On December 22, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev addressed the both houses of the country’s parliament, Oliy Majlis. Following is the English text of the speech.
Distinguished deputies and senators!
Today, all of us are taking part in the most important political event in the life of our Motherland.
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the first time delivers Address to the parliament of the country – the Oliy Majlis.
In many advanced nations of the world there is practice whereby the head of state addresses the national legislature on the most critical and pressing issues of political, socio-economic and democratic development of the country.
I think such a democratic method of public administration is especially in demand today and is in tune with the extensive reforms undertaken today in Uzbekistan, first of all the principle of dialogue with the people, and serves to further enhance the effectiveness of our activities.
Today’s meeting is attended, along with members of the Senate and deputies of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, also – by video conferencing – by the deputies of district, city and regional Kengashes, heads of executive and economic management bodies of all levels.
Let me bring to your attention the Address devoted to the main results of the work carried out in 2017, which marked the beginning of a new stage of our development, and the priority directions of the social and economic development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2018.
To fulfill the tasks envisaged for this year in the Action Strategy for the development of Uzbekistan, all the capacities and potential of the state and society were mobilized.
The most crucial step on this path was the implementation of the measures outlined in the State Program “Year of Dialogue with the People and of Human Interests”.
It should be noted that our people widely support the large-scale reforms being carried out in the country. The first effects of these reforms are now replicated in the lives of compatriots, while their social activity and confidence in the future have been growing.
We take every decision regarding the life of the country on the basis of a direct dialogue with the people, taking into account the public opinion. The cornerstone of our activities is the principle “Not the people serve government bodies, but the state should serve the people”.
Representatives of state bodies, especially holders of managerial positions, are not confined in their daily activities to office work; they visit places and get themselves engaged in practical solutions to the most pressing problems of the population.
In this sense, we can say with full confidence that in the history of Uzbekistan, 2017 was the year of the creation of a new system of direct dialogue with the people, an effective solution of its vital problems.
The People’s Reception and the Virtual Reception of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which are the basis of this system, have become a kind of democratic institution for dealing with citizens’ appeals.
Within a short period of time, more than 1.5 million citizens applied to these receptions, the problems of many people, accumulated over the years, turned out to be positively solved, which indicates the approval of democracy in Uzbekistan not in words but in deeds.
Boosting the personal liability of managers on the ground for the prompt correction of errors and shortcomings has become an important result of the work of this system.
Taking into account the interests of the people, fundamental changes are also being made in the judicial and legal spheres, in the system of the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement bodies, who are the most essential institutions for ensuring social justice.
We have already discussed this in detail at the festive session in tribute to the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, thus I believe there is no need to dwell on this issue again.
In the current year, more than 1,100 people living in the country without citizenship of Uzbekistan have received this status. I think this is another confirmation of the provision in our country of human rights and freedoms.
In the economic sphere in 2017, we took the first steps to implement effective reforms that meet modern requirements.
Laws, decrees and decisions, well-thought-out programs for organizing our economy on a new basis and its further liberalization, improvement of its legal framework, modernization and diversification of production have been adopted and are being consistently implemented.
Within a brief span of time, 161 large industrial facilities were commissioned in the country. This will allow us to produce additional products worth 1.5 trillion soums next year.
For example, a combined-cycle plant is involved in the Tashkent thermal power plant. Due to this, an additional 2.5 billion kilowatts of electric power will be produced.
Work is also continuing on the construction of a second combined-cycle plant at the Navoi Thermal Power Plant, a hydrometallurgical plant based on the Ammunai-Amantai gold mines in the Kyzyl Kum.
At present, the Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine has begun work on the development of the Yoshlik-1 and Yoshlik-2 mines. The construction of such large facilities as the Sardoba, Central Ferghana and Tupalang reservoirs is being carried out at an accelerated pace. The railway line of Ferghana-Margilan is being electrified.
By launching another large facility, the Kandym gas processing complex, in addition to 4 billion 100 million cubic meters of natural gas, more than 67,000 tons of condensate, and more than 106,000 tons of sulfur will be produced in 2018. At the Mubarek gas processing plant – one of the locomotives of the economy of Uzbekistan – in the next year, blocks for the purification of sulfur from an additional 6 billion cubic meters of natural gas will be fully operational.
Along with this, in the joint-stock company Uzagrotekhsanoatholding in the new year, production of more than 5 thousand modern tractors, over 1 thousand cotton harvesting machines and more than 2 thousand trailers will be established.
There are many more such examples to cite.
Crucially, in economic policy, such an unacceptable method as the race for unrealistic numbers, the urge to present utopian plans as a reality, was critically revised. Achievement of concrete results and ensuring of human interests are defined as the main goal of our reforms.
Thanks to the implemented measures in 2017, the steady economic growth rate was 5.5 percent, the volume of exports increased by 15 percent. The positive balance in foreign trade reached 854 million dollars.
We started free conversion of our national currency – the soum. Corporatre entities and individuals have the opportunity to purchase and sell foreign currency in commercial banks without restrictions. Since the liberalization of the sphere, the volume of foreign currency purchase and sale transactions has grown 1.5 times and amounted to about 1.3 billion dollars. At the same time, our country’s gold and currency reserves increased by $ 1.1 billion.
This year, the country has established 12 free economic and 45 industrial zones, which contributes to the accelerated development of our regions. Work is underway to organize another 50 new industrial zones in the near future.
During the year, the issue of creating new jobs, which is extremely important for us, was constantly at the center of our attention. In 2017, thanks to the construction of new industrial enterprises, the development of small business and private entrepreneurship, the expansion of the service sector, over 336,000 new jobs were organized. We have determined for ourselves the provision of employment of the population as a priority task, and therefore we will continue to attach special importance to the growth of these indicators not only in quantitative but also in qualitative terms.
It also ensures the implementation of the adopted programs for reforming the social sphere as an extremely important direction of state policy.
It is known that for many years, the housing problem remained the most acute for our population, especially workers in the public sector, low-income families. For the sake of justice, we must admit that we have not paid much attention to this issue. Taking into account the needs of people, this year we started to build affordable housing for upgraded projects on the basis of preferential mortgage loans.
In towns and villages, standard and multi-storey houses with a total residential area of more than 3.5 million square meters were built. Compared to previous years, the volume of housing construction has increased dramatically; for example, in comparison with 2007 it has grown 20 times, 2010, when the program of standard design housing construction was launched, it has grown 3.5 times, and in relation to 2014 the figure stands at twofold.
It should be emphasized that over the past 25 years we have for the first time begun the construction of multi-storey houses with all amenities at affordable prices. In 2017, it was built and commissioned ‘turnkey’ such apartment buildings with an area of more than 800 thousand square meters.
Only in the city of Tashkent this year 420 thousand square meters of housing has been built – almost 3 times more than last year.
Taking into account that the issue of providing affordable housing for the population still remains relevant, we will definitely continue this work in a new year on a larger scale.
Because people not tomorrow, not in the distant future, but today want to see positive changes in their lives. Our hard-working, kind-hearted and generous people have the right to this.
Specific measures have been taken to improve the environmental situation in the Aral Sea area. Under the Ministry of Finance, the Development Fund for the Aral Sea Region has been established, to which over 200 billion soums are directed.
Due to these funds, water supply, living conditions of the residents of the Republic of Karakalpakstan and the Khorezm region are improving. Along with this, more than 3 thousand kilometers of internal roads have been overhauled and reconstructed in these regions.
In the current year, we paid special attention to the construction of new and repair of existingeducational institutions. 12 secondary schools have been built, 320 have been reconstructed, 152 schools have been overhauled. In addition, 107 were built and reconstructed, 195 pre-school educational institutions were overhauled.
Given the great role and importance of educating our children from an early age, we organized the Ministry of Pre-school Education. We need to strengthen the material and technical base of this sphere, including in the next 3-4 years we must build in all regions of the country and equip thousands of new kindergartens, raise the quality of the education and upbringing they receive in a new level.
