President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev during his trip to Andijan province chaired a meeting in Ulugnor district Saturday. Highlights of his address to the meeting:
"The people are testing us, and they are testing real hard. The truth is that there is still fear among the people, about how far we could possibly go. They fear that everything [reforms] could be reversed."
"No one can deceive me, I am deaf for flatteries and lofty words, and I do not believe them. I come from the down. So, the first thing we have to do is to convince the people, to serve them honestly. This is a high trust. Whether we can live up to this trust is my biggest concern".
"The people's concern is that there are no jobs and they feel precarious about the future. I did not come here to lecture you. I came to look into your faces, to learn the true state of affairs. Let's not forget one thing: The people can no longer be deceived".
"Many of our fellow countrymen had to go abroad. It is because we were unable to provide them with work. And all the trouble comes from it".
"The Prosecutor General, [former Prosecutor General Rashid Kadyrov] and his entire team are now in prison. They are now cooperating and returning millions of dollars. In two or three months I will get them to speak on TV. Because he was corrupted, he received US$ 30-40 thousand in bribery from each district prosecutor. He's retruning all the money. One of his sons is a billionaire! You think the National Security Service did not know that he was an embezzler? They were his accomplices, five deputies of the NSS are also jailed. No matter how hard it may be, I will put everything in place."
"All those embezzlers own houses in the Baltic coast. If you look at the photographs [of hosues], I beg your pardon, even Amir Temur [Tamerlane], an outstanding conqueror, did not live in such luxury. Even the Sheikhs of the Emirates do not live in such luxurious houses. To whom does that money belong to, to the people. Who is Kadyrov? An embezzler, a thief. That’s why 70% of the prosecuting staff has been replaced, I have put honest people instead. Whoever commits similar crime wil share his [Kadyrov’s] fate."
"Frankly speaking, our economy is in a very bad shape, we are going through very hard times. If I could, I would have raised the salaries of schoolteachers by 10-fold. I worked in a university, and I know how hard it is. Our biggest mistake is that we have few quality school teachers. We now have 11 years of schooling but we don’t have old school teachers."
"We are lagging far behind in the field of education. We have built many colleges. Who needs a marble college in Kurgantepa, in the middle of nowhere? Instead we had to raise the pay of schoolteachers rather than build so many obsolete colleges. Now, we don’t need so many colleges."
"A year has elapsed since our previous meeting. I do not want your flag-waving the next year. We are injecting a lot of cash in Andijan. There are no large plants in Andijan, for example, there is a large oil refinery and a chemical plant in Ferghana. GM Uzbekistan has just a name, there is little benefit of it. If we had ten of such plants, then that would make a difference. Over the past 27 years, this plant has enjoyed plenty of privileges, tax exemptions, but the localization degree is modest. This plant does not provide the population with enough jobs."
"Therefore, we have to improve the living conditions in Andijan. Fisheries and poultry farming can be developed. For example, in Namangan, we set up fishing projects on the Norin River. We gave people the land along the river".
“Every family in Uzbekistan should engage in entrepreneurship. Using the example of the Andijan province. One or two plants would not be sufficient to provide enough jobs. people can make for living only through entrepreneurship, handicraft, poultry farming, fish farming. If we provide loans, the necessary equipment, train them how to use them, people will support themselves, they can arrange their own life, buy books for children, pay taxes, for electricity, and contribute to the budget. A year later, the invested funds will return double fold. This is how the the economy should work".
"US$ 8.5 billion worth of deals were signed with U.S. companies and the World Bank during my visit to the United States, and, a huge project worth US$ 1.5 billion will be signed within the next 10-15 days.
“At present Uzbekistan needs American technologies, because we do not have that advanced technologies here. Whether some people will like it or not, but American technologies require and facilitate order. Americans invest where there is no corruption, embezzlement amd theft. They do not invest in countries with risks and problems. Therefore, in Uzbekistan there had been no major U.S. investments.”
"I will bring back the executives who were dismissed falsely, because a human being has the right for a mistake. Many executives need to be ousted, but unfortunately we don’t have a pool of quality leaders. I need patriotic people. If a lieutenant is loyal to the country, I will make him chief of police department. He will show how one should work."
"The State Security Service will be rehabilitated, because there many honest patriotic officers. I will increase their pay, will make houses built for them. You should know one thing they [SSS] might not know what you dream about, but the rest they know it all. To this end, we are bringing equipment from abroad."