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INFORMATION DIGEST No. 52

March 15, 2017

ECONOMY
Course is qualitatively new level of activity

The head of our state Shavkat Mirziyoev at the January extended meeting of the government has made the report dedicated to results of the past and definition of the major priorities of economic development of the country in the current year.

Besides heads of Legislative chamber and Senate of Oly Mazhlis, state advisors of the President, members of the government, deputy corps and another officially invited persons, for the first time by means of a video conferencing with the studios organized in the region, city and district centers executives of local hokimiyats, territorial departments of ministries, agencies, enterprises and directly entrepreneurs took part in the meeting.

The second important feature of the meeting is a singularity of the report. The president, as if remembering and following a saying that "success we achieved is in our "pocket", nobody can ever take that away from us.", stressed to a large extent a need not to be fond of "victorious" official reports and reports on the work done, but to concentrate the main attention on eradication of shortcomings and reveal of the true reasons of their emergence.

Finally, the third feature of a meeting is its carrying out not in command and ordering manner, but rather in a format of dialogue, and what is more of targeted, fundamental and business-like dialogue . The president has raised a question: "why some indicators of development of branches of economy and territories had not been achieved?

Who bears personal for it?" Why does the payment discipline "suffers"? Why do employees of many, first of all, budgetary organizations such as teachers, doctors, employees, and even pensioners suffer from "innovations" of certain officials? Why is the human dignity humiliated sometimes and who has granted the right to do so?

There were a lot of similar questions, they became an algorithm of whole meeting. The main conclusion following from the presidential report is, first of all, the critical analysis of the processes and the phenomena occurring in economy and life of society and, above all - compliance with strict discipline, personal responsibility and eradication of any negative manifestations in work.

Such approach to the matter, according to the President of the country, must be daily principles of every leader’s activities. Another not less important conclusion is necessity to continue a course of dynamic and stable development, ensuring worthy level and quality of people life. For this reason, and also with the offers which have arrived during extended discussion of the action strategy on further development of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021 in mind, the President has made the offer to define eleven major priorities for current year. The first, therefore, and the main thing of them the head of state called the consecutive embodiment in life of the noble idea "human interests are above all" on the basis of implementation of the State program "Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests".

Implementation of effective mechanisms of dialogue with citizens and the reporting of hokim, officials of prosecutor's office and internal affairs bodies to the population was determined as one of the ways of implementation of this priority. It is necessary to emphasize that committees of Legislative chamber and the Senate, with visiting places of residence of people and rendering the practical help in the solution of pressing problems to them have to be involved in this important issue since February 1. Other way is a providing the effective organization of activity of National and Virtual receptions of the President in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, areas, the capital, in each area and the city. The president has emphasized that such work shouldn't turn into an inconstancy, a pursuit of "smooth" reports. The people, each person have to feel care and support of the state, time has come for this.

The president in the report has paid special attention to further strengthening of macroeconomic stability and maintenance of high growth rates of economy, balance of the State budget at all levels, stability of national currency and price level in domestic market, having determined them as the most important priorities of the current year. "There could be and must be a question only of surplus of the budget. It is one of strategic tasks demanding not discussion, but unconditional performance", - the head of state has declared, without agreeing with experts of the Complex of macroeconomic about forecasting of deficiency of the state budget following the results of a year.

The report is saturated with a lot of the objective figures characterizing the state of affairs practically in each branch and the sphere of economy, regions, including the rather recently created special free economic zones whose functioning looks, unfortunately, not always well. There are defined the reasons – isolation of separate departments and their heads from concrete realities of life and needs of the people, superficial approach when developing industry and territorial concepts and programs, room style of the solution of difficult problems, without deep studying of a situation in branches of economy, at the concrete enterprises, in the cities and regions, especially in rural areas. "Therefore I demand from the deputy Prime minister not to take a position of the lawyer of the departments, and, being guided first of all by interests of the states, to give fundamental and constructive assessment to each of heads of governing bodies …