In accordance with the proposals of many parents, teachers and students, the general public, we have restored the 11-year general education.
To fill the need on the ground in teachers in the Tashkent region, the Chirchik State Pedagogical Institute was established.
Besides, in 15 higher educational institutions correspondence departments are opened, where more than 5 thousand teachers who graduated from colleges will be able to get higher education.
In the educational system, based on innovative and creative approaches, specialized schools for in-depth study of exact sciences, bearing the names of Muhammad Khorezmi and Mirzo Ulugbek, have been created.
Significant work is also being done to further improve the system of higher education. In particular, the Program for the Comprehensive Development of the Higher Education System in 2017-2021 was adopted.
Due to the newly organized institutes and branches of higher educational institutions, the number of higher educational institutions reached 81, branches in the regions – 15, branches of foreign universities -7. In addition, it should be noted the agreement on the establishment in Almalyk of the branch of the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, and in Tashkent – the branch Webster University of the United States.
Based on the needs of the real sector of the economy, in some institutions of higher education open and evening departments are open.
Measures were taken to improve the system and strengthen the material and technical base of theAcademy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, and the activity of a number of research institutes and centers in its composition was restored.
After a long break, elections were held to the Academy of Sciences. A large number of talented scientists, enjoying prestige in the country and abroad, were awarded the high rank of an academician. In turn, we have the right to expect from the Academy of Sciences practical results of promising research, new scientific developments.
All of this our consistent work is aimed at achieving one goal: Uzbekistan must become competitive on the world stage in the field of science, intellectual potential, modern cadres, high technologies.
Speaking about the development of the cultural and humanitarian sphere, first of all, it should be noted that this year 12 important documents related to the issues of culture, art and literature, and the media were adopted.
In order to increase the role and significance of creative unions in the life of the country, to strengthen their material and technical base, the Public Fund for the Support of Creative Persons of Uzbekistan Ilhom has been established, and also the Friends Clubs, in conjunction with cultural and art institutions, large companies and banks.
In addition, an Alley of Writers, a new building of the Writers’ Union, in Karakalpakstan and a number of areas – creative schools bearing the names of our outstanding writers and poets were created in Tashkenton the territory of the National Park. Also reconstructed Kokand city, Khorezm and Jizzakh regional drama theaters, the Ferghana regional branch of the Uzbek State Institute of Arts and Culture was set up.
When we talk about projects that are important events in our spiritual life, we should especially emphasize that work has started on organizing the activities of such scientific and educational institutions as the Center for Islamic Civilization in Uzbekistan, the international research centers named after Imam Bukhari and Imam Termizi, the Islamic academy.
Along with this, with the memorial complexes of our great thinkers, schools have been set up to study hadith, Muslim law, Sufism and other areas.
Undoubtedly, our activity in this direction has a deep scientific and practical basis.
It is known that our land, located at the crossroads of ancient cultures and civilizations, has cultivated thousands of scientists and thinkers, great poets and theologians. The invaluable heritage left by them, including in the field of exact sciences and religious and philosophical knowledge, today is the spiritual heritage of all mankind.
Currently, more than 100 thousand ancient manuscripts are kept in the book collections of Uzbekistan. Unfortunately, these unique books have not been fully studied yet; they are waiting for their researchers and readers.
On the pages of these rare works one can find answers to many problems of our time. In particular, to this day, deep thoughts and ideas, which have not lost their relevance, which reveal the truly humanistic essence of Islam, call on all people, regardless of their nationality, religion and social status, for good, charity and harmony.
At the same time, we must frankly admit that we, being the heirs of such a unique heritage, have done far from all to study them, to acquaint them with our compatriots, especially the younger generation, and also the international community.
We talk a lot about the need to combat religious ignorance, against harmful currents – through enlightenment. This, of course, is correct. But where is this enlightenment, this knowledge – first of all, not in such books left to us by our great ancestors?
All our practical actions in this area are aimed at achieving precisely such a noble goal and cause great interest and attention not only in our country, but also abroad.
Therefore, it is unacceptable that in our society, possessing such priceless wealth, having advanced intellectuals, thousands of enlightened ulema, in our country, acting with important initiatives in this sphere, adherents of religious fundamentalism appeared.
Dear participants of the meeting!
In 2017, a great deal of work was done in the field of physical education and sports.
All of us are pleased with the sports successes of our youth. Declare themselves more and more new world and continental champions, international grandmasters in chess.
In the end of the year, Uzbek athletes achieved high results in various competitions in boxing, judo, taekwondo, weightlifting, freestyle wrestling, sambo.
2017 became a bright page in the history of the Uzbek national kurash. At a meeting of the General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia in September in Turkmenistan, it was decided to include this sport in the program of the Asian Games. Thus, at the 18th Asian Games to be held in Indonesia in 2018, athletes from different countries will also participate in contests for the Uzbek national kurash.
At present, we are working on improving the activities of the National Olympic Committee of Uzbekistan. Now the preparation for the Olympic Games and other prestigious competitions will be carried out on a new basis fully meeting the world standards.
Today, with this high rostrum, let me express my deep gratitude to all our young athletes, their mentors and coaches for their services in the development of our national sport, and wish them new victories.
Over the past period in the sphere of foreign policy, we have achieved significant results in the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations with foreign countries, primarily with neighboring countries.
In 2017, 21 high-level visits were held, meetings were held with leaders and representatives of more than 60 states and international organizations. As a result, more than 400 agreements have been concluded, and trade and investment contracts have been signed in total for almost 60 billion US dollars.
In order to timely implement the adopted documents, 40 “road maps” have been developed, which are carried out jointly with our foreign partners.
We have started to implement the principle “The main priority of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy isCentral Asia”. As a result, an absolutely new political atmosphere has been created in our region, interrelations based on mutual trust and good-neighborliness are being strengthened.
Strategic cooperation with Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan has been established. A number of important documents were signed to further deepen the strategic partnership with Kazakhstan, economic agreements were signed for 2 billion dollars. Cooperation with Tajikistan is also strengthening. There are airfare between Tashkent and Dushanbe.
The signing of the Treaty on the State Border with Kyrgyzstan was a serious step in ensuring security and stability in Central Asia.
Important agreements have been concluded on mutually beneficial cooperation with the neighboring Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, practical work has begun on new economic projects.
Effective agreements and agreements were also reached with Russia, the People’s Republic of China,South Korea, Turkey, the United States, European Union countries, Muslim countries.
Uzbekistan at a new level is developing cooperation with such international structures as the United Nations, the Islamic Cooperation Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has been restored, and partnerships have been established with the European Investment Bank. The interaction with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the Asian Bank for Infrastructure Investments acquires a dynamic character.
The positive changes taking place in the country increase interest in Uzbekistan in the international arena, serve to strengthen our status in the world community.
Of course, we can talk for a long time about the work that we carried out during the year. However, we are well aware that all these are only the first steps on the chosen by us difficult, but the only true way.
I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, economic associations and companies who actively participated in the implementation of the State Program “Year of Dialogue with the People and of Human Interests” to all who contributed to this noble cause.
Dear participants of the meeting!
According to the good tradition that has developed in our country, we must now consult on the name of the upcoming new one, 2018.
We thought a lot about this issue. The appeals and letters received from our citizens during the year to the People’s Reception and Virtual Reception Office of the President, state bodies, and judgments made during the meetings held at the local level, studied the opinion of the public.
Taking into account all the suggestions and recommendations made, I propose to name the new year 2018 in our country as the Year of Support for active Entrepreneurship, Innovative Ideas and Technologies.
In this connection, I would like to briefly dwell on the notion of active entrepreneurship. This is a direction in the economy, where business activity is organized on the basis of innovative, modern approaches, advanced technologies and management methods.
When we say “active entrepreneurs”, we mean business people capable of producing competitive products, most importantly – creating new jobs that benefit not only themselves and their family, but the whole society.
Our first priority should be to provide all-round support to entrepreneurs, in particular, to create favorable conditions for the import and introduction of high-tech products and the latest scientific achievements in production.
