From the first years of independence, Uzbekistan has been attaching tremendous importance to the development of small business and private enterprise, and the provision of more freedom to entrepreneurship. 1
The Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan announced the poll closure in the presidential elections on 4 December 2016.
At 20.00 Tashkent time on 4 December the voting concluded at polling stations for the elections of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Voting is continuing at the polling stations, established at the missions of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Egypt, European countries and the US.
According to preliminary data, over 17 million 941 thousand voters took part in the elections, which constitute 87,83% of all registers voters, informed Chairman of the Central Election Commission M.Abdusalomov at the briefing for international observers, representatives of national and foreign mass media.
It was noted that the elections of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan were held transparently in compliance with the norms and principles, enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Law “On elections of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, “On guarantees of citizens’ right to vote”.
Our citizens demonstrated high political and civic activity. The fact that over 33 per cent of voters cast their votes before 11 o’clock is a vivid demonstration of this.
At present the votes for each candidate are being counted at polling stations. Over 37 thousand observers from political parties, international observers and representatives of mass media are taking part in counting the ballots.
No information has been received about the violations of the election law during the elections.
Preliminary results of the presidential elections will be announced at the briefing, schedules for 16.00 on 5 December. Missions of international observers will also hold press conferences on this day.
From the first years of independence, Uzbekistan has been attaching tremendous importance to the development of small business and private enterprise, and the provision of more freedom to entrepreneurship
In the last 5-6 years, the efforts on this front have seen greater impetus, in cooperation with international organizations in terms of implementation of best foreign practices. It has allowed to significantly reduce excessive licensing procedures for entrepreneurship, cut their terms and cost.
The close cooperation, established through video conferencing, exchange of comments and arrangement of direct meetings with experts, has better introduced international community to the reforms underway in Uzbekistan to improve the business environment.
Over the past four years, Uzbekistan has conducted a factor analysis of the business environment and introduced evaluation criteria and indicators that define the country’s rating, in accordance with the ‘Doing Business’ methodology of World Bank and its subsidiary International Finance Corporation.
Based on the results, experts prepared and implemented reforms to radically streamline the legislation in the key areas that are evaluated by the ‘Doing Business’ rating. As a result, the last World Bank report ‘Doing Business 2017: Assessing Quality and Performance of Regulation’ ranked Uzbekistan 87th. Experts scaled up the ranks of the republic in five out of the ten indicators of the report.
A significant progress was observed in company registration – an increase by 17 positions. This was achieved by the practical implementation of a simplified procedure of state registration in the Internet, and streamlined ‘one window’ system for registration of businesses.
It is worth noting that the recent measures have drastically simplified the procedures of opening business. Today, starting a business takes less time in Uzbekistan than, for example, in Switzerland – by 1.8 times, Germany – 1.9 times, Japan and Russia – 2 times, Israel – by 2,2 times, Greece and Spain – by 2.3 times, India – 4.7 times, China – 5.5 times, and Brazil – by 14.5 times.
Uzbekistan has significantly improved its rating in connection to electric grids (now in the 83rd position, 29 point increase) owing to the enhanced reliability of supply and transparency of electric energy tariffs.
Scaled reforms on introduction of modern technologies of corporate governance, strengthening of the role and rights of private shareholders have allowed to significantly raise the nation’s rating in the indicator ‘protection of minority investors’ (70th position, 18 point increase). The introduction of new regulations and mechanisms on strengthening the protection of minority investors by enhanced disclosure of information on joint stock companies, and specification of the structure of ownership of shared capital has contributed to the improvement of the rankings.
The country has also improved its rating in property registration (75th position, 12 points increase). The progress was conditioned by the launch of ‘single window’ public service centers for businesses since January 1, 2016, and a significant improvement in the system of electronic exchange of information between authorized authorities without the involvement of the applicants.
The reforms have significantly simplified the procedure and enhanced the transparency of land allocation, issuance of permits for construction, and registration of cadastral documentation. As a result, the latest report of the World Bank ranked Uzbekistan among 17 countries of the world to improve the quality of land administration in 2015-2016.
The report registered the level of tax burden at 38.1%, which is significantly lower than in Austria, Germany, Greece, India, Spain, Italy, China, Russia, USA, France, Czech Republic, Japan and some other countries.
Uzbekistan now ranks among the hundred countries in such areas as enterprise registration (the 25th position), execution of contracts (38th), loaning (44th), protection of minority shareholders (70th), property registration (75th) and connection to electric grids (83rd).
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
Uzbekistan and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) carry out a project on the production of socially responsible and environmentally sustainable cotton
The key objective of the project is to create a sustainable business model for Uzbekistan to cultivate the cotton that would meet the requirements of Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). Many well-known brands of knitted products like H&M, Levi’s, Adidas, Nike and others purchase raw cotton, which is grown to the BCI program aims at improving the methods of cotton cultivation, including the mitigation of the impact of cotton production on the environment and human health.
According to representatives of the International Finance Corporation, the use of the BCI methodology will enable the Uzbek farmers to increase the volumes of cotton, while reducing its cost, and allow textile producers strengthening their positions in the global market.
