May 6, 2015
Uzbekistan directed 164.1 billion soums to development of road and transport infrastructure in the first quarter of 2015 (currency rates of CB RU from 06.05.2015 1$= 2517.80 soums).
According to the Ministry of Economy and the State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan, over 164.1 billion soums were used to construction and reconstruction of automobile roads, which are part of the Uzbek national highway in January-March 2015.
About 72.5 billion soums were directed due to resources of the Republican Road Fund and US$37.7 million of foreign loans under the guarantee of the Government of Uzbekistan were directed to road construction.
Uzbekiston Temir Yollari used investments for US$140 million to development and modernization of railway infrastructure. In particular, the company used US$8.6 million to project on electrification of railroad Maraqand-Qarshi and US$4.1 million to project on electrification of railroad Qarshi-Termez, as well as US$92.4 million to project on construction of new railroad line Angren-Pap.
The Uzbek railway company rehabilitated 44 km of railroads, produced 72 cargo and 3 passenger wagons.
(Source: UzDaily.com )
Despite the negative trends in the global economy, the domestic real sector and investment policies keep showing a positive trend. In the first quarter of 2015 the volume of industrial production increased by 7.9%, GDP – by 7.5%. 53 new investment projects totaling $4.8 billion have been launched.
The statistics was announced at a government session in Tashkent. Economists estimate that the national budget was executed with a surplus of 0.1% of GDP. Inflation did not exceed the estimates. The measures on the full support of domestic manufacturers of consumer goods and a balanced stimulation of domestic demand have contributed to an increase in production of consumer goods by 11.2%, retail trade – by 15.2% and services – by 13.1%.
The participants reviewed the progress of major programs and investment projects aimed at structural changes, modernization and diversification of industrial production, enhancement of localization of production of finished goods, components and materials. The ongoing active investment policy and accelerated process of modernization, technical and technological extension of industrial production and creation of developed infrastructure have contributed to the growth of investments by 8.7%, including foreign direct investment – by 10%. 53 projects worth over $4.8 billion have been launched under the Investment Program for 2015. The manufacture of more than 430 new types of localized products has been launched. The growth of investment activity has contributed to the increase of contract construction works by 18.9%.
Experts dwelled on the future prospects of the domestic economy. Approved in February and March, the industrial production and transport infrastructure development programs are expected to become a strong foundation for future economic growth, enhancement of structural transformations and diversification of production, bringing major industries to a new level of development, and building of up-to-date developed infrastructure.
Assigned for 2015-2019, the programs will give way to implementation of 846 projects on modernization, technical and technological extension of production totaling $40.8 billion, 141 projects aimed at the construction and development of engineering and communication and road infrastructure worth $9.8 billion, as well as 602 projects on localization of production worth $5 billion, as well as the launch of manufacture of 1,200 new products.
The participants thoroughly reviewed the progress of programs on building the industrial capacity in the regions, integrated development of road transportation, engineering, communications and social infrastructure there. 434 new production facilities have been commissioned since the beginning of the year as part of the regional programs of socio-economic development. 169 km of water and 54 km of gas networks, and 1.3 million square meters of housing have been built in the countryside. The construction of 12,000 individual standard design houses with all related engineering, communication and social infrastructure has been underway.
The discussion of the measures on the increase of the scale and expansion of the range of export products, enhancement of product competitiveness in foreign markets and diversification of exports were central points at the session. Despite the growing unpredictability and volatility of the world markets, the implementation of systemic measures on stimulation of export enterprises and support in the promotion of their products to foreign markets has ensured the growth in exports by 13.9% and a positive trade balance. Since the beginning of 2015, 146 new enterprises have been involved in export activity, and 102 new kinds of products have been exported.
Small business and private entrepreneurship was in the spotlight as the major locomotive of the national economy. The ongoing system-based measures have contributed to the establishment of over eight thousand new small businesses in the first quarter of 2015, which is 10.2% more YOY. Banks have allocated 2.8 trillion soums of loans to small businesses, which is 1.3 times more YOY. 55 state assets worth 28.3 billion soums were sold to private owners, of which 13 operands were sold to investors at zero redemption value under the condition of adopting obligations on investing 9.7 billion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 06.05.2015 1$= 2517.80 soums).
New jobs rank among the major indicators of success in any economic model. More than 141,000 new jobs have been established in the first three months of 2015, of which over 88,000 jobs, or 62.6% were created in rural areas.