We also need to create broad opportunities for them to upgrade their skills, internships in leading foreign companies and organizations, and implement mutually beneficial cooperation with them.
Today we are moving to the path of innovative development aimed at radical improvement of all spheres of life of the state and society.
And this is natural. After all, who is winning in this rapidly developing world? Only a state that relies on a new thought, a new idea, an innovation.
Innovation means the future. If we begin today to build our great future, we must do this primarily on the basis of innovative ideas, an innovative approach.
That is why we organized the Ministry of Innovative Development and put before it specific tasks. We hope that this ministry will perform the role of a kind of locomotive in the implementation of the most important projects, not only in the economic sphere, but also in the life of our entire society.
In 2018, the focus will be on the development of research and innovation activities, the mobilization of necessary financial resources, the full support of the participation of gifted youth in this process, creative ideas and developments.
Dear people’s representatives!
The need for an effective solution of the currently existing problems in society, the consistent continuation of large-scale reforms requires the creation of an entirely new system in public administration.
I think the time has come for the development and adoption of the Law on Public Service.
At the same time, along with other important issues, it is necessary to envisage the creation of a system of remuneration and decent social security for civil servants and, at the same time, increasing the responsibility of officials.
In the field of management, first of all, we must introduce specific criteria and procedures for improving the performance of executive bodies, rational use of human and material resources.
Second, it is necessary to clearly define the procedure for implementing the tasks assigned to the executive authorities, the scope of their responsibilities.
Third, it is necessary to reduce the administrative impact on the economy and the widespread use of market mechanisms. That is, it is required to limit the state’s participation in the creation of business structures, the development of appropriate market mechanisms, the transfer of certain functions of the state to the private sector.
Fourth, it is necessary to improve the methods and techniques that ensure close cooperation between representative bodies and executive bodies, and step-by-step to abandon the excessively centralized management.
It is necessary to provide government services directly on the ground, expand financial and other opportunities for local authorities. It is necessary to optimize and simplify the existing procedures, introduce innovative forms of management.
Fifth, it is necessary to reform the civil service institution, introduce effective mechanisms to combat corruption.
Today, life itself requires us to form a professional, mobile and result-oriented system of public service, to develop an effective system that opens a broad path for initiative-minded people who think in a new way, devoted to the homeland and the people.
In the implementation of these tasks, the Guidelines for us should be the Concept of Administrative Reform in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
As you know, in order to effectively combat corruption in the country, a separate law was adopted.
A corresponding state program is consistently implemented, which includes measures aimed at achieving specific goals in this area.
As a result, for 9 months of this year, the number of crimes related to corruption, compared to the same period last year decreased by 33 percent.
We should consider such indicators as the first results of our long struggle against corruption and even more resolutely to work in this direction.
I think it appropriate to dwell on the role and significance of the parliament, deputies and senators in enhancing the effectiveness of the reforms we are implementing.
During the July 12 meeting with the members of the Oliy Majlis, it was emphasized that the parliament of our country should become a true school of democracy, the initiator and decisive force in the implementation of reforms, and we approved a program of practical measures.
But what is the benefit to our society from the execution of this program, which of the deputies or senators contributed to the relief of life of our people, the solution of their pressing problems in the spheres of health, ecology, communal services, education and others?
Unfortunately, our people do not see concrete examples of such care in life, in the press, or on television. Only on paper remained the call to our deputies, the senators to become more active.
Of the 136 legislative initiatives that were submitted during the year, only 27 were nominated by deputies, and mainly concern the introduction of changes and additions to existing laws based on decrees and decisions of the President. Does this alone not indicate a lack of effectiveness in the activities of our parliament?
Is it necessary to implement only the decrees and resolutions of the President to implement reforms? After all, the parliament is called upon to develop effective laws aimed at radical improvement of various spheres.
Unfortunately, the activity of our parliament in many respects is to hold formal meetings. Why are the problems identified or raised by the electorate not resolved through the adoption of relevant laws or a resolute statement of the issue to the executive branch?
Dear deputies, our people are waiting for you to answer these questions. Gone are the days when there was an opinion, they say, we are elected deputies or senators, now we can live peacefully.
The parliament of our country was recommended to promote the introduction of a businesslike, constructive, self-critical spirit in the activities of local Kengashes, the work of the health care system, the sphere of early warning of crime and delinquency.
However, the role of parliament and deputies in these spheres is not enough.
Today we can not say that in any region the services rendered to the population by health care institutions meet the requirements of the times.
It would be advisable if the Legislative Chamber (N. Ismoilov) paid more attention to solving problems in this area. For example, it would be possible to set up a separate health committee in the lower chamber of the Oliy Majlis and organize the work of deputies – its members mainly on the ground.
If you look at the reports, you get the impression that there are positive changes in the activity of the local Kengashes, but this is expressed only in figures. We do not need numbers, but concrete results.
Only if the situation in the regions improves, when the budget is enforced, crime will decrease, new jobs will appear in the required quantity, and, most importantly, the people’s standard of living will improve, only then can the work of local Kengashes be evaluated positively.
Unfortunately, in none of the districts the activities of the Kengash of People’s Deputies are organized at the proper level.
The leadership of the Senate (N. Yuldoshev) should critically, taking into account the opinions of citizens, consider the activities of the upper house in this direction and take the necessary measures to radically change the work of the representative bodies.
It is also necessary not to allow the weakening of work on the prevention of violations in the regions and increasing the effectiveness of the fight against crime.
In the most important direction of the activity of the Parliament – lawmaking, there are also a number of mistakes and shortcomings.
It should be recognized that the adoption of laws and by-laws that in most cases do not contribute to the resolution of any specific issues, and sometimes contradict each other, in practice leads to a multitude of problems.
The question is who needs the ineffective working groups that are being created, as well as the “dead” laws that do not affect law enforcement practice and do not have enforcement mechanisms?
In order to prevent such negative phenomena, we must develop and implement the concept of improving lawmaking and rulemaking.
Henceforth, we will critically review the practice of enacting laws in the framework of implementing various programs.
We must all be well aware that the only source and author of the law must be the people.
From now on, opinions and proposals on each bill will come directly from citizens, local Kengashes of People’s Deputies.
In the process of adopting laws, we must effectively use the system of wide discussion of draft laws by the population. To organize such a discussion, the leadership of the Oliy Majlis needs to create special ‘sites’ on the Internet.
For citizens to express their position on important issues relating to the life of our state and society, it is advisable to create a special web page “My opinion”.
As the advanced mechanism of democracy, it is proposed to introduce the procedure for introducing collective electronic treatment.
In other words, the mandatory consideration by Oliy Majlis or Kengashes of people’s deputies of initiatives put forward by groups of citizens should be legally enshrined.
Recently we have created the Institute of Problems of Legislation and Parliamentary Studies under the Oliy Majlis. It is called to become a kind of scientific center, deeply analyzing the various proposals coming to the Oliy Majlis.
Another important issue is that further strengthening of the role of the chambers of the Oliy Majlis and political parties is necessary for a comprehensive study of the state of affairs in all spheres, the development of effective measures and the solution of existing problems.
It is also necessary to get rid of the practice of chasing numbers. If instead of solving hundreds of problems on paper you actually solve at least a few problems, then the voters will be satisfied with your work, dear deputies.
Most importantly, our citizens, on the example of their own lives, should feel the ongoing transformation; feel that there really are representatives in the system of state power.
Ensuring inter-party competition, creating equal conditions for all political actors is an important condition for strengthening the role of parliament.
As is known, the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan, organized in 2008, has turned into a real political force over the past period. However, it should be recognized that the inclusion of representatives of the movement in the lower house of parliament on the basis of a predetermined quota does not help to increase their activity and initiative.
I think that the time has come to create equal conditions for all political forces and to stop quoting places in the Legislative Chamber for representatives of the Ecological Movement. The introduction of this change will strengthen the healthy competition in the political arena and will serve to strengthen the Ecological Movement as a separate political force.