Ensuring effectiveness of work is both a debt, and a duty of each head", - the President Shavkat Mirziyoev has emphasized. The questions related to use of the credits of the international financial institutions, attraction of direct foreign investments with share decreased to 30% weren't casually or in passing considered. The situation hasn't changed even after creation of the Agency on expert assessment of feasibility studies of projects. According to the President, there is no system work, neither control, nor responsibility here. The government resolution on these questions he called "petrified" which wasn't reconsidered 10 years. It is impossible to be guided by the thesis: "we have developed and have approved, and you are obliged to execute and be responsible for results".

The head of state hasn't disregarded a question which is very topical around the world – an employment problem. In our country, despite the existing needs for employment of 1,5 million people, last year the Centers of assistance of employment have provided employment of only 248 thousand people, or 16,5%. The main reasons, according to the President, are outdated forms and methods of work, and a formalism in the solution of employment problems. We can add that the higher level of useful employment of people, effectiveness of timely solving its problems, more order and satisfaction with life, and less disorder, parasitism and various offenses in the society, respectively. Employment is a basis of growth of labor productivity and economic prosperity of the country.

The report noted that in recent years such important sphere as tourism received insufficient attention. There are countries in the world with economy functions mainly at the expense of the income from tourism. We have many opportunities for development of this sphere, however, they are used insufficiently and non-effectively. The president has noted that "this error should be certainly and above all, productively corrected”. For the moment decisions only on the structure which is engaged in tourism development are made. These decisions have to be supported with measures for increase in a contribution of tourism to development of economy of Uzbekistan, promotion of our historical and cultural values, and also replenishment of currency resources".

Activity of the economic and financial bodies designed, according to the head of our state, not only to develop, but also to provide realization of strategic tasks of strengthening of economic power of the country has undergone serious criticism. It was noted that with reducing of prime cost in branches on average for 10%, some production of chemical and light industry, automotive industry, construction industry because of the high cost isn't competitive in the foreign markets. Some enterprises generally work at a loss. Of 18 trillion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 15.03.2017, 1$= 3500.01 soums) of receivables, 11 trillions or more than 60% continue to remain debt for three years. The President has begun defining tasks of the current year with the necessity to provide export of production for 10,8 bln. dollars. The main ways of its decision - the activity program- should be developed not for complexes as it isn't viable, but for one and all export enterprises; to continue more active work on search of new sales markets of production in Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries; to provide export of production of small business and private entrepreneurship through Uztadbikorexport and Uzsanoatexport JSC, and Fund at National bank in scope not less than 1,5 billion dollars. It has been noted at a meeting that old methods of formation of the Program of localization of production have become obsolete. Peculiar "taboo" is removed from free economic zones. The president has signed the Decree on creation of essentially new basis of free economic zones of "Urgut", Gizhduvan, Kokand and Hazarasp.

In the current year the agrarian sector which is the supplier of raw materials of the industry and "nurse" of the population of the country has to function in different way, that is more effective and with high return. For this purpose the Ministry of rural and water management, the companies and other departments, and hokimiyats of all levels should provide, first, further optimization of the structure of sown areas and cultures, active introduction of the advanced agricultural technologies and growth of productivity, secondly, to strengthen a financial and economic condition of farms, thirdly, to refuse imperfect system of financing of agricultural technique measures.

Concerning questions of rational employment of women the president has noted: "Work on creation for women not only constant, but also new jobs due to development of family business, home work, workmanship, subsidiary farms is far from perfect".