The implementation of measures under the national program The Year of Attention and Care for the Senior Generation has entered its active phase aiming at rendering proper attention and all-round support to older people, improving the quality of health and social services, which is funded by nearly 593 billion soums from all sources.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
On April 30, the regular meeting of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan was held.
Deputies considered a number of draft laws aimed at deepening reforms in various spheres of public life of the country. The issues included in the agenda of the meeting of the lower house of parliament, had previously been discussed at meetings of factions of political parties and the deputy group of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan. Deputies paid particular attention to the draft Law “On introducing amendments to the Law “On state government at places”.
A number of amendments introduced to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan serve to further democratization of the system of state government and administration, ensure the phased implementation of the principle “From a strong state – to a strong civil society”, the expansion of the role, rights and responsibilities of parliament in the system of state governing bodies, strengthening the control functions of the representative authorities.
In accordance with amendments to the Constitution of the country, the responsibility of the executive authorities, khokims before the representative bodies has enhanced. Thus, the Article 103 of the Basic Law is supplemented with norms establishing obligation of regional, district and city khokims to represent corresponding Kengash (Council) of people’s deputies of the reports on the most important and actual issues of socio-economic development of the region, district and city.
In order to create mechanisms for the implementation of these democratic norms included in the Constitution of the country, the Law “On state government at places” is complemented by the new Article 251, according to which regional, district and city khokims represent an appropriate Kengash of people’s deputies the reports on the most important and actual issues of socio-economic development region, district, city at a meeting dedicated to the socio-economic development of the region for the previous year and the most important priorities of socio-economic program for the current year. It is envisaged that discussions on the reports of khokims will be conducted taking into account assessments and targets set at the meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers, as well as the higher Kengashes of people’s deputies.
– As it is known, each January, a session of the Cabinet of Ministers, which provides a detailed assessment of the Government, khokims of regions and the city of Tashkent on the results of the previous year, and determine the most important priorities of socio-economic development of the country for the coming year is held. Then, similar sessions are conducted at places. This practice has shown its effectiveness and allows ensuring the systematic analysis, constant control over the progress of priorities and strategy of the state. Based on the requirements of the Constitution, amendments introduced in this Law provide discussion of reports of khokims at appropriate meetings held in the regions, districts, cities, – says member of the faction of the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businessmen – Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan K.Ernazarov. – It serves to ensure systematic in considering important issues of socio-economic development of the regions, elimination of duplication in representing reports of khokims, organizing effective discussion taking into account ratings determined by higher authorities, and ultimately enhancing the role of representative bodies at places.
– We believe that hearing of reports of khokims by Kengashes of people’s deputies at appropriate meetings dedicated to the results of socio-economic development of the regions for the past year and priorities of next year will justify itself in practice, – says member of the faction of Democratic party of Uzbekistan “Milliy tiklanish” M.Khusanova. – The introduction of amendments to the Law gives opportunities to deputies of the Legislative Chamber and members of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis to participate in the meetings of the Kengashes of people’s deputies, which serve to their more democratic conduction and increasing responsibility of khokims and the deputies themselves.
– Another feature of the draft law lies in the fact that following the discussion, the decision of the Kengash of people’s deputies, which provides a comprehensive assessment of the efficiency of activities of khokims and executive authorities at places, provides recommendations and suggestions for the improvement of their work, as well as measures on ensuring control over the implementation of the decision will be taken, – says representative of the faction of People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan F.Eshmatova.
– Requirement on mandatory publication of decisions of the Kengashes of people’s deputies and reports of khokims in official publications and on the websites of state governing bodies that are provided in the draft law will ensure openness and transparency in the activities of state governing bodies at places, – said member of the faction of Adolat Social Democratic Party of Uzbekistan Y.Kholyorov.
The adoption of this law will provide strengthening control functions of representative bodies at places, increasing responsibility of local executive authorities in implementing tasks of socio-economic development of the country. Its implementation in practice will effectively address challenges facing the public authorities at places, successful implementation of socio-political, socio-economic reforms, and ultimately protect the interests and welfare of every citizen of society.
Following the discussion, the draft law was adopted by deputies in the first reading.
The deputies considered other issues relating to the powers of the Legislative Chamber.
(Source: Information Service of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan )
State joint stock company Uzbekenergo will construct a new thermal power station with the capacity of 900 megawatt in Syrdarya region in 2016-2018.
