Today, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev addressed the 20th plenary session of the Senate. Highlights:
“Speaking about the Senate, we first and foremost understand the great force, which in practice embodies the political, legal and cultural level of the national parliament, and is the defender of the people's interests. A senator is the people’s representative, who is awarded his high confidence. We are all responsible before the society”.
“We must admit that women feel the people's concerns more deeply than men. If following the upcoming national parliamentary elections and local councils in December this year, there will be more industrious and educated women in the parliament, both the government and society will benefit from this”.
“Every day, for half an hour you must sit and reflect about who you are. Take off your ties, put aside the badge and go to the provinces. At least once a month, try to improve the districts. There are many areas where a lot should be improved. And the parliament must act to improve the things.
"We are considering taking away from mayors the role of the local deputies council chairman. This is aimed at giving more powers to the legislature and at promoting debate.”
“Do MPs have the potential to control the executive? Are they able to ask the right questions? This is a different issue. They are working in general terms, and are not making concrete proposals.“
“I am not happy that you are only capable of applauding and voting. In the early years of independence there were real debates in the parliament, now there is only silence. Give us proposals. You must convene at least once a month and check the implementation of legal acts. The Senate should not only verbally support the reforms, but also monitor the implementation.”
“The Senate is not collaborating with the Ministry of Finance. Local budgets are stacked up with problems. For example, for the development of the Tashkent province 1.5 billion US dollars are needed. This is only one province. Are there any companies that can contribute such sums? Where do I get this money from? Let the parliament also think about where to get the funds. There must be a strong legislature, whom the executive branch must respect. Call the ministers and question them about the problems.”
“In a society in which the prosecutor is a bribe taker, there will never be any improvements. The senior officials must be honest and conscientious. Nigmatilla Yuldoshev is a conscientious person, I trust him,”.
“I did however trust Otabek Murodov. The moment they get a high post, they start to take bribes straight away. His team was was taking bribes from provincial prosecutors and governors 50-100 thousand US dollars in bribes. All of the tax authorities and prosecutors are bribe takers. I know it well. All those arrested will get long sentences”.
“If we fail to eradicate corruption within the prosecution authorities, how do you think we will attract investors? Investors will not talk to deputies or government officials about the real situation in the country, they will talk to business people. What do you think the business people will tell them? They will say that the prosecutors and the ministers still take bribes”.
“If the things don’t change, I will cut the prosecution authorities staff, and will give more powers to the Ministry of Justice. Within 6 months, Nigmatilla Yuldashev should provide a concrete action plan to improve this system”.
“Why did we start opening branches of foreign universities? Because the situation in the higher education is terrible. Even if you superficially examine the educational system, there are many problems. We have not studied the problems deeply and in detail. The teacher cannot answer the students' questions. In foreign universities there is a specific system, they have teachers with knowledge”.
“In Tashkent, I spoke with a school principal. She told that there were many vacancies, but few applicants. She added that they were virtually hiring anyone who applied. In some schools pupils study in 3 shifts. These problems cannot be solved in 2-3 years. Over the many years we consciously made the people dumb. We worked with one method: the fewer the initiatives, the better. Please understand one thing, we can no longer live like we did yesterday”.
“Currently Uzbekistan is paying Lukoil US$ 146 for a thousand cubic meters of gas and sells it to the population for US$ 40. Due to the difference of US$ 100, a debt in the amount of US$ 600 million was formed”.
“Before the very signing of the production sharing agreement, the officials had to take into account national interests, but they did not.”
“Business people still do not trust the authorities. In Tashkent city alone, 50% of businesses are in the shadow economy. When will we get the system up and running?.
"Since independence, 50 percent of oil and gas projects have been arranged through bribes and kickbacks.”
“One senior government official received US$ 80 million in the Ustyurt Gas Chemical Project in Surgil! US$ 80 million! "
"If we had Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China route10 years ago, the car prices would be cut. Currently, in the automotive industry 70% of components are being imported. Had we had better ties with the neighbors, we wouldn't have the current logistical problems.
“The biggest challenge is to have a competitive economy. 70% of our goods are marketed to Russia.”
“75% of cotton fibre used to be exported. In a good year we would make US$ 1 billion 200 million from cotton exports, while on average US$ 800-900 million, not more.”
“Nobody suggested to process cotton locally. Now, we get over US$ 2 billion from ready-made garments exports.”