Ladies and Gentlemen!
Allow me from the bottom of my heart congratulate you, who gathered in this magnificent palace today, and in your person all of our people on the 26th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan and express my best wishes to you.
Our Constitution, as a vivid embodiment of the political and legal consciousness of the multinational people of Uzbekistan, serves as a solid foundation for building a democratic state and civil society, and finding a worthy place in the international arena.
Indeed, the difficult and at the same time glorious path traversed by us for over the last 26 years confirms the vitality and high potential of our Main Law.
The strategy of actions, developed on the basis of the Constitution, today plays a crucial role in bringing the country to a new, innovative and industrial level of development.
Constant dialogue with people, addressing urgent problems of the people, satisfaction of their needs and requirements are becoming the main criteria of our activity.
Life proves that in the course of the effective implementation of large-scale reforms we have begun, the importance of these issues increases.
That is why in-depth study and understanding of the Main Law, strict compliance with its requirements is the duty of each of every citizen of Uzbekistan.
Over the past two years, the main task for us has been to assert the priority of human dignity and honor in society and formation a justice system that can always ensure justice.
It is not by chance that our great ancestor Sahibkiran Amir Temur perpetuated the following saying on the portal of Oksaroy palace: “Justice is the basis of the state and actions of wise rulers”. This idea has not lost its relevance today.
At the Asian Forum on Human Rights held in November in Samarkand, prominent politicians, foreign scholars and experts gave a decent assessment to the work we have done in this short period of time.
It should be noted that this event has further enhanced prestige of Uzbekistan in the world. Most importantly, the Asian Forum introduced the notion of “Samarkand spirit” into international practice in the field of human rights.
Today, in our country a lot is being done to ensure the protection of human rights and freedoms.
In particular, strict liability has been established for the use of information obtained by unlawful methods as evidence of the prosecution.
Taking this opportunity, I want to emphasize once again that only one goal – justice should be in a judge’s mind, truth – in a judge’s mouth and purity in his soul.
In this regard, the following words of our great poet and thinker Alisher Navoi acquire a particularly deep meaning: “People, do not do evil, build a temple of justice and justice in your heart and soul of the people”.
When does justice prevail? When judicial bodies, judges strictly follow the principles of legality and fairness, they honestly and conscientiously perform their duties.
In the past two years, important measures have been taken in this area, in particular, to ensure the independence of the courts.
This year alone, 1 881 criminal cases were discontinued for lack of evidence. Five hundred and ninety persons have been acquitted, whereas in 2016, pay attention – only 28, and in 2017 – 263 persons.
In addition, the corpus delicti unreasonably applied during the investigation were excluded from the charges against 5 462 persons, 2 449 persons were released in the courtroom.
The practice of reconsideration of cases by courts during many years has been completely discontinued.
Based on the principles of humanism, a completely new system was introduced. As a result, 993 people were released from punishment under the guarantee of the Youth Union, Mahalla and Women’s Committees, including 456 young people and 113 women who have committed crimes of ignorance and sincerely repented.
Besides, 3 thousand 333 people who are serving their sentences, including 646 convicted for participating in the activities of banned organizations, were granted pardon and returned to their families.
On the occasion of this grand holiday, today I have signed a special Decree. According to it, 136 people, who have sincerely repented, returned to path of correction and are now serving their sentences, were granted pardon.
More than 20 thousand citizens suspected of having links with religious extremist groups were removed from the register.
The Republican Interdepartmental Commission for the Consideration of Citizens’ Appeals has been established, which is charged with considering the appeals of citizens who got involved in banned organizations, sincerely repented, took the path of correction.
Public commissions have been established on the ground to study the personal and professional qualities of candidates for the position of judge.
To ensure fairness, openness and transparency of the consideration of cases in courts, a system of electronic distribution of cases has been introduced. From now on, it is the electronic program that determines which judge will consider the case, without human intervention.
In order to ensure openness and legality of the judicial-investigative activities, as well as to reduce costs and bureaucratic red tape, the systems of “electronic criminal case” and “remote interrogation” are being introduced.
The powers of lawyers in ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens have been expanded.
All of this is the result of our judicial and legal reforms.