The press service of Uzbekenergo said to UzDaily that the company started to develop a project of the station. The project envisages construction of two combined-cycle plants with the capacity of 450 megawatts each.
The preliminary cost of the project is US$910 million, including foreign loans for US$500 million. Construction of new thermal power station will be constructed within the strategy of Uzbekenergo on development of electricity power industry in Uzbekistan for 2015-2019.
Currently, Syrdarya thermal power station, a largest thermal power station in Central Asia, works in the region. It was constructed in 1981 with set capacities of 3,000 megawatt (10 energy blocks with the capacity of 300 megawatt each).
Annually, the station provides 16 billion KWH of electricity to the united energy system of Uzbekistan, which makes up 32% from total electricity production in Uzbekistan.
In December 2014, Russian company Siloviyi Mashini completed modernization of Syrdarya thermal power station. Within the project, two energy blocks with the capacity of 300 megawatt each were reconstructed. The project with total cost of US$60.2 million were financed due to loan of Agrobank and own resources of Uzbekenergo.
(Source: UzDaily.com )
The international conference on ‘The Role of Trade Unions in Ensuring Citizens’ Rights for Decent Working Conditions: the Experience of Uzbekistan’ in Tashkent has proved a successful presentation of accomplishments of Uzbekistan in this direction.
THE FORUM WAS ORGANIZED by the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan. It brought together the delegations of the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Labour Organization, heads of Uzbek missions in UNDP, EU, OSCE, UNICEF, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, members of the parliament, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, international experts from Germany, France, Denmark, China, Russia, Lithuania, Moldova and other countries.
The Uzbek side detailed the guests on the state policy in the field of social and labor relations, creation of decent working conditions, active involvement of trade unions in this process with the focus on the protection of the socio-economic interests and labor rights of workers and their families.
Enshrined in the Constitution and laws, basic workers’ rights fully comply with international labor standards, and in many respects even surpass them, noted the forum participants. There are specific benefits and guarantees in providing employment and creating appropriate conditions for workers.
In recent years, about 60% of expenditures of the national budget have been channeled to social sector. Large-scale measures on raising the level and quality of life and providing workers with decent salary and safe working conditions have been underway. The country has accrued a considerable experience in the development of social and labor institutions. Much has been done to streamline the labor law and pension system, and regulate the labor market.
Uzbekistan has been successfully extending social security system to fully meet the priorities. For instance, the state social insurance covers all employees. There are cash payments or services for sickness, maternity and old-age pension, disability and survivor benefits. Specific measures are being taken to stimulate the demand for labor, and create stable jobs.
The authorities have been effectively developing small businesses, farming, home-based work, handicrafts, services, supporting livestock production in private farms and establishment of agricultural companies in rural areas, concurrently eliminating all barriers to the development of private enterprise, and cutting the presence of the government in the economy and other areas. All these measures have been scaling-up employment, and mitigating the stratification of the population by income level.
Trade unions are essential in terms of guaranteeing citizens’ rights at work. Incorporating over six million members in 14 branch unions, the Federation of Trade Unions has been pursuing a system-based policy in this direction. They contribute to the effective implementation of the ILO Decent Work Agenda.
The General Agreement between the Government, the Council of Federation of Trade Unions and the Chamber of Commerce and Trade on Socio-Economic Issues for 2014-2016 ensures decent working conditions for different categories of workers. It is a pillar for 90 branch and 14 regional agreements across the country, and more than 100,000 of collective employment agreements at enterprises, organizations and institutions. They cover the issues of employment promotion, protection and safety, legal and social protection of workers, benefits for specific categories of workers, compliance with ILO conventions.
Compensation of employees is an important issue. The average monthly wage at state enterprises and budget organizations has been steadily increasing.
The law envisages the mandatory fringe benefits for working at night and on the weekends, holidays and overtime. Workers of 32 districts, cities and certain enterprises in desert, arid or mountainous terrains receive regional premium benefits.
Trade unions tend to increase workers’ income through local acts, as today they receive some additional income through collective agreements. The policy of equal pay for work of equal value, and timely payment has been pursued under the legislation, national and international standards.
Trade unions of Uzbekistan have been increasingly focusing on protecting occupational safety and health, prevention of industrial accidents and occupational diseases. In this direction, trade unions have been working closely with social partners. For example, 6,000 enterprises and organizations were monitored last year to ensure safe working conditions for employees.
