July 18, 2014
Cabinet of Ministers convenes for session
Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan convened for a session on July 16, 2014, to summarize the outcomes of the socio-economic development of the nation for the first half of the current year and work out additional measures to secure the realization of dimensions and critical priorities in the economic program for the year 2014 outlined by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov Tashkent at the government meeting that took place on January 17.
The session participants comprehensively deliberated on and thoroughly analyzed the major macroeconomic indicators of the country’s development along with the effectiveness of measures taken to implement the strategy of modernization, diversification and amplification of the competitiveness of the economy, primarily owing to the further perfection of the investment and business climate, acceleration of the execution of adopted programs of modernization, technical and technological re-equipment of the economy’s leading industries, boosting the financial stability of the enterprises in the manufacturing sector of the economy, as well as the steadfast elevation of the wellbeing, standards and quality of life of the population.
It was noted that thanks to the consistent and goal-oriented realization of the most vital dimensions and priorities of the program of socio-economic development of the country, mobilization of the available sources of growth, notwithstanding the increasing risks and controversies in the evolution of the global economy, Uzbekistan has been securing the macroeconomic stability and sustained high growth rates in its economy. As the figures of the first half of the current year indicate, the GDP has grown by 8.1 percent; the volumes of manufactured industrial products have increased by 8.1 percent, of construction works by 17.4 percent. The National Budget has been executed with a surplus of 0.1 percent of the GDP. The inflation rates have not exceeded the forecast parameters.
Keeping with the implementation of measures to stimulate the domestic demand, to cardinally bolster the production of consumer goods and the advanced development of the services sector have helped ensure growth in the volumes of manufactured consumer products by 10.8 percent, of retail turnover by 13.7 percent and paid services by 9.7 percent. The share of services sector in the gross domestic product has increased to reach 52.7 percent, in contrast to the 52.4 percent in the first half of the year 2013.
The efforts being undertaken to encourage the export potential and support the exporter enterprises, to engage in the export activities of those enterprises who have never been exporters of their goods, have allowed to ensure enlargement in the volumes of exports by 8 percent and secure a considerable surplus in foreign trade.
The agricultural sector of the country has been advancing with dynamic rates. Energetic have been the measures taken to refine the rural areas and create comfortable living conditions for the rural population. The growth in agricultural production volumes has been ensured at 6.9 percent. A record volume of grain yield – more than 8 million tons – has been cultivated and harvested. In new rural quarters of housing construction, 4,486 individual standard-design homes out of the projected 11,000 for the year 2014 have been commissioned for use.
Owing to the systemic implementation of the annual program to create new jobs and uplift the employment of the population, 506.4 thousand new jobs have been created since the start of the year, more than 303.2 thousand of which – or 59.9 percent – have been opened in rural areas.
As part of the National Program “Year of the Healthy Child”, endeavors are in progress to guarantee the protection of maternity and childhood, to boost the quality of education, to provide for an extensive engagement of the youth in sports and raise their physical culture, funding for which was carried out from all the sources, with 3.1 trillion soums assigned for these objectives. (Currency rates of CB from 18.07.2014 1$= 2324.10 soums)
At the Cabinet meeting, the heads of ministries and other government agencies, management associations and local bodies of the executive have been tasked with the elaboration and realization of a complex of additional measures to secure the achievement of all the principal macroeconomic indicators established for the year 2014 and forecast parameters of the adopted integrated programs in the development of economic sectors and regions of the country.
During the discussion of issues on the session agenda, a particular significance was attached to the detailed analysis of the productivity and effectiveness of the implementation of roadmaps intended for a financial rehabilitation of unprofitable, economically abortive and low-profit enterprises. The roadmaps were elaborated in accordance with assignments and tasks defined by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the government session on January 17, 2014.
It was stressed that owing to the active realization of approved roadmaps for the financial improvement of 144 unprofitable, economically abortive and low-profit enterprises, 109 of such ventures have been helped out of the unprofitability and financial instability. Goods produced and services rendered at the enterprises being restructured reached a total of 3.1 trillion soums, including the exported products worth around 118 million US dollars. 1,330 units of obsolete equipment have been upgraded at major industrial enterprises, and the cost price of the produced goods has been decreased by an average of 8.9 percent.
During the deliberations, leaders of a number of companies, major enterprises and regional hokimiyats (administrations) have been tasked with concrete objectives to secure – at a worthwhile level – the organization and oversight of the timely and effective implementation of approved measures dedicated for the financial rehabilitation of unprofitable, economically abortive and low-profit enterprises. Additional measures have been worked out to further improve the state of mutual settlement of accounts among enterprises, to cardinally reduce their accounts receivable and payable.