In this connection, I would also like to dwell on electoral legislation, which is of great importance in our political life. The 6 laws and a number of by-laws adopted in this sphere, unfortunately, have not yet been harmonized as a single document.
It is necessary to develop and adopt a single Electoral Code that meets international norms and standards.
Also today, we should begin to develop a program of measures to prepare for elections to representative bodies of power, which will be held in 2019. In the program, special attention should be given to organizing this political process in an even more open spirit, which corresponds to best practice.
The next important issue before us in order to create even more favorable conditions for the population is a radical increase in the quality and expansion of public services.
Therefore, under the Ministry of Justice, we have organized a new structure – the Public Services Agency, which will coordinate and supervise the work on their provision by all government departments.
Henceforth, the centers of public services of this Agency, which will begin to operate under the People’s Reception, will provide prompt and quality services not only to entrepreneurs, but to all citizens.
The actual issue is still the planning of the activities of government bodies, increasing their effectiveness.
At the present time, there is no specific criterion for objectively assessing the activities of a particular agency for the past period. For example, I do not know yet by what criteria the work of the Ministry of Economy or another department is evaluated.
Therefore, ministries and departments, hokimiyats of all levels in determining the forecast parameters should outline specific quantitative and qualitative indicators of the expected results of their activities.
In this connection, it is necessary to review the structure and tasks of state bodies. In order to avoid mistakes in this area, it is necessary to take deeply thought out decisions, to receive a positive conclusion from the Commission on the implementation of the Concept of Administrative Reform.
To ensure the effectiveness of the measures taken, it is extremely important to ensure coordinated work of the executive authorities.
Unfortunately, today the lack of a clear delineation of responsibility, the definition of its degree in terms of activities, mechanisms of authority prevents it from achieving this goal.
In this connection, in the sphere of public administration, it is necessary to introduce a system for making effective decisions based on their openness and transparency.
It is advisable to revise the principles and mechanisms of interaction between government bodies and the Cabinet of Ministers. Each ministry is obliged to ensure the implementation of state policy in the sphere entrusted to it and fully responsible for the final result.
It is required that the relevant ministries directly cooperating with the government and parliament agencies, committees, inspections and centers, which operate in a status equivalent to ministries. In view of this, a critical review and optimization of the tasks and structure of the government is necessary.
Such changes will serve to reduce more than a hundred bodies of state and economic management, performing almost identical functions.
One of the major shortcomings of our activities is the excessive centralization of the functions and powers of the state.
For example, at present there are 64 types of licenses, 21 of them are issued by the Cabinet of Ministers and 40 are by central departments. The issuance of three types of licenses refers to the powers of the regional hokimiyats and only one – the district hokimiyats.
This state of affairs can also be observed in the sphere of processing documents related to licensing procedures.
Only 11 of the 220 permits can be obtained in districts or cities. The remaining 209 have to apply to the republican and regional bodies. Is this normal?
For example, to obtain a license to open a private kindergarten in Shavat district, an entrepreneur must overcome a thousand kilometers, go to Tashkent and wait for months.
The same facts are also observed in the selection, placement of personnel, the allocation of credit and financial resources, the approval of many important decisions at the local level.
How can you understand that local authorities do not have the authority even to solve simple questions?
All this has a negative impact on the independent work of the structures in solving urgent social and economic problems on the ground.
It is necessary to abandon the excessive centralization of public administration and transfer many powers of central bodies to territorial bodies.
Taking into account all these circumstances, the position of deputies of regional, city and regional hokims for attracting investments was introduced. In addition, a resolution was adopted on further increasing the responsibility of tax, financial and economic bodies for the formation of local budgets, the creation of additional reserves. The powers of local authorities in reforming the budgetary system have been expanded.
Now the heads of the regional, city and regional hokimiyats should take advantage of the opportunities provided and take responsibility for solving urgent problems on the ground.
One of the urgent tasks in the near future is the complete transfer of authority to the hokims of districts and cities in the selection and placement of personnel responsible for the social and economic development of the territories.
From now on, the appointment of the heads of local departments of public health, public education, economy, finance, tax inspection and other structures for the post and dismissal will be carried out by the district hokim.
Similar powers of regional and Tashkent city hokimiyats will also be revised.
Along with giving such wide powers and independence to local leaders, we must also radically increase their responsibility for the end result.
Another important task is connected with the division of powers of hokims as leaders of executive and representative government.
In recent years, the role of the Kengashes of People’s Deputies, the powers of the people’s representatives have been strengthened. The powers of political parties have been gradually expanded in the formation of local government bodies; deputy control over executive bodies has been strengthened.
At the same time, it must be admitted that practice, when hokim is simultaneously the leader of both the local Kengash and the executive body, does not comply with democratic principles.
It is known that hokims report to local Kengash on important and urgent issues of territorial development. And the Kengashi, in turn, make the appropriate decision.
Probably, it is worth asking the question: is it possible to consider such an order of things as normal, when, as a result, does the hokim give an assessment of his activity?
Today, life itself proves that such a system negatively affects the activity of both khokims and local Kengashes.
Therefore, at present we are working to resolve this issue at the legislative level.
Our important task should be to create conditions for the implementation of public control through its representatives over the activities of the hokims for the development of the territories, the implementation of the local budget, and the solution of communal issues.
In today’s reality, it is the reporting, openness and responsibility of officials to society that are an important condition for the effective functioning of the state apparatus.
From this point of view, in the near future, in the Internet, it is necessary to create a single platform for the implementation of all public procurement and the sale of state property. This will reduce budget expenditures, effectively manage state property and save large financial resources.
It should be specially noted that in the reforms aimed at building an open civil society, ensuring the protection of human rights and freedoms, an important role belongs to non-state non-profit organizations.
Currently, there are more than 9,000 NGOs in the country, there are branches and representative offices of 29 international and foreign non-governmental organizations.
Separate decrees and decrees have been adopted to improve the activities of such non-governmental non-profit organizations as the Nuroniy Foundation, the Youth Union, the Council of Farmers, Dehkan Farms and Household Landowners, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Republican Council for Coordinating the Activities of Citizens’ Self-Government Bodies, and their support.
However, despite such measures, the participation of public organizations in systematic study of the population’s problems, their resolution, especially in supporting women in difficult social situations, preventing crime and crime among young people and women, their employment is not properly felt. These organizations mainly deal with formal events.
I think that the relevant conclusions will be drawn from today’s criticism, and NGOs will step up their work.
In order to organize effective cooperation with non-governmental non-profit organizations, I consider it expedient to create an Advisory Council under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the Development of Civil Society.
I want to dwell on one more urgent problem in this area. So far, no specific legal mechanism has been created to implement public control over the activities of state bodies.
This, in turn, hinders the objective assessment by non-state non-profit organizations of the performance by state bodies and officials of the tasks assigned to them.
Proceeding from this, in order to introduce effective and practical mechanisms for implementing public control in public and public administration, I propose to accelerate the adoption of the Law on Public Control and create public councils with all state bodies.
These public councils should ensure the openness of the activities of state bodies and act as a liaison with the population.
The mass media are an important and influential factor in strengthening
democratic principles in our society. In this regard, we need to form a truly professional, modern journalism, focus on financial support of non-state media, information and analytical websites and create a separate state fund to this end.
Today, there are more than 1,500 media outlets in our country. They vary depending on the form of ownership, specialization and forms of broadcasting. Obviously, they all need highly qualified staff. Unfortunately, there is no basic institution of higher learning that could solve this large-scale task in the country. In this regard, I believe it is necessary to establish a University of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Dear deputies and senators!
I never become tired of repeating one idea: our prime goal must be to ensure justice in our life. Over the past year, the large-scale work were started to ensure the true independence of the judiciary. In particular, the Supreme Council of Judges was established, in order to further improve the structure of judges, select and appoint candidates for positions of judges. The Council established effective public control over the selection and appointment of nominees for judges.
We must continue reforms in this area. To this end, I consider it necessary to create aCommission under the Oliy Majlis for the support of independence of the judiciary.