This year, Uzbekistan has elaborated a Program of Action to Improve Working Conditions and Safety in Uzbekistan for 2015-2016. An interdepartmental working group will analyze and submit specific proposals on the prevention of occupational injuries.
Legal protection of workers is essential as well. Over the past three years, trade unions have considered dozens thousands of citizens’ appeals. About 68% of them related to labor legislation, 28% – illegal actions of employers. In 2014, trade unions submitted hundreds of petitions to the courts and employers, thus restoring the rights of over 1,100 citizens.
EMPLOYMENT AND LABOR MARKET ISSUES have been a priority in many countries. The forum participants expressed keen interest in the experience of Uzbekistan in this field.
Creation of appropriate conditions for full employment was in the spotlight. Approximately one million jobs were created in the republic in 2014, including 60% in rural areas.
Uzbekistan has a large and rapidly growing labor capacity. The number of able-bodied persons in the country makes up 18 million people, or 62% of the population. The labor force annually increases by 2%.
Uzbekistan has been successfully implementing the annual Job Creation Program, which is approved at a joint meeting of the Legislative Chamber and Senate of Oliy Majlis. It has been implemented thanks to several main thrusts.
First of all, the program is driven by the accelerated development of small business and private entrepreneurship and creation of a favorable business environment, which provides over 350,000 new jobs every year. Home-based work and family businesses allow employing more than 220,000 people. Poultry, livestock, fish farming, bee-keeping in farming enterprises, as well as the greenhouses provide 140,000 new jobs.
Nearly 500,000 graduates of vocational colleges come to the country’s labor market every year, so Uzbekistan is taking special measures for their employment, including their assignment to a specific company for internship and subsequent employment. Public organizations and trade unions have been actively involved in this process.
Trade unions assist in the implementation of the above-mentioned measures through maintaining public control over the procedure of signing labor contracts and provision of newly hired graduates with special clothing and personal protective equipment, briefing on labor protection and safety measures and providing moral and financial support. Trade unions see it highly relevant that newly employed graduates are introduced to the terms of the collective agreement and attached to a skilled professional.
Trade unions also provide public monitoring over the implementation of the Job Creation Program. In case of revealed shortcomings at a business entity or organization, trade unions make a submission to the relevant authorities and employers.
In the follow up, Uzbekistan intends to expand productive employment by increasing the number of new high-paying jobs in small business and private entrepreneurship sector, farming, social and market infrastructure.
The currently increasing employment of human resources is seen as a factor of growth in income and living standards.
THE ISSUE OF SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP in the workplace triggered an interesting dialogue at the conference. In Uzbekistan, social partnership has been part of the ideology of effective social dialogue between the government, trade unions and employers, which allows achieving a balance of interests of all three parties on the basis of cooperation.
A strong social policy has paved the way for the development of new trend of social partnership of the state with representatives of all NGOs through the joint development and implementation of state social programs.
In September 2014, Uzbekistan adopted the Law ‘On social partnership’, which stipulates the interaction of state bodies with NGOs and other civil society institutions in the development and implementation of the socio-economic development programs. It chiefly focuses on social protection, support and increase of social involvement of the population.
The above-mentioned General Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers, the Council of Federation of Trade Unions and the Chamber of Commerce and trade is deemed the major document of social partnership in the labor sector at the national level. The document triggers a range of measures to ensure the creation of decent working conditions for different categories of workers. Under the agreement, the parties may enter into partnership relations at all levels with regard to streamlining legislation in labor, employment programs, prevention of injuries and diseases, social protection of employees, and others.
The general agreement has empowered signing of industry-specific, territorial agreements, and collective bargaining agreements at companies, organizations and institutions. Collective contractual relationships cover more than 98% of legal entities, employing trade union members in Uzbekistan. The rate is seen high both at the national level and in the international scale. They attach importance to social security, health and safety, protection of the corresponding rights, improvement of health of employees and their families. All collective bargaining acts comprise the elements like promotion of employment, decent wages, labor safety and security, legal and social protection of workers, benefits for certain categories of workers, compliance with ILO conventions.
5,500 young families received interest-free loans, more than 2,800 students paid contracts for education, about 190,000 workers improved their health at sanatoriums and health resorts last year through collective contracts and agreements. Under the Year of Attention and Care for the Senior Generation, these acts empower financial assistance to older workers, provide valuable retirement gifts, targeted support for retired employees of enterprises, and health improvement of labor veterans on the preferential basis.