The meeting participants carried out a comprehensive and profound analysis of the state of affairs in securing the commissioning of critical initial startup facilities projected for the year 2014 as part of the adopted programs of modernization, technical and technological renewal of the sectors of manufacturing industry. It was stressed that the dynamic investment policy being pursued and measures being taken to accelerate the commissioning of crucial high-tech and modern facilities and production capacities, to enhance the processes of modernization, technical and technological renewal of sectors and spheres of economy have facilitated the growth in the volumes of drawn investments by 10.8 percent, including direct foreign investments by 28.8 percent. From the start of the current year, the implementation of 64 projects totaling 680 million dollars included in the 2014 Investment Program has been complete. 1,651 new production facilities have been commissioned.
The attention of the heads of ministries, other government agencies, economic associations, enterprises and local bodies of the executive branch has been drawn to the necessity of adopting practical measures that provide for the acceleration in the realization of investment projects to establish new high-technological production capacities, modernization, technical and technological re-equipment of enterprises, construction and reconstruction of infrastructure and social facilities. In addition, key issues and organization measures were defined to elaborate a draft investment program for the next year, with securing its correlation with the approved mid-term integrated programs for the development of the regions of the country, sectors and segments of the economy.
A thorough attention was paid at the session to the critical analysis of the course of realization of adopted policy measures to perfect the investment climate and business environment. It was pointed out in particular that in accordance with the normative acts adopted by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan in April, 22 licensing procedures have been canceled, while the time frames of official registration of 21 licensing procedures have been reduced 2.1 times. So have been the sizes of fees when registering licenses and documents of licensing nature in 11 types of activities by an average of fourfold. Procedures in the official registration of 31 licensing tracks have been simplified owing to the abolition of extra requirements for the presentation of documents or the endorsement from authorized bodies. The transition of the most popular 23 types of public services into the interactive form through the internet is projected to be complete by the end of the year.
For the startup of minor production capacities, 86 government assets for a total sum of 25.5 billion soums have been sold to small business and private entrepreneurship entities, while 19.4 thousand unused facilities of government property have been rented. Banks have provided loans worth 4.8 trillion soums, or 1.3 times as much as it was the case in the first half of the year 2013. The improvement of the business environment has to a considerable extent helped secure a substantial increase in the contribution of entrepreneurship to the growth in the gross domestic product of the country and the stability of the national economy, solution of issues in the employment and the elevation of the material wellbeing of the population, especially in rural areas. The measures taken have ensured the growth in the share of small business in the manufacturing industry from 27 to 28.4 percent and the employment rates from 75.8 to 76.4 percent.
The heads of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, hokimiyats of regions and the city of Tashkent, of the Ministry of Economy, the State Committee for Architectural Construction “Davarkhitektqurilish”, the “Yergeodezkadastr” State Committee and the State Committee for the Promotion of Competition have been assigned to adopt a complex of measures directed at accelerating the dislocation of entrepreneurship entities in minor industrial zones being created at the base of released lands of facilities of government property, for the organization of new production capacities in them, of public services facilities with the adoption of investment commitments to create new jobs in accordance with the 2 July 2014 Resolution of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on additional measures to sell the facilities of government property to entities of small business and private entrepreneurship.
To discuss issues on the session agenda, heads of ministries and other government agencies, economic associations, major enterprises of the nation and regional hokimiyats delivered reports. Following the discussion of issues included in the agenda of the government of the country, corresponding decisions have been adopted defining concrete actions directed at the unconditional provision for the realization of vital priorities in the program of socio-economic development of the nation for 2014.
A new cement works is to be constructed in Tashkent Region. It is going to use a unique energy-efficient and environment-sparing technology.
The new plant is to be built on the site of the operating joint-stock company Ohangaronsement, one of the leaders of the country’s cement manufacturers and an entity of the holding company EUROCEMENT Group, one of the world’s ten largest cement suppliers.
Under a $218-million agreement, China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd. is to design the works, supply and install the machinery and equipment for it and train its personnel. The new technology to be used at the works will allow for increasing its capacity and energy efficiency by 3.5 times and twice, respectively. Besides, it will be less harmful to the environment. The capacity of the new mill will be 2.4 million tons of cement annually. The facility is to start operation in 2016.
“The transition to the new technological platform is going to be made without stopping the operating production lines. The project of the new works to produce cement through the use of ‘dry’ method will allow for substantial improvement of the environmental situation in the area. The new plant is going to supply high-quality cement for the implementation of important housing and infrastructure construction projects in Uzbekistan,” said Mikhail Skorokhod, President of EUROCEMENT Group.