At the same time, a truly democratic and transparent system of selection of candidates for the position of judge, studying their personal and professional qualities should be created.
In particular, I consider it expedient to legislatively fix such a procedure, when candidates for the position of judge are recommended taking into account public opinion.
It is necessary to introduce a system in which applicants who are deemed worthy will undergo training for at least one year and be appointed to the position by trained judges. In this view, I propose to organize the Higher School of Judges under the High Judicial Council.
Unfortunately, some judges still make decisions that do not meet the principles of justice. Naturally, this undermines citizens’ confidence in justice.
Therefore, to improve their professional skills and culture, always be guided by the law, the principles of justice and humanism – these are the main tasks of each judge.
Every decision made by the courts should be, above all, fair, lawful and justified. Only then will people be firmly convinced that justice will prevail in any situation.
This year, the tasks and powers of state security agencies have been completely revised, an objective assessment of the activities of employees at all levels has been given.
For the first time, the Law “On the State Security Service” was adopted, according to which the main task of the newly formed special service is to provide reliable protection of the interests of the state from internal and external threats.
In the present alarming times, when threats of extremism and terrorism persist, encroachments on the constitutional order and the economic foundations of our country, brave soldiers and officers of the State Security Service must ruthlessly fight against any destructive forces and be a reliable shield in defending our Motherland.
As you know, recently in order to check the combat training of the troops of the Ministry of Defense, field exercises were conducted in the city of Chirchik. They clearly showed that in the last two years a great work has been done to strengthen the defense power of our country. We will continue this work on a systematic basis and on an even wider scale.
In addition, in order to ensure public order and the security of our citizens, a number of effective measures have been taken to fully support the units of the internal troops and the National Guard.
As a result of our efforts to protect public order and early warning of offenses, primarily with the participation of the general public in this process, a 36 percent reduction in crime has been achieved. Not a single crime was committed this year in 3 205 makhallas or in over 35 percent of existing ones.
In order to strengthen the achieved results, these issues, including the full implementation of the projects “Safe City”, “Safe Territory”, will continue to be priorities for the internal affairs agencies and the National Guard.
To ensure the right of free movement for citizens guaranteed by our Constitution, difficulties in registration and obtaining visas have been eliminated.
Thanks to the simplification of the procedure for issuing visas to citizens of 39 countries, and the introduction of the electronic visa system this year almost 4 million foreign tourists visited our country.
The citizenship of the Republic of Uzbekistan was granted to 2,528 persons who have been living in our country for many years, making a worthy contribution to the development of society and dreaming of becoming our compatriots.
It should be noted that concrete measures were taken to prevent and resolutely fight against corruption, which causes serious harm to the development of the state and society, which undermines people’s faith in justice. This is evidenced by the prosecution of 1 177 officials who have committed such crimes.
No matter how hard the law enforcement agencies try, without irreconcilable attitude of our citizens towards this disgusting phenomenon, and effective public control it is impossible to effectively combat corruption.
This evil must be seriously fought not only by law-enforcement agencies but also by public at each and every institution.
Therefore, each state institution must have its own internal program on combating corruption the supervision of which shall be undertaken by public.
As world experience shows, in parliaments of many countries, including the United States, Russia, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Greece, Latvia, and Estonia, there are commissions and committees to fight corruption.
Considering this best practice and proceeding from the requirements of our Constitution, I propose to form anti-corruption committees in the chambers of the Oliy Majlis. As representative bodies, these committees should contribute to strengthening the fight against corruption in public institutions at all levels.
Another important issue: the time has come to improve the system of ensuring of the rights of persons serving sentences on the basis of humanism and generosity inherent in our people.
As you are aware, our Constitution guarantees the right to education to all citizens. In this regard, it would be necessary to introduce a distance education system in correctional institutions in order to assist those who are serving their sentences in social adaptation in the future.
In perspective, it is also advisable to revise the norms restricting electoral rights of persons sentenced to imprisonment on the basis of international requirements.
The main goal of the Constitution of Uzbekistan is to create decent living conditions for our people.
As a result of the reforms, living standards and real incomes of the population are rising.
At the same time, in this area, the government and central economic departments, as well as administrations of all levels, face many tasks.