Collective agreements at all levels are featured by the availability of sections and measures on strengthening social protection and ensuring employees’ rights for decent working conditions based on social partnership.
ALONG WITH PLENARY SESSIONS, the conference was held in four sections: ‘Promoting international labor standards and streamlining national legislation for implementation of the fundamental rights at work’, ‘Ensuring favorable and safe working conditions and expanding social protection’, ‘Enhancing the opportunities for decent employment and income’, ‘Social control and social partnership in the context of guaranteeing the rights to decent working conditions’.
The forum broadly demonstrated international experience in terms of creation of decent working conditions. First of all, representatives of international organizations clarified the idea itself, which is based on productive employment, rights at a workplace, social protection and social dialogue.
In their reports foreign participants brought up such points as ‘The role and place of trade unions in the implementation of social model in Denmark’, ‘Salaries and incentives in Germany’, ‘The experience of France in ensuring salary equality’, ‘National Tripartite Social Dialogue in Azerbaijan’, and others.
Conference participants highly commended the experience of Uzbekistan in ensuring labor rights of citizens, and effective involvement of trade unions in this process.
In the wake of the forum the participants approved the recommendations and proposals for the extension of the experience of Uzbekistan in creation of decent working conditions in companies and organizations, further streamlining of the activity of trade unions and partner organizations in this direction, the institutionalization of social dialogue, and establishment of public control.
As part of the international conference foreign guests were introduced to the specifics of trade unions at enterprises and institutions of the country, and visited historical cities of Samarkand and Khiva.
The Council of Federation of Trade Unions held a panel discussion on the occasion of the World Labor Protection Day.
As noted at the event, labor protection ranks among the priorities of trade union organizations of the country. Labor protection services have been established under territorial and industry specific trade union organizations to prevent employment injuries and occupational diseases, and strengthen employers’ liability in this regard.
Uzbekistan has made some progress in ensuring the observation of sanitary rules in workers’ associations, continuous operation of social facilities through collective agreements. Employees are provided with protective clothing and footwear, personal protective equipment, preventive nutrition.
The speakers pointed out that the cooperation of trade unions with employers, government organizations and NGOs has been contributing to strengthening of labor protection. The streamlined legal framework in the field has provided opportunities for addressing many issues through social partnership.
The panelists discussed the ways of enhancing prevention and occupational safety. They shared the related national and international experience.
The meetings on the occasion of the World Labor Protection Day were held in Karakalpakstan, regions and the Tashkent city, in the primary trade union organizations of the republic.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
The Uzbek capital has hosted not the first, but definitely the most colorful and attractive exhibition in the new season. The Uzbek international tourism exhibition ‘The World of Recreation’ has welcomed its visitors. The exhibition of vintage cars was the spotlight of it, the attraction for both residents of the capital and regions, and foreign guests.
No need to be an expert to see the obvious boost of tourism in Uzbekistan, as evidenced by the increasing inflow of foreign tourists in Tashkent, Samarkand, Khiva and other cities, as well as world-renowned hotel brands and tourism companies.
This year, the exhibition was represented by over 147 companies, including travel agencies, guest houses, hotels and hotel chains, airlines from 30 countries, among them Spain, Malaysia, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Switzerland, the Maldives and the Seychelles. The visitors could see the tourism potential of Uzbekistan, and explore a variety of services. Besides, the exhibition demonstrated the opportunities of ecotourism, sports tourism in Uzbekistan, folk crafts, as well as a fascinating photo exhibition.
“We are here for the first time to learn about the tourism infrastructure in Uzbekistan and present our services. Your country has a good capacity in the historic tourism. Also, you have great opportunities to promote the so-called active tourism – Charvak, Chimgan and Zaamin – there are few like places in the world. It stands to reason that the Tashkent region and its mountain resorts are called the ‘Central Asian Switzerland’,” said the Caribbean Resort Regional Deputy Director for Sales and Marketing Walid Haggag.
Fans of vintage and classic cars, glittering hoods and unique frameworks were invited to the exhibition of 20 unique vintage vehicles not younger than 60 years. Every exhibited vehicle has its long history, some were shot in the films and participated in photo shoots, and some transported well-known historical personalities. To date, all cars have been restored and repaired.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
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