At present, over 54,000 farms are involved in the cultivation of the ‘white gold’ in Uzbekistan. Annually, they produce over 3 million tons of raw cotton. 33 out of 86 cotton-producing countries in the world annually harvest more than 100,000 tons of raw cotton, and only eight countries gather more than one million tons. In the last five years, Uzbekistan has been ranking the world’s sixth largest producer, and the fifth exporter of cotton fiber.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
Elaboration of a special government program for radical improvement of the higher education system has been underway in Uzbekistan
The scheme provides for bringing the educational standards in line with international ones, improvement of curricula and training syllabi, creation of a new generation of textbooks, including translations of foreign texts, as well as retraining of the faculty and teachers. 400 billion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 05.12.2016, 1$= 3176.16 soums) is going to be allocated from the state budget annually for reconstruction and outfitting of higher educational institutions with modern equipment.
There is still some time left, however, prior to completion of realization of the Program of modernization of the material and technical base of the higher educational institutions and radical improvement of the personnel training quality designed for the period 2011-2016. At the same time there is every reason to suggest that the first national program aimed at the development of higher education enabled to set up the basis, which will serve as a starting point for its further advancement.
One of the most important results of the development of the higher educational system over the past five years has been the creation of mechanisms and tools, which had put consolidation of the higher educational institutions’ material-technical base on a solid regular foundation. The fund for development of the higher educational institutions’ material-technical base makes up the heart of this mechanism. It’s worthwhile noting that in general the scope of work carried out during this period is much higher than was expected at the start of the program. In particular, the Fund has taken an active part in the reconstruction of the Uzbek State University of World Languages, the Tashkent State University of Law, and currently it finances the construction of facilities for the newly set up Tashkent State Institute of Dentistry.
Drastic changes have begun to be accomplished in the content of higher education. In the first place, the ministries and departments, the real sector of economy had informed the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education about the most needed specialists in the country. The higher educational institutions revised directions of education and professions, which they trained specialists in, with consideration of a five-year perspective. The results of this work proved to be quite tangible. Three universities, focused on the needs of the real sector of economy, had changed their profile, as a result of which emerged such educational institutions as the Andijon Machine Building Institute, Namangan and Bukhara Engineering and Technology Institutes.
Fitting out higher educational institutions has spiraled up into a qualitatively new level. Today all institutions of higher learning are linked up by a high-speed fiber-optic communication network, which allows carrying out events in the video conference format. Educational laboratories and such other sub-divisions are being re-equipped on a stage by stage basis.
With the unchanged total quota for applicants seeking the bachelor’s degree – about 57 thousand people, the higher educational institutions have commenced to train specialists in the fields of “Engineering, manufacturing and construction industry.” They made up 23% in total enrollment quota in the 2010/2011 academic year, while today they account for 36%. The enrollment indicators in “Education”, however, shrank from 31.1% down to 24.6%. It was a period of the second wave of cuts in the volume of training economists: the contingent of students trained in “Economics and business” departments decreased from 8.7% to 5.7%. The scope of training specialists in “Law” went down from 1.3% to 0.9% due to concentration of their training at the Tashkent State University of Law and the Karakalpak State University. Other areas of higher education also reduced their enrollment quotas from 35.5% to 32.7% in favor of technical education.
All this time the key question was: who train the students? Great attention has been paid to training personnel for higher educational institutions themselves. Updates happen with the arrival of young teachers to the classrooms; at the same time they too will have to be trained in accordance with the demands of the times. Therefore, a large scale reform of the system of retraining and qualification improvement of the faculty has been carried out in the Republic.
Courses aimed at raising the level of knowledge of foreign languages and information-communication technologies were organized for the purpose of prompt solution of the problem. The system of qualification improvement had also been reformed. Today attendance of qualification improvement courses once in three years is mandatory for every teacher.
The chief scientific-methodological center for retraining and qualification improvement of pedagogical, administrative and research personnel of the system of higher education is engaged in the methodological management of all the institutions of the system. The experts of the Center had carried out extensive work on the improvement of curricula and training plans and elaboration of scientific-research and methodological materials. There’s been introduced a system of strict control over the timely undergoing of refresher courses by every teacher.
Five regional and 16 branch centers deal with professional development of the faculty. The regional centers are functioning under the State Universities and engaged in qualification improvement of the faculty in general educational disciplines. The branch centers, as a rule, are set up under the industry higher educational institutions and involved in raising the faculty’s qualification in their professional subjects. Great attention in qualification improvement training is paid to the faculty’s continuous work on the improvement of their professional level, so that they keep themselves aware about the latest developments in science and technology. They are provided with educational literature and books, which are designed to turn into the desktop directories for them.
The process of deeper integration of education and science is not an incidental one. At a time when the leading professors are involved in the solution of science-intensive high-tech problems of development of our society, they master the most advanced information and, thus, their lectures and practical lessons are filled with information from the frontlines of advanced science and technology. Namely, this provides with an opportunity to train specialists ready to address the most pressing tasks.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
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