Life itself confirms that the most effective development of the country and the growth of the welfare of the population are provided by supporting entrepreneurship.
Our Constitution enshrines the guarantees of freedom of economic activity, entrepreneurship, equality and legal protection of all forms of ownership.
However, a high level of state presence in the economy, bureaucracy, problems in the tax and customs spheres, the banking system hamper the growth of domestic investment and the wider attraction of foreign capital.
As the well-known Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu said: “The collection of exorbitant taxes is the path leading to abuse, enrichment of the enemy, the crisis of the state.”
For years, high taxes created the conditions for growth in the share of the “shadow sector” of the economy.
Taking into account the current situation, in order to accelerate the development of the economy and increase the investment attractiveness of our country, we adopted the Concept of enhancing tax policy.
Much work has been done on its drafting. The draft concept has passed a wide and comprehensive public discussion in the country with the participation of the business community, international financial institutions, and renowned experts.
On the basis of this Concept, important changes are being made in the tax policy of the state. Instead of the maximum income tax rate that was still in force and stood at 22.5 percent, the personal income tax rate was introduced at 12 percent, and 8 percent insurance deductions were abolished.
The high single social payment rate has been reduced from 25 percent to 12 percent.
Mandatory deductions in the amount of 3.2 percent to the Extra-budgetary pension fund, trust road and educational funds were abolished.
The rates of customs payments were revised and the size of duties was reduced for almost 3,500 types of goods, the excise tax rate on goods was reduced for about 800 items.
Raw materials, equipment and equipment not produced in Uzbekistan and imported for the organization of production will not be subject to state duties.
Scheduled inspections of financial and economic activities of business entities have been cancelled. The requirements for obtaining 138 types of licenses and permits have been simplified, 42 of them have been completely abolished.
In order to eliminate obstacles and barriers, manifestations of corruption in the allocation of land plots for business, a procedure has been introduced to acquire them through an electronic auction.
There is a strict ban on the seizure of land for state and public use, demolition of real estate until the owner is compensated for the damage.
The procedure for a full compensation of damage caused to the property of investors and entrepreneurs has been guaranteed.
It also provides for the exemption of entrepreneurs from the payment of income tax and the single tax payment for the export of products, works and services starting from next year.
Targeted work continues to accelerate the development of tourism, further improve the quality of services, effectively utilize the tourist potential of the regions and create jobs, form new national tourism products.
Next year we will continue to work to reduce the level of inflation, comprehensively support active entrepreneurship, and create wide opportunities for investors.
As you are aware, this year the population of our country exceeded 33 million people. Certainly, this is a considerable figure.
We must guarantee the realization of the social rights of our citizens, in particular, decent living conditions, education and vocational training of young people, their employment and housing.
The Constitution of the country enshrines the right of every person to qualified medical care. The practical implementation of this important provision is a guarantee for the preservation of the gene pool of the nation, development of the state and society.
As a result of broad, comprehensive reforms, life expectancy in the country increased from 67 years in 1990 to 74 years in 2017. Child mortality has decreased by 3 times. We must strive to further improve these indicators.
Our country is adopting important practical programs aimed at improving the health of the population.
So, just the other day, according to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Concept of development of the health care system was adopted for 2019-2025.
In accordance with the requirements of the time, much is being done for the development of private medical institutions. In 2018 alone, over 400 of them were established in the republic.
As they say, a child is raised from the birth. Therefore, we began to reform the sphere of education and upbringing from the very first level – preschool education.
For comparison, I would like to give one example: over the past two years, the number of kindergartens in the country has increased by 1,400 and has now reached 6,367.
The number of kindergartens created on the basis of a public-private partnership has doubled over the past year, today there are already 568 of them. Practical work has begun on organizing another 1,000 such pre-school institutions.
This year, significant work has been done to reform the public education system and improve the working conditions of teachers. The wages of teachers are gradually increasing, new mechanisms for encouraging their work are being introduced.
Major reforms also carried out in the next link in the system – the higher education.
Over the past two years, 5 new universities and 12 branches of prestigious foreign universities have been created in the country.
As you are aware, the foundation “El-Yurt Umidi” (“Hope of the country”) has been established with a view to training and retraining of personnel which is necessary for the development of the country in leading foreign educational centers.