It is offered to create the working groups of number of heads and ranking officers of Committee of women of Uzbekistan, the Council of labor unions federation, "Nurony", "Makhalla" funds, Public Youth Movement «Kamolot”, Committee for religious affairs, Chamber of Commerce and Industry and commercial banks. These groups since January 20 of the current year within three months have to study with visiting places a situation in families of the Andijan, Namangan and Fergana regions with visit of each street and each house. Their task is to analyze and generalize proposals of the ordinary citizens, simple families and veterans to take measures aimed to the legal, social and economic and moral solution of the available problems and questions. From now in such way, specifically, not in a month or year, namely today and now demands and needs of our people will begin to be solved. In a final part of the report the president has emphasized: "Today life and its requirements change promptly, it puts new and new tasks for us. Certainly, in such difficult situation we can't work in the old manner, being limited to the achieved success. It is time to change cardinally our attitude to work, to be guided by the end result". As they say, you won't tell better. Really, there has come time to live and work in a new way, on conscience and with high responsibility, to aim not at intermediate, but end high and qualitative results.
(Source: «Business partner.uz» newspaper)

BUSINESS CLIMATE
National payment system of Uzbekistan Uzcard has launched a new service that enables the holder of the main bank card to open additional cards for the same account

The new product is called UZCARD Family. As specialists say, it often happens that several family members need money on the card on the same day. Such needs triggered the development of family plastic cards.

In this case, the owner of the main card should not worry about the unintended costs, as he can set the limit for each member of the family, and the restrictions can be set for daily, weekly or monthly expenditures.

At the request of the account holder, he may get SMS messages on all financial transactions for each of the additional cards. This way, experts assure, the service allows rational managing the family budget, analyzing and planning expenses of family members.

Additional cards can also be opened not just for relatives, but also for all trusted persons. In turn, banks are assigned to support every client who has applied for opening family cards.

Uzbekistan has been working on the development of a plastic card system, introduction of innovations, thereby stimulating the use of the cards. Just a few days ago, the National Unified Processing Center announced of technical opportunity of making payments for goods and services through a plastic card with zero balance.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
On Uzbek-Kyrgyz political consultations

On March 13-14, 2017, the next round of Uzbek-Kyrgyz inter-ministerial political consultations was held in Tashkent.

A delegation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan was headed by the First Deputy Minister Dinara Kemeleva.

The sides exchanged views on topical issues of the bilateral agenda in political, trade-economic, transport-communication, cultural, humanitarian and other fields, as well as international and regional matters.

As has been mentioned, the high-level meeting held on December 24, 2016 in Samarkand, followed mutual visits of governmental delegations with participation of the leaders of the border territories of regions, public representatives of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, interested business circles contacts, ongoing negotiations on the legal registration of the interstate borders demonstrate new dynamics of the Uzbek-Kyrgyz multifaceted relations.

The sides confirmed their interest in the progressive development of collaboration in all spheres of mutual interest, including further deepening and expanding cooperation between the border regions of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Within the framework of the consultations, meetings of groups on consular issues and interaction in the information sphere were also held.

Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan Daniyar Sidikov attended the negotiations.
(Source: Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)

TOURISM
In online mode

Tourist operators of the country continue to work on the introduction of new tourist products. The opportunity for Uzbeks to buy a tour of the country in online mode became a novelty of the last days.

- We have developed a website for selling tours in Uzbekistan online. On it, tourists can choose any tours and immediately arrange a purchase of a voucher. The payment for all expenses is made with the help of a bank plastic card connected to the Mbank service, Akmaljon Kosimov, general director of the travel agency said. To date, the task is to develop domestic tourism. One of the reasons for its inadequate demand until today is the lack of proposals from tour operators.

Online sales are our contribution to the development of domestic tourism, which will make it possible to make travel around the country for Uzbek people more convenient and comfortable. An opportunity without leaving home to solve all organizational issues related to a trip to the historical sights of the country became possible. Ordering the tour online, the client receives a minute schedule of his travel, the solution of all issues related to travel, accommodation for the night in a hotel, meals, the provision of qualified guides.

Another convenience of the new service is that all tours have a fixed cost and do not fluctuate from different conditions. With the help of the new service, several tours to Bukhara and Samarkand have already been purchased.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)

Reference to the source is a must in reproducing materials.