The commission must consider appeals received from people, summarize the issues raised during dialogue and communication with people, analyze the situation through parliamentary inquiry and solve problems in coordination with the Supreme Court and the Supreme Council of Judges.
In order to ensure the true independence of the judiciary, first of all, judges should be protected from factors affecting access to justice. It is extremely important to identify cases of interference in the activity of the court, toughen liability and ensure that punishment is inevitable.
We will consistently continue to work on the implementation of the Habeas
Corpus Institute and strengthening judicial control over investigation. Proceeding
from this, it is necessary to transfer to the court the right to obtain permission to search and tap the phone conversations of suspects. We will pay special attention to the elimination of certain deeds from the category of offences and their liberalization, changing the criminal punishment from humanistic point of view. To this end, we need to adopt and implement the Concept of improvement of criminal and criminal-procedural legislation for 2018-2021.
Based on such eternal values of our people as forgiveness and tolerance, we need to revise the terms of bringing to criminal liability. We also need to establish the Academy of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which will train highly qualified judges.
As it was noted at the meeting on the occasion of the Constitution Day, from now on we will not allow for torture, psychological and physical pressure and other forms of inhuman violence against persons arrested and convicted in Uzbekistan. An officer who committed such acts or any person who fulfilled someone’s «order» would inevitably be brought to liability irrespective of who he/she is. In view of the creation of additional mechanisms to ensure the rights of prisoners, further improvement of criminal justice legislation is of particular importance.
Within the framework of critical examination and drastic improvement of the system of penal institutions, we intend to adopt a Program of relevant activities for 2018-2022. In order to prevent the human rights violations, all temporary and pre-trial detention facilities and penal institutions will be equipped with video surveillance equipment.
Starting from next year, we will be providing traffic police and postpatrol police with video cameras, which will allow them to tape their conversations, especially with citizens. This system will help prevent possible extortion and abuse of office. At present, the old disposition of road checkpoints in the regions restrict the freedom of movement and impact the development of trade and economic relations,
internal and external tourism.
Today there are over 60 such posts across the country. In order to come from Khorezm to Tashkent one needs to pass 17 checkpoints. And a person travelling from the Fergana Valley will have to pass eight of such checkpoints. In this regard, it is necessary to remove all road patrol checkpoints in the regions and drastically reduce the number of fixed checkpoints. It is necessary to emphasize that, since we are building a democratic state, we need to improve the training of well-educated, highly qualified, self-sacrificing professional lawyers who would meet international standards.
Currently, about 600 students are admitted in law specialty of higher education institutions inUzbekistan annually. This is only one percent of the total number of admitted students.
Do you think that it is possible to satisfy the ever growing demand of our state
and society for lawyers?
Along with expanding the educational and methodological base of the Tashkent State LawUniversity, it is important for us to establish branches of large
and reputable foreign higher education institutions in this direction in our country. It is well known that in recent years a worthy work has been carried out in our country to develop the legal profession.Now we need to take measures to improve the work of counseling services for lawyers – legal advice and legal assistance to
entrepreneurs. Lawyers should expand their activities in particular on the most demanded types of legal advisory services including registration of entrepreneurship, assistance with state bodies, pre-trial settlement, and labor disputes and increasing the legal awareness.
We all know that until now the main task of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary has been to punish people in many cases. This is a bitter truth.
In this regard, I would like to emphasize one thing: law enforcement officials should be well aware that our people are tired of being responsible for what they say
“check-ups” and “rumors”. The time is passed when it was possible to move beyond the competence and intervening in all the fields, to overlook the interests of the Homeland and the people, acting for own benefit in the name of “office”. That is to say, no one should be held liable for fake evidences and slander. We have to create reliable guarantees for the unconditional performance of the Constitution and laws.
We must create a system in which each law enforcement agency does not go beyond its competence and repeat the functions of the others.
In other words, internal affairs bodies should ensure public order and security and national security service to protect the state from internal and external threats.
The prosecutor’s office must oversee the implementation of laws. The main objective of the courts is to establish justice. To do this, the court must make a legal,
just and fair decision on each case. To this end we have done extensive work over the past year to radically reform the work of the courts, prosecutors and internal affairs bodies. The functions of these agencies are clearly defined and their activities are directed to serve the interests of the people. But it is still too early to say that of a number of laws, decrees and decisions in this regard has been fully implemented.
In spite of the measures taken, the internal affairs bodies have not yet turned into a people’s internal affairs offices. The efforts of the prosecution authorities to ensure the priority of the rule of law in society are insufficient. The courts have not yet become a place of justice in any cases. We can’t say that the activities of all the staff in these agencies are fully mobilized to protect the constitutional rights of citizens. Therefore, we will consistently continue reforms in this area in the future. The work of judiciary and the law enforcement agencies are evaluated only by the people themselves. The only and most stringent requirement for them is to serve the legitimate interests of citizens and to protect their rights in any case.
And most importantly we should not allow a single body to collect all the powers and resources and prevent violation of the principle of checks and balances.
In this regard, it should be noted that the bodies of the National Security Service have been acting till the present day on the basis of the Regulation approved
by the government 26 years ago.
This Regulation has not been changed for a quarter of a century and every ordinary issue has been regarded as a threat to national security which led to the groundless expansion of the agency’s powers. However, the tense situation that is developing in some parts of the world is aggravated by increased migration of the population, which in turn leads to the spread of terrorism and extremism and turning them into one of the global problems.
In such a situation, our national statehood, our independence, peaceful life of our people become a priority for us. From this point of view and taking into account all the threats of the globalization era it is time to reform the National Security Service. In this regard, I propose to draft and adopt laws “On Law Enforcement Bodies” and “On National Security Service”. I believe that the adoption of these laws creates a legal basis for further strengthening the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens and guarantees of prosperous life.
III. Priority directions of economic development and liberalization
We all understand that any reform and change cannot be achieved without sustainable economies. We have begun extensive work on this subject over the past year. However, we still have many tasks to strengthen our national economy and bring our country to the circle of developed countries.
Today, the number of developing countries is growing due to the introduction of innovative models of development, advanced ideas, export of know-how and smart technologies in the world.
Unfortunately, the work done in this direction in our country is not satisfactory. I think you will agree with it. According to the International Monetary Fund, Uzbekistan ranks 134th in the world ranking of gross domestic product per capita.
However, Uzbekistan is a country rich in natural resources with a huge economic potential. There are large reserves of natural resources such as gold, silver, copper, uranium, oil, natural gas and coal. In general, all the elements in Mendeleyev’s chemical table can be found in our country. Our fertile soil, sunny comfortable climate of four seasons and unique nature, where else can you find it?
The thing is to use this priceless treasure wisely and effectively in the interests our people. But we must admit we are lagging behind in this.
For example, the volume of gas production in our country in 2017 amounted to 56.5 billion cubic meters. However, the sphere has not been modernized for many
years. That’s why the loss is very big – 20-23%. Of course, all of us should think and worry of wasting much of this wealth. God did not give such a blessing to everyone. It is important to value and preserve it.
Economy means calculating. In each case careful calculation should be given priority. Otherwise our whole work will be in vain.
For example, we need to produce 66 billion cubic meters of gas in 2018.
About 17 billion cubic meters of gas will be delivered to “Uzbekenergo” company. It generates 56 billion kilowatt of electricity. Unfortunately, we have outdated transmission lines. As a result, 15-20% of electricity is lost in the network without reaching the consumer.
Or another example, enterprises affiliated to “Uzkimyosanoat” company consume about 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year. On this basis mineral fertilizers are produced and delivered to our farmers. Due to untimely collection of funds from farms, “Uzkimyosanoat” company has debts for natural gas of 890 billion as of December 1, 2017.
Under the market conditions both the supplier and the consumer should fully comply with their contractual obligations to avoid such situations.
A serious problem is the outdated management system, untimely introduction of effective mechanisms to support innovative ideas.
In addition, technological backwardness, the lack of resource and energysaving technologies and alternative energy sources also hamper economic development.