We should admit that, we are forced to train enterprising, talented young personnel demanded by the most popular sectors of the economy abroad, in developed countries. Therefore, the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education, universities, research centers of Uzbekistan need to work effectively in close cooperation with “El-Yurt Umidi” Foundation.
Based on the tasks set out in the Strategy of Action, as well as proposals from citizens received during the dialogue with the people, we must solve the following key issues in the social sphere.
First, it is necessary to ensure compliance of the social protection model in force in Uzbekistan with generally accepted international standards and modern requirements.
It is noteworthy that our country pays great attention to the support of people with disability, who lost their breadwinners, socially vulnerable and low-income families, in particular, providing them with affordable housing.
This year alone over 21 500 families have received affordable houses.
Moreover, this year people with disability were provided 30,5 thousand Prothetic-Orthopaedic devices and means of rehabilitation. 16 thousand disabled people have been treated in rehabilitation centers.
No doubt, we will further continue this noble cause on a systemic basis.
One of the most important issues is to ensure important social right to have pensions enshrined in our Constitution.
In particular, effective 2019 the retirement benefits (pensions) will be increased 8 to 10 times of minimum wages and working pensioners will be entitled to have full amount of their pensions.
Second, it is essential to strengthen social support for medical workers, create decent working conditions and improve the incentive system.
I believe, there is no need to once more speak about how complex the profession of a doctor is, and what kind of painstaking work, willpower and resilience it requires.
However, it raises a question: did we create appropriate conditions for medical workers? Do their wages and working conditions meet the complexity and responsibility of their work? Unfortunately, no.
Since December 1, 2018, we have increased their wages, and this is only the first step. We will continue to fully support medical personnel – representatives of the noble profession.
In the future, in order to provide guaranteed medical services to the population, we must introduce a system of compulsory medical insurance.
Third, taking into account the advanced foreign experience it is necessary to revise the educational standards and teaching methods in the field of public education from the point of view of identifying the individual abilities of students.
Having done everything possible to realize the talents and potential of our children from an early age, making every effort for their harmonious development, we will nurture many more such great figures as Beruni, Ibn Sino, Ulughbek. I am completely sure of this.
Fourth, in many cases, professional colleges unfortunately have become institutions for the issuance of diplomas in unclaimed professions.
During trips to the regions of the country, I try to talk with people as much as possible. You will be surprised, but there are not enough qualified tractor operators, machine operators in the field. It is difficult to find a land surveyor or a water conductor who knows his business. College graduates are often have to be re-trained to the right professions.
So where is the vocational training? Why the labor market has not being reviewed? Unfortunately, no one has seriously asked themselves these questions yet.
The Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education along with the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relationsshould undertake the measures to anticipate the demands of the real sector of the economy in personnel for at least 10–15 years ahead and arrange their training accordingly.
Fifth, we need to undertake urgent measures to ensure employment and reduce unemployment.
However, the question arose: what is the real number of unemployed in our country? What is the percentage of the population engaged in the informal sector? How many of our compatriots went abroad in search of employment?
We need to understand that one unemployed causes ten problems. If you try to assess the potential damage to the family, community, and society, you will see how thorny this issue is.
Substantive work has been done in the framework of this year programs “Every family is an entrepreneur” and “Youth is our future”. The population, especially young people, are provided with greater benefits in order to support their initiatives and business startups.
We will further extend them comprehensive assistance next year and will take under strict control the implementation of these programs.
We will be able to solve not only economic, but also many social problems if we develop business activities and initiative of our youth, teach them to manage financial resources
Sixth, we have to enhance the work on the construction of affordable houses on updated model projects in rural areas and apartment houses in cities.
Virtual reception receives a lot of appeals and complaints from remote regions of the country about the quality of these houses.
Taking into account the requests and wishes of citizens, we recently adopted a program providing measures to scale up and improve the quality of housing construction for socially vulnerable groups of the population.
The heads of departments responsible for the implementation of this program must conscientiously consider the execution of the tasks assigned to them.
Over the past two years, 90 laws and over 2,000 decrees and resolutions have been adopted, aimed at the realization of constitutional rights and freedoms, improvement of the living conditions of our citizens, solution of the problems accumulated over many years.
