UZDIF proposed joint project financing in the process of privatization of major state-owned companies. At the 26th session of the Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council (UBTIC), held yesterday in the capital, the chief of the Uzbekistan Direct Investment Fund (UzDIF), Atabek Nazirov, made a keynote speech.
This part of the agenda naturally attracted the maximum attention of the participants, since the main topic of the forum this year was a large-scale privatization program of Uzbek major state-owned companies.
During the panel discussion, Atabek Nazirov emphasized that Uzbekistan was not only the most dynamically developing economy in the macroregion, but also one of the few truly stable countries - a key factor for investors in an era of global geopolitical turbulence. His remarks aroused keen interest on the part of the British guests.
“Why is UzDIF a natural choice for foreign partners? It's simple: we know our country, and moreover, we are ready to share the risks with you, which in itself is critically important in a period of rising capital costs. We are not a bureaucratic agency and we can make decisions quickly, while taking into account the best international practices and high standards,” Atabek Nazirov said.
The annual forum to discuss opportunities for promoting and growing bilateral trade and investment was established by the governments of Uzbekistan and the UK in 1994, but UBTIC has gained particular importance and weight only in recent years with the growth in trade between the two countries, which doubled in 2021, topping nearly US$ 500 million.
Opening the UBTIC plenary session, British Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Uzbekistan Timothy Tarlot said: “The turning point in relations between our countries was 2016, when President Shavkat Mirziyoyev initiated the reform process. Since then, Uzbekistan has been actively and effectively developing relations both with its neighbors and with other states. We very much hope that this political climate will be preserved and strive to support Uzbekistan in this.”
Uzbekistan became the first country admitted to the expanded scheme of the Generalized System of Preferences, which allows exporting most of the goods to the UK at zero import tariffs.
Commenting on the new approach to investing in the most successful companies of the country, Atabek Nazirov mentioned the British experience of the 1980s: “At one time, Margaret Thatcher gave UK citizens a chance almost overnight to become co-owners of privatized state-owned companies, allowing them to exchange trading and offering to participate in an IPO . Personally, I am very inspired by this example, since we can also provide an opportunity for our citizens to invest in shares of the largest national companies as part of an IPO on local and foreign stock markets. UZDIF is ready to take part in this process together with both local and foreign investors. I am confident that this will significantly strengthen our financial ecosystem.”