Worst of all, serious mistakes made in the definition and implementation of promising large-scale projects, use of foreign loans for inefficient work hinders the development of the economy.
For example, many experts and specialists recognize that many loans taken in the country for 25 years did not yield economic benefits. For example the Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex built in Karakalpakstan does not provide the expected economic benefits. Some “clever individuals” from the Ministry of Finance used to shout to the whole world that this is the best project in the world. But where is the result?
Such a pity situation can be seen in social programs related to the most acute needs of our people. For example over the past 10 years more than $618 million of foreign loans were attracted within the framework of 17 projects to provide drinking later to the population.
If such amount of currency were spent for achieving the effective, concrete results in improvement of live standards of our people, today we naturally would
thank to the leaders of the economic complex who have initiated this work. Yet, unfortunately, this has not happened. Many of the started projects have not been
First of all, we need to create an effective system attraction of foreign loans and investment, learn how to use each loan. In this issue it is time to measure seven times and cut once and think about the consequences. In this context, it is crucial to prepare a innovation program for state renovation, to prepare a new generation of cadres who effectively use innovations and investments and prepare a new class of investors. To do this Uzbekistan needs a strong national idea and nationalprogram on technological development and modernization of the domestic market. This program should enable Uzbekistan to faster join the ranks of the world’s developed countries.
Of course we all know that in our country low prices for basic energy resources are not justified in a market economy. For example, the 1 megawatt of electricity in Uzbekistan for the population and industrial enterprises costs $25. In Germany the price is $332 for the population and $144 for enterprises. In Russia $47 and $51, in India $68 and $87, respectively. Also, the cost of 1000 cubic meters of natural gas in Uzbekistan is $329, in Sweden – $1552, in Portugal – more than $1132, Italy – $1045, Germany – $785, UK – more than $770. This figure is more than $83 in Russia and $45 inKazakhstan. It is worth noting that in our country the cost of energy resources and natural gas is several times less than in developed countries. However, due to the lack of rational use of resources, there are difficulties with reducing costs, achieving product growth.
In order to increase the efficiency of the use of energy resources, we need to reform the energy system of our country, develop a clear strategy in this direction. First of all, it is necessary to privatize inefficient and operating to the detriment of enterprises, to stop monopoly. It is also important to create a competitive environment in the electricity sector and encourage the use of alternative energy sources. For this, it is necessary to switch to market mechanisms for financing production with the involvement of the private sector.
Taking into account the fact that we declared 2018 as the Year of support of proactive entrepreneurship, innovative ideas and technologies in our country, the focus of our attention will be on the development of active entrepreneurship. The necessary measures will be taken to support this area, remove obstacles to the accelerated and sustainable development of business entities.
Unfortunately, there are still problems with doing business. Why the development of entrepreneurship in our country does not meet expectations? Because there are many cases of unreasonable checks of representatives of this sphere. In truth, we ourselves – state bodies do not allow free development of entrepreneurship.
Still there are unnecessary procedures for anyone, many local officials work exclusively for their own personal interests. Speaking of this, we recall the words of a prominent statesman and the politician Winston Churchill. He wrote: “Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is–the strong horse that pulls the whole cart”.
I think there is no need to comment these statements. The requirement of a market economy is that resources and opportunities must be the equal for all. Nobody has the right to a monopoly. From this point of view, it is injustice that imports of products important for the needs of the population are concentrated in the hands of some groups and also that this has become a source of tangible income for them. Granting privileges to some enterprises, we ourselves limit the environment of free competition, we have a negative impact on price stability.
Now we will abandon this practice. In this respect, equal conditions for all will be created. Privileges will be granted not to certain enterprises, but to encourage special types of production and services. Complete monopolization of the main spheres of activity, under the guise of privileges, will be absolutely unacceptable.
In order to create an equal and fair competitive environment in a market economy, a draft of the Decree “On Measures for Further Effective Provision of Food Security of the Country” was developed and presented to the discussion of general public. Most are well aware: the complexity of customs procedures is one of the main obstacles to entrepreneurship. Of course, it’s disappointing that, according to the World Bank report, Uzbekistan ranks 175th among 190 countries in processing export-import documentation. For example, if you need 1 our for customs clearance in Belgium, then it takes a whole month in our country.
Imported goods are subject to a separate inspection in each customs regime. We have several such customs regime. Why should one cargo be inspected several times on the territory of our country? Who is interested in this? After all, every test requires cost!
Our financial capabilities are unlimited, or what? In addition, depending on the type, it is not allowed to export goods from the bonded warehouse without compliance, hygienic or veterinary certificate. Are not each our customs warehouse equipped with express laboratories?
How open and transparent are these processes, why are the concerned agencies not worried about this? In all developed countries, the customs inspection is carried out through a hazard warning system. This saves the resources of the government and the time of entrepreneurs. But we have not yet implemented this system. Starting next year, we will introduce a warning system for customs clearance for business entities, in particular, depending on how honest entrepreneurs are, they will pass through the “green” and “red” corridors. At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen counteraction to illegal inspections, unreasonable interference in the activities of private business. For this, it is necessary to radically revise the system of inspections of the activities of business entities. The work of the Republican Council for Coordinating the Activities of Regulatory Bodies does not meet the requirements of the time.
Think about it, and the working body of this council, as well as the controlling body conducting the largest number of inspections, is the tax authority itself. How can this be understood if it itself issues a permit for verification and checks itself? In this connection, I consider it expedient to transfer the issuance of permits for verification to a special electronic information system and to control it to the General Prosecutor’s Office. What if, in connection with the fact that we declared 2018 as “The Year of Support of Active Business, Innovative Ideas and Technologies”, we will halt for two years the verification of the financial and economic activities of all business entities? It is required that, under the leadership of the Prosecutor General, the heads of supervisory bodies every month meet with exemplary and active business entities, listen to the problems that concern them, take measures to identify and eliminate the shortcomings that impede their legitimate activities.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry should not sit idle in the matter of reliable protection of the rights of entrepreneurs. At the same time, instead of talking about shortcomings committed by state bodies or officials, the Chamber needs to critically discuss offenses, in particular, crimes committed by entrepreneurs. The community of entrepreneurs must be uncompromising towards unscrupulous entrepreneurs. It is necessary to create a system in which, first of all, not the state, but the entrepreneurs themselves show their attitude towards them and ensure goodwill in this environment.
Another important issue is the cardinal transformation of the activities of the Center for Coordination and Development of the Securities Market for the further development of the stock market and the stock exchange in our country. We will continue to work on transferring free objects of state property to the private sector on the basis of joint partnership.
It is necessary to create a unified procedure for the allocation of land plots, including for entrepreneurs, through electronic auctions and auctions on the Internet. To this end, starting in 2018, an electronic system for the sale of state assets through electronic trading platforms will be created.
A strong and stable banking and financial system is of great importance in the development of the economy. We cannot completely get rid of the “shadow economy” without increasing the confidence of the population and business entities in the banking system. In the implementation of tasks to develop the banking system in 2018, the main attention should be paid to ensuring efficient and mutually beneficial cooperation between banks and business entities. Despite the hesitations and “advice” of some “experts” who opposed the reform of the foreign exchange market, we started the process of currency liberalization on the basis of international standards in a short time. But we are well aware that this is only the beginning of reforms in the monetary policy of our country. Currency policy should fully meet the interests of business and economic development, give a positive impetus to investment activity. In 2018, we will abandon tough measures in the conduct of tax policy. Since budgetary sustainability is vital for the smooth functioning of the public system during the reform period.
We need to do a lot to improve the tax system to make our country attractive for investors who intend to implement large investment projects in Uzbekistan. It is necessary to reduce and simplify the tax burden for all categories of business, thereby expanding the production and tax base.
The newly created small and medium-sized businesses that build facilities for their needs should be given the right to defer a single tax payment within a certain period of time. It is also necessary to encourage the transition of small businesses to pay value added tax.
At the same time, it is necessary to move to a policy of stimulating rapidly developing and growing enterprises.
I propose to abandon individual tax exemption and move to the practice of applying them only for certain sectors of the economy.