It should be noted that 20 percent of more than 13 thousand tasks defined in the adopted acts of the legislation were not fulfilled in a timely manner. This indicates that the Cabinet of Ministers and heads of a number of state and economical departments, as well as local hokimiyats, are irresponsible in this matter.
We must drastically reduce the number of unnecessary meetings in the Centre and local authorities, from which people are already tired, and to do more practical work to achieve concrete results.
Based on the goals and objectives of our reforms, I think the time has come to radically reconsider the activities of the Cabinet of Ministers in order to turn it into a truly supreme body of executive power.
I would like to note that in no country deep socio-economic reforms were carried out easily and quickly.
It should also be openly said that reforms are not to the liking of some officials, accustomed to think and work in the old way. After all, changes, updates, you see, disturb their peace and measured existence.
However, reforms are a requirement of life itself and cannot be stopped. This truth must be deeply grasped by the leaders of all levels.
Dear participants of the meeting!
It is known that the organization of control over the implementation of laws is among the constitutional powers of the Chairman of the Senate and the Speaker of Legislative chamber. But, unfortunately, we do not see drastic changes in the activities of Parliament in this direction.
This year the Senate sent only 2 parliamentary requests to the state authorities and officials, and the Legislative chamber-3.
We consider it as an achievement that reports of the leadership of central authorities and regions are heard at the parliamentary meetings. But the question arises: if the leaders reported at the Parliamentary hearings, what decisions has the Parliament made and sent for execution based on the results of the hearings? Have measures been taken with regard to Ministers or Khokims (Mayors) whose activities are considered unsatisfactory?
Where, finally, is a clear position of the people’s representatives?
For example, what senator or deputy sent a request to the leadership of the Ministry of Finance or the State Tax Service (State Tax Committee), inquired about the state of implementation of the Concept of improving tax policy?
The main drawback – the Oliy Majlis (Parliament) has not become the arena of debate on topical issues of the country’s development.
In this regard, I consider it appropriate that the houses of the Oliy Majlis shall not be limited to reviewing the implementation of laws and hearing reports from leaders, but also should put into practice a systematic study of the state of affairs with direct field visits and the development of appropriate proposals.
In their turn, citizens should also feel their involvement in the ongoing reforms. Only in this way we will achieve our goals and accomplish the tasks we set ourselves.
In this process, the role of strong and effective public scrutiny is extremely important. Therefore, we decided to create a “Public Opinion” portal next year.
We all well understand that in the implementation of public control mass media play an important role.
I constantly monitor their activities. Unfortunately, in newspapers, on television and radio, critical articles and programs about the essence of reforms, problems related to the execution of adopted laws and decisions, investigations on appeals of citizens – very rare phenomenon.
And yet, mass media are called upon to become real advocates of the interests of the people in the process of transformation. To do this, they must have determination and professional skills, objectivity and the ability to deep analysis.
In order to increase the effectiveness of the ongoing radical reforms, we need to implement the following tasks.
First, the parliamentary requests of the houses of the Oliy Majlis and the parliamentary hearings should be turned into a powerful means of ensuring the implementation of laws and decisions, the effectiveness of reforms.
Second, it would be worth, if the deputies and senators during field trips systematically and deeply study the problems that worry the population and put forward relative tasks before the government and local authorities, demand their solutions as well as take concrete measures on the perfection of legislation.
Third, I think the time has come to give up the practice of adopting sub-legal acts and make laws of the direct action.
For example, nowadays there are 8 laws, 14 decrees and more than 100 sublegal acts apply, that regulate relations in the sphere of foreign investments.
However, it is not important for local and foreign investors how many decrees and ordinances are adopted, more important only clear and effective work of the whole system in this sphere.
I would request our esteemed deputies to become more active, take initiative in their hands on the elaboration of the draft laws. They should not be a third party observers, but initiators and authors of laws. It is what the electorate/voters – our people are waiting for.
We need immediately to form a list of laws that lost their meaning and adopt laws of direct action on the basis of deep critical study of existing problems, taking into account up-to-date world practice.
Fourth, creation of any law or ordinances demands deep analysis of the existing problems in one or another sphere, study of advanced experience, in a word, painstaking work.