In March 2014, a new mill to produce portland cement and white cement started operation in Jizzah Region. The capacity of the works is 760,000 tons of portland cement and 350,000 tons of white cement annually. Over 70% of its cement production is to be exported. The works were constructed on a turnkey basis by the Turkish company DAL TEKNIK MAKINA.
(Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)
Public Transportation Digital Update
In the near future, Tashkent public transportation system is going to equal its counterparts in the world’s largest metropolises in terms of modern technology application. Currently, Tashkent public transportation joint stock company Toshshahartranskhizmat is carrying out a number of interesting projects with regard to this.
One of the most appealing projects carried out by Toshshahartranskhizmat is setting up an electronic payment system integrating universal transportation cards (contactless smart-cards) in the capital’s public transportation vehicles. Today, such systems are being successfully used by public transportation services in many European cities. In order to pay their fares, passengers just place their smart cards close to the validators mounted in the vehicles or carried by the fare inspectors.
Toshshahartranskhizmat decided to test such a system in Tashkent metro first, and has already invited bids for the project design and feasibility study of it. While it is still in prospect, a project of setting up on-line monitoring of Tashkent public transportation vehicles movement has already being implemented. According to the company, this system covers 134 buses of 13 bus routes and 12 microbuses. The software and hardware of the system allow for monitoring the locations and speeds of the vehicles and read them on the map. It also provides voice and text communication of the route operation control officers and drivers when the speed and interval patterns must be corrected, or accidents must be handled. Until the end of the current year, the system is to be integrated into all the city’s public transportation routes.
(Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)
High in the remote mountains of Baisun District of Surkhandarya Region between the towns of Sayrob and Derbent, the unique Uzundara Fortress, which still remains virtually unexplored, is located. A thorough study of the archaeological monument began last fall. The first finds at the site allowed for reconstruction of some of the past events.
The research is conducted under the International Tokharistan Archaeological Expedition of the Institute of Art Criticism under the supervision of academician Edward Rtveladze. Participating in the work at the site were also experts of the Central Asian Bactrian Squad of the Archaeological Expedition of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, led by Nigora Dvurechenskaya.
“The monument has long remained unexplored as it located in a remote mountainous area. It was not easy to get to it,” said Alexey Gorin, a senior researcher at the Institute of Art and a member of the expedition. “But the game was worth the candle. The uniqueness of the archaeological site is that it has one cultural layer: in this area, people lived only in the period the fortress was used. During the first two expeditions, we collected material we can use to reconstruct some of the events that took place there in 230-185 BCE.
Among the first trophies of the archaeologists are lead sheets and square nails, arrowheads, fragments of architectural decoration, coins and a host of other things. Of all the finds, the eight Greco-Bactrian coins have already been thoroughly studied. Alex Gorin, one of the country’s leading experts in the field of numismatics, also said, “Six coins of the same denomination dating back to the period of king Evtidema, called dihalki, were found during the excavation. Another coin belongs to the same period of 230-200 BCE. Judging by a hole in it, it was used as a medallion. The sloping shape of coins is peculiar to the mint in Bactria under the Seleucids and Diodotus. Euthydemus was the last one who minted such coins. The eighth coin dates from the reign of Demetrius in 200 – 185 BCE.
The archeologists lead by Edward Rtveladze discovered the remains of the walls of the Kushan period. They were built to protect the most vulnerable section of the border in the area of the Iron Gate (near the modern village of Derbent). Somewhat later, it was suggested that there were walls dating back to Greek and Bactrian period. In 1990, in the course of the excavations S. Rakhmanov of the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences and other scholars discovered a wall built of stone at the site. It closes the passage between the two mountain ranges Susiztag and Sarimas. According to Edward Rtveladze, the whole system of fortifications of Kurganzol, Uzundara, and Kapchigay blocked mountain roads there during the reign of Euthydemus.
Uzundara Gorge, located to the south-west of Derbent wall, provides a narrow, winding and long passage allowing to go past the fortification wall. That was why, on the eastern slope of the highland Suzitag, another wall with the adjacent castle was erected. The topography of the finds prove the fact that these construction took place during the reign of Euthydemus. All the coins were discovered at the site where the stone collapsed, in the northeastern part of the fortress. Hiding coins in walls was regular in ancient times. As it was already mentioned, one of the coins found in Uzundara comes from the late copper coinage emissions of Euthydemus. One may therefore assume that the construction of the wall near the Iron Gate and the fortress on the edge of the gorge Uzundara occurred in those times. As the topography of the Demetrius coin shows, it was in the layer of the final life stage of the settlement there.
Whether these findings are correct, future excavations and study of the finds will show.
(Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)