to the goal of eliminating Measles and Rubella throughout the European region.

In 2007, Uzbekistan introduced the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination to the National Immunization Calendar. Two shots of MMR vaccine for children (in the ages of 12 months and 6 years old) build good immunity against these diseases for the rest of their lives.

MMR vaccination rates in the country are as high as 99.5% during the first vaccination and 99.7% in re-vaccination (2016). 

Infectious diseases are one of the major threats to the health of children. Therefore, the Ministry of Health makes significant effort in implementing the National Immunization Programme, to prevent and eliminate vaccine preventive diseases.

“Children under the age of 14 years old constitute 27 per cent of Uzbekistan’s population.  Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health investments we can make for future generations”, said Sascha Graumann, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan. “We will continue working with the Government, international partners and local communities to achieve and maintain universal routine immunization rates,” he added.

UNICEF assists the Government of Uzbekistan in procurement and introduction of new vaccines, strengthening the cold chain, achieving sustainable self-financing of vaccines procurement, and continuously increasing demand for vaccination through communication efforts.

During last decade, Uzbekistan has been transferring to sustainable and independent financing of vaccines procurement. In 2010, 90% of vaccines delivered to the country were purchased using the state budget. By 2020, the country plans to become fully independent in vaccine procurement.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

sport

Women’s Boxing: Three Medals from Vietnam

At the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in Vietnam, members of the Uzbekistan national team have secured one gold and two bronze medals.

At the Tashkent Islam Karimov International Airport our team was festively welcomed by representatives of various organizations and agencies, media, and sports fans.

At the continental boxing championship among women, organized by the Asian Boxing Confederation, over a hundred athletes from twenty countries fought for prizes.

 Guzal Ismatova, who performed in the weight category over 81 kg, overwhelmed her rivals with great advantage and was awarded the title of Asian Champion.

Upholding the honor of our country at this tournament, Yodgora Mirzaeva and Ezozakhon Meliyeva earned bronze medals.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

 

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