Most importantly, from the point of view of investors, the tax system should be clear and understandable for a long time. Therefore, it is necessary to apply a carefully thought-out, long-term policy in the tax system.
We need to revise the country’s budget system, ensure that budget revenues and expenditures are open and transparent for our people.
Do you know what our biggest problem is? We do not have an elaborate, long-term unified concept for the development of investment programs. During each state visit, we conclude agreements worth several billion dollars to attract foreign investments.
However, the implementation of these agreements is very slow. This is because there is no well-functioning system in this area.
In current investment programs there is no information on any particular project. When developing programs, the Ministry of Economy and local authorities are chasing only numbers.
They include in the program even those projects that do not bring economic benefits, have no prospects and sources of funding, unnecessarily overstate the cost of projects, in short, they are engaged in fraud.
It’s time to get rid of this unpleasant practice. We decided to eliminate these cases and attract investments in the real sector of the economy, introduce a completely new mechanism for project development.
The practice of accepting investment projects, developed in a reckless manner and for the sake of diverting the eyes, is completely discontinued. From this moment on, the concepts of long-term development will be developed.
As a first step in this direction, the State Development Programs of the Republic ofUzbekistan have been adopted and a financing fund for these programs was established.
One of our most important tasks in the development of the economy is to mobilize the population’s funds as investments, to strengthen the sense of entrepreneurship in people.
To this end, I propose to open an Investment Portal on the Internet that will provide local and foreign investors with the necessary statistical data, provide
information on the conditions of doing business. Based on foreign experience, it is necessary to organize free 24-hour mobile communication services for all investors.
It is also necessary to think about creating a system of benefits for foreign investors that encourages them to reinvest, rather than export their capital. It is important to intensify the work of the heads of city administrations, government agencies and organizations to attract investment, to cooperate with foreign investors, to create new types of production and to increase employment.
Starting from the next year, the results of the rating will be announced to identify the conditions created on the ground for foreign investors, and the activities of regional leaders will be assessed by these standards.
As you know, today there are our embassies in 33 countries of the world. But does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs make full use of its opportunities to promote an increase in the investment attractiveness of our country, to attract foreign investment? Is the activity of the embassy’s councilors on trade and economic issues satisfactory?
Unfortunately, the issues of economy and investments have become secondary for our ambassadors. They are only concerned with “politics.” The embassies have a shortage of specialists in economy, finance and investment. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce a separate system for studying the knowledge and skills of each appointing embassy employee in the sphere of economy.
It is important to emphasize the remaining vast untapped potential and resources in theforeign economic sphere. In this regard, we will continue to expand trade-economic relations with Central Asian states and major partners – China, Russia, South Korea, United States, Turkey and European Union member-states.
In the forthcoming year we need to pay special attention to consistent development of reliable transport and transit corridors that will ensure access of Uzbekistan’s foreign trade goods to main world and regional markets.
Today, our main goods are transported via transit routes of Kazakhstan, especially, most of the cargo cross through the “Saryagash” station, and we hardly can affirm that this route fully meets our demands. While importing goods to the territory of Uzbekistan through this station, lack of electric locomotives, modern terminals, railway traffic congestion result in longterm cargo delays. In its turn, this has a negative impact on economy of our country.
For that reason we should diversify logistic routes, hold practical negotiations with our neighbors in this regard. It is necessary to increase the potential of our country in the field of transport and communication infrastructure within the framework of the “One Belt, One Road” project initiated by China.
We should earnestly consider the possibilities of obtaining preferences in exporting our main goods through the territories of transit states, particularly, Turkmenistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia,Azerbaijan and Georgia. Furthermore, in order to support national carriers and to create additional opportunities for entities of entrepreneurship, we must establish the National Logistics Portal. In the forthcoming year we will restart negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organization.
In order to further encourage export, it is necessary to adjust respective technical regulations system to international standards. One of our core objectives is to deliver quality and certified products to foreign markets under the Uzbek brand.
Today one of perspective sectors, which generate high revenues to national economy is tourism. Uzbekistan is considered a state, which possess vast potential in the sphere of tourism. There are more than 7 thousand 300 cultural heritage sites, significant number of them is inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
We should pay special attention to development of pilgrimage tourism, ecological, educational, ethnographic, gastronomic tourism and other directions of tourism by means of attracting of world brands into the sphere.
In this connection, we should take into consideration that fostering public private partnerships will expand potential in development of this sphere.
It is necessary to develop and intensify Small Hajj program, which envisages pilgrimage to holy shrines and monuments in the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Tashkent. Along with this, it is essential to unveil wide opportunities in the sphere of internal tourism as well. Deputy Prime-Minister Mr. S.Kholmuradov and Chairperson of the State Committee on Tourism Development Mr. A.Abduhakimov must elaborate and submit respective documents to address these issues within a week.
Dear participants of the meeting!
With your permission, I would like to dwell attention on most important tasks in the leading sector of our economy – agriculture. We discussed it in detail during the meeting on the occasion of the Day of workers of agriculture, held on 9 December. I will not repeat the voiced ideas and think it is necessary to focus our attention on the following important issues. It is well-known that today more than 51 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas. However, agricultural products comprise not more than 17 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
The volume of processing of agricultural products doesn’t even reach 10 percent. Whereas, the same indicator amongst developed countries accounts for more than 50 percent.
In this connection, we should elaborate a comprehensive program on further reforming agriculture.
Particularly, special attention should be paid to ensuring food security, introduction of strict control against production of genetically modified products.
Indeed, the increasing volumes of imported fruits and vegetables into markets of our country during recent years should warn us. In this regard, above all we should revive disappearing ancient sorts of products, establish efficient and effective selection work, ensure wide introduction of scientific achievements and innovations in agriculture.
It is known that textile industry of our country has a capacity to process up to 1 million 400 thousand tons of cotton fiber. It fully meets demands of country’s manufacturers of finished products.
However, there is a number of problems in management of cotton processing industry. This, in its turn, results in decreasing profitability of cotton production and processing. With that in view, in order to address challenges in this sphere, and further encourage local producers, we adopted a separate decree.
To this day, raw cotton was sold to our textile factories through “Uzpakhtasanoat” joint-stock company. According to the decree, from now on, textile factories have opportunity to purchase raw cotton directly from farmers under direct contracts. We started a pilot program on production of raw cotton, formation of prices and sales based on market requirements within the framework of establishing cotton-textile clusters in Navoi, Bukhara and Syrdarya regions.
Today it is an imperative that we apply such best practices across our country in the future. What concerns the stockbreeding sphere, we should create respective favorable conditions in order to increase the number of cattle and poultry, and to ensure quality and productivity.
There is a necessity to establish specialized livestock complexes, high-tech poultry farms, as well as greenhouses in each district in the near future. At present, we export fruit and vegetable products worth 1.5-2 billion USD.
However, in this sphere there is an opportunity to export products worth 10-15 billion dollars a year.
“UzAgroExport” joint-stock company, commodity exchanges, agro firms and wholesalers should play a greater role in the production and export of products. Effective realization of agricultural products is a very important issue. To this end, it is necessary to create a single database on the volume and quantity of products grown on farms.
I would like to briefly dwell on accelerated economic development of the regions.
I believe it is reasonable to expand powers, capabilities and responsibility of local authorities. At present, there are 9 districts in the country, where there is no enterprise with
foreign investment. Direct investments are mainly concentrated in Tashkent city, Tashkent andSamarkand regions as well as the Fergana valley.
In the regions, it is necessary to fully implement projects of modern production and engineering-communication networks in the regions through strengthening of public-private partnerships. However, it is worth noting that there is not enough work done.
Therefore, we need to develop and implement the Concept on Introduction of Public-Private Partnerships.
One of the major areas of our economy’s untapped directions with huge potential is construction industry.
Reformation and further development of the construction sector will be one of the main objectives for the next year. We should seriously think over formation of a modern generation of construction contractors and builders.
To this end, the program of innovative development of construction industry till 2030 will be developed.