We should not to forget that the improvement of living conditions of our people – is the final goal of the adoption of legislative acts.
The key matter is timely bringing of its essence and meaning to the people in charge and the population, maintaining their inexpressibly realization.
We need to strengthen the role of justice bodies in this matter.
Any law, besides its introduction of certain right, imposes also obligations.
The basic Law of our country imposes citizens to observe the Constitution and laws, respect the rights, freedom, honor and dignity of other people.
The formation of the legal awareness and legal culture in the society depends first of all on the environment and education.
I will give one example. In the city of Calgary in Canada that counts more 1 million vehicles during 10 months of the year of 2018 10 people have died in the road traffic accidents.
For comparison, in our country where there are 2,5 million units of vehicles in total, during 10 months of the same period over 1600 people have died on the roads. Isn’t it a tragedy, a big loss?
We raised the responsibility for the traffic offence. Is it enough to solve the problem? I think not.
The cause of such offences is connected with the problems of legal culture. Until we do form a high legal culture in our society, do not put an end to such phenomenon, offences of law will continue.
Respect of law is being educated on the basis of legal awareness and legal culture of our people. In other words, some abide by the law out of fear of being punished; others respect the law thanks to gained education in childhood.
That is why we must at first place to conduct a wide explanatory work among the population, especially youth, on the legal matters. Simply speaking we must teach our children from the yearly years to understand what is right and what is wrong, whereas we ourselves must be example for them.
Surely, lesions on the subject of «Law» are in the school curriculum, but they are pro forma conducted, an educative meaning of the law recedes into the background. A systematic propaganda of legislative acts is not arranged by responsible bodies.
We need to increase the legal knowledge of the population in order to promote the content of laws by effective methods, using the capabilities of educational institutions, the media, Internet resources, literature, art, religious agencies.
Unfortunately, we often start talking about the Basic Law only when there is 10-15 days left before Constitution Day, although the study of the Constitution and the underlying ideas should be a continuous process.
You, probably, recall that many years ago the Oliy Majlis adopted a resolution on extensive study and promotion of the Constitution among the population.
However, over the past time, many changes have occurred in the socio-political and economic life of our society. It is necessary to update this resolution, to bring it in line with modern requirements.
In a word, every article of our Constitution should become a rule of life, a guide to action.
To do this, we need to create effective mechanisms for systematic study of the Basic Law in schools, universities, communities and labor collectives. We must create in our society a legal culture in which respect for the Constitution and laws, respect for rights and freedoms, the honor and dignity of a person will not be an obligation, but an integral part of everyday life.
In general, our citizens should not only not violate laws, but also be interested in their observance.
I want to draw your attention to one more question.
Unfortunately, our society has not yet completely gotten rid of dependent moods.
Each of us needs to realize: in order to live well, first of all you need to work hard and, in addition to understanding rights and freedoms, deeply feel your responsibility. Affirmation of this important principle in our life depends only on us.
No matter how lofty and difficult our goals may seem, we have every opportunity to achieve them. The source of strength and energy on this path is the rich spiritual heritage, the creative potential of our people.
We will continue, by uniting the efforts of the whole society, to direct our knowledge, experience and resources to ensure a prosperous life in the country, the future of our children.
The issues of strengthening peace and stability, the rights and freedoms of citizens, the comprehensive support of the younger generation in their striving to acquire modern knowledge and professions, the realization of their talents and abilities will continue to be at the center of our reforms.
In foreign policy, we will cherish and develop friendly relations and cooperation in all spheres with the countries of the near and far abroad, primarily with our neighbors.
Taking this opportunity, let me sincerely welcome the distinguished ambassadors of foreign countries participating in today’s solemn event, representatives of international organizations, and wish peace and well-being to their countries and peoples.
The history witnesses that comprehensively developed generation is a buttress of great future, the creative labor of the people is a buttress of prosperous life, and the friendship and cooperation are a guarantee of prosperity!
These most important and time-honored principles inspire and mobilize us to achieve yet new horizons.
I once again cordially congratulate you on the Day of Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
I wish you, all our entire nation a sound health, happiness and kindness, new successes and best of luck!
Thank you for your attention.