In this connection, we will create all the necessary conditions for attraction of qualified specialists from abroad as well as for professional development of local specialists in foreign countries.
So far, unfortunately, we have not paid enough attention to the important strategic sphere – introduction of aerospace technologies in leading spheres and sectors of the economy through satellite.
In order to develop this field, which is an essential condition and factor of modern development, we need to create our national space infrastructure by
attracting foreign investors to implement projects based on public-private partnerships.
It is necessary to develop scientific-research institutes involved in this area and to strengthen their capacity. We need to establish a separate state aerospace agency and address the challenges associated with development of this field.
Dear members of parliament! Dear deputies of regional and district councils! Based on advanced international experience we must define legal notions of “living wage” and “consumption basket” for determining necessary income required for adequate living standard of citizens, and establish mechanisms for their practical implementation. In the meantime, practical measures will be taken to gradually increase real incomes of the population, wages, scholarships, pensions and social allowances as well.
Despite our recent efforts in the sphere of human health protection, unfortunately, there are still many challenges remaining at local level.
Taking this into consideration, we will consistently continue our work on providing accessible, quality and modern medical care for the population of the regions, early detection of diseases.
In this regard, we should adapt to our conditions the concepts of “Smart Medicine” and “SingleMedical Information Center” that provide remote medical prevention.
At the same time, we will intensify our efforts to attract foreign investors to foster development of private medicine and to ensure permanent employment of foreign specialists in the country.
It is an open secret that supplying the population with medicines is one of the topical issues that people face. In order to address this issue in the near future, we will put into operation 2 thousand social pharmacies, which can provide the population with medicines at low prices.
Today it is an imperative to thoroughly analyze services of screening centers, which play an important role in protecting health of mothers and children. In 2018 we plan to establish inter-district perinatal centers on the basis of 46 district and municipal medical associations.
They will be equipped with modern medical equipment, highly qualified personnel. Moreover, it is foreseen to establish modern diagnostic laboratories for
early detection and prevention of diseases in rural health centers, based on latest medical science achievements.
One of the most important outcomes of the reforms undertaken throughout this year is undoubtedly complete elimination of child labor and forced labor in our country.
It is noteworthy that such positive changes were recognized by the International Labor Organization and other agencies.
In order to continue our efforts on upbringing healthy and harmonious younger generation, we adopted the new law “On State Youth Policy”. On its basis, we introduce new practical approaches in this sphere.
When speak about youth, I always think of one thing. Today, many young people are studying and working abroad. Of course, there are many of them who
found their way living in a foreign land not less than anyone else. But, missing homeland is painful for everyone.
That is why we need to keep in touch with them, protect their rights and interests, and enhance the work on supporting those who want to return to our country.
To this end, we should establish the International Association of Youth of Uzbekistan and create necessary conditions for its effective functioning.
It is reasonable that young people should be in constant contact with persons of their age abroad in the fields of science, culture, business, sports and others. This creates a great opportunity for them to demonstrate their capacities globally.
Therefore, it is planned to hold the Central Asian Youth Forum next year in Samarkand. We will continue to focus our attention on deeper teaching of English and other foreign languages as priority.
At the same time, we will strengthen our work on training and professional development in those specialties required for us.
Speaking about this, we should not say enough about the upbringing of mature people who are worthy successors of our great forefathers. Nevertheless, we have no right to forget about the riches of intellectual and cultural potential, and to educate and educate rare talent.
It is true that developed countries have come to this level of development.
Unfortunately, some scholars in our country who have great scientific potential are among the most talented young people in the world.
The more Uzbeks today are serving in large foreign companies and banks, prominent universities and international organizations.
During my visits to foreign countries, I personally met and talked with dozens of fellow countrymen. Our foreigners are provided with the necessary conditions for the provision of consular services and other services, their accession to the country, and the development of our country. We will further expand these efforts in the future.
In this regard, I propose to develop a concept of public policy in the field of cooperation with our compatriots living and working abroad.
Deputies and senators!
We all know that global economic competition, information attacks and terrorist threats are gaining momentum. It is crucial to ensure close cooperation
between government, religious organizations and non-governmental organizations to protect our people, our youth from aggression aimed at masking our sacred religion, and committing various acts of conspiracy and corruption.
Therefore, in every province, we have to increase the responsibility of the deputy hokims and all the independent institutions directly involved in religious affairs. We need to further improve the work on social rehabilitation of citizens who have been misled by the ideas of extremism and return them to a healthy life.
In order to prevent aggressive ideas disseminated through information resources, special units should be established within law enforcement agencies.
In our society, interfaith solidarity and we consider it as the most urgent and noble duty. For this purpose, we have the work of religious organizations in our
It is important to note that the organizational structure of the defense system of the country, its military-combat situation, the level of spiritual and spiritual
training of soldiers and officers are far behind the requirements of today’s rapidly changing period.
In the short run, concrete steps have been taken to reform the national army, and the radical change of the image of the Armed Forces has started.
The newly-reaffirmed Doctrine of Doctrine plays an important role.
This doctrine defines the principle of openness of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy, the development of friendly and practical relations with close neighbors.
It is clearly defined as the priority task of strengthening the independence and sovereignty of our state.
Taking into consideration the peculiarity of the geo-strategic location of our country, as well as the military-political situation in the region, the tasks and structures of the Armed Forces have been revised.
The National Guard has been set up, and complex measures are being taken to provide the army with new weapons and modern military equipment. The State Committee for Defense Industry was established.
The Academy of Armed Forces has undergone a radical reorganization on the basis of systemic changes in military training. A great deal of work on social
protection of servicemen, their families and veterans is underway.
Speaking of this, it is worth noting that 56 multi-storey houses are being built for military personnel.
New approaches have been introduced to the housing sector, including long-term, preferential mortgages. At the same time, we are well aware that in the field of defense we have new and important tasks.
First of all, the concept of the National Security Concept and the Defense Doctrine. We need to do much more to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the trunks.
We need to adopt a State Program to form and develop defense-industrial complex to further strengthen our defense capability, and increase the combat capability and capabilities of the Armed Forces, as well as the Defense Forces to provide the Armed Forces with modern weapons and military equipment.
In accordance with the Strategy of Action adopted in our country, we consistently pursue the policy of comprehensive development of the friendly and
mutually beneficial cooperation with the neighboring countries, primarily neighboring countries and international structures in the foreign policy area.
We take the necessary measures to timely and qualitatively implement the agreements and agreements concluded with all foreign states and international organizations of the Republic ofUzbekistan.
I would like to take this opportunity to express sincere gratitude to the representatives of international organizations, ambassadors of foreign countries supporting the reforms being carried out in our country.
Dear and esteemed compatriots!
The plans and projects described in the Message will undoubtedly contribute to the development of our country, the welfare of our people to a new, higher level. At the same time, we all well understand that we have to create the appropriate legal framework and mechanisms for the full and effective implementation of these priorities.
Therefore, Prime Minister A.Aripov, State Advisers U.Ismoilov, O.Murodov are all interested in the implementation of priority tasks, which come from this Appendix by all state and economic management bodies, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, regional, Tashkent city, to develop and approve complex measures until 10 January 2018.
Of course, 2018 will not be easy for us, which will be a crucial stage in implementing the goals and objectives stated in the application.
I must say this clearly. But, in the words of our people, when it comes to water, it is important for us not to abandon the chosen path, even if it comes to the stone. Because in this life, nothing happens spontaneously. If we do not act on our own, no one will help us indefinitely.
All of us should understand and understand the truth: today we talk about the fate and future of our people, our Homeland, the happiness and prosperity
of our dear children.
We have to mobilize our intellect, knowledge and experience, our children’s love and devotion to our Homeland.
If we do not deceive ourselves, if we do not deceive ourselves, I am sure that we will work honestly, I really believe in all our goals.
I am convinced that this is a strong will and creative potential of our noble people, who have gone through many trials first and foremost.
I wish you all strength, energy, happiness and prosperity on the path to achieving our goals.