Saturday, 16, January, 2021

President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev yesterday delivered his address to the parliament at the Congress Hall, where he touched upon the tasks and policy reforms for the year 2021. Highlights:

Healthcare and assistance

“In a short time, medical institutions for almost 30 thousand beds were organized in Tashkent and the provinces. Over 200 thousand medical workers, including 150 foreign doctors and specialists, have been involved in the fight against the pandemic.”

“Over 600 thousand fellow countrymen have been returned to Uzbekistan from abroad. The necessary assistance was provided to over 100 thousand countrymen who found themselves in a difficult situation abroad. "

"To mitigate the consequences of the coronavirus, the state took a set of measures worth 82 trillion soums, including the creation of an Anti-Crisis Fund, to which 16 trillion soums were provided from the budget. Over 500 thousand state-owned enterprises and business entities, as well as almost 8 million citizens, received tax reliefs and saw their loans totaling 66 trillion soums deferred."

"Within the framework of the Kindness and Support movement, over 800 thousand families in need received over 1 trillion soums of material support."

“For this work, a reserve of 3 trillion soums has been formed in the state budget for 2021. These funds will also be used to vaccinate the population against coronavirus infection”.

"To improve the quality of work and improve the material and technical base of the sanitary and epidemiological service, the creation of modern laboratories will be allocated 200 million dollars."

"Taking into account the lessons learned during the pandemic, the scale of digitalization of the medical sector will be expanded."

“Caring for the health of mothers and children means caring for the whole society, for our future”.

"Starting next year, children under 15 and pregnant women will receive free vitamins of 7 types and medicines for parasitic diseases. These measures will cover 11 million people in 2021 and 17 million in 2022. It is planned to allocate 100 billion soums for these purposes. "

Education

Preschool education

“Our strategic goal in the development of preschool education for the coming years is to create the necessary conditions for full coverage of all children”.

“Next year we have to increase the population coverage with preschool education to 65%, and by the end of 2023 - to 75%”. “Due to the allocation of 600 billion soums of subsidies from the budget, 2,000 non-state kindergartens will be created, the share of the private sector in this area will increase to 25%.”

School education

“In the new year, 2 trillion soums will be cntributed from the budget for the construction of 30 new schools, repair and improvement of the material and technical base of 320 schools. In the next two years, 250 billion soums will be provided for the introduction of a unified system of "electronic education".

“Teachers who teach in a remote school in another area will have a 50 percent pay increase, and teachers in another area will receive a 100 percent pay increase. Before that, we discussed why teachers, teachers are reluctant to go to remote areas, [so we are introducing such a system]. I think it will be fair”.

Higher education

“We will double the quota of scholarships for girls from low-income families and bring it to 2000”. - This year we have already carried out such an experiment that was greeted with great enthusiasm by our people. Special scholarships will be introduced for girls in need of social support who study excellently. "

Science and innovation

Next year, the number of doctoral students in universities and research institutes will reach 4,500, which is by 3 times more than in 2017. An additional 240 billion soums will be allocated from the budget for these purposes.

Demonopolization

"The need to create a free competitive environment in the commodity and financial markets, as well as equal opportunities for entrepreneurs to access raw materials."

“Today there are monopolies in the markets for electricity and gas, precious metals, mineral fertilizers, transport services, and many problems remain in these areas.

“It is necessary to complete the reforms in the oil and gas sector and energy, as well as the implementation of large projects in these sectors. In particular, in 2021, the formation of a wholesale electricity market will begin with the participation of state and private power plants and consumers.

“We will also abolish the monopoly and introduce market mechanisms in the supply of natural gas. Thus, producers and importers will have the right to sell, and wholesale consumers - to buy natural gas on the exchange trades. The Uztransgaz company will only deal with gas transportation”.

Import duties will be canceled, which is aimed at expanding the private sector's presence in the liquefied gas market.

Privatization of state-owned enterprises

“Most of the enterprises where the state owns stakes remain a heavy burden for it due to their financial instability”.

Next year the Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Complex, Uzbekneftegaz, Uzbekhydrogeology, Uzavtosanoat companies will be able to enter the international capital market and draw funds without state guarantees.

“It should be admitted that the state-owned enterprises themselves do not have enough technical capabilities, and their specialists lack the knowledge and skills to independently carry out the transformation. Therefore, we involved the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank, McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Rothschild & Co and other world famous companies to reform large enterprises in the electric power industry, oil and gas and chemical industries, mechanical engineering, as well as commercial banks".

“In 2021, the transformation of 32 large enterprises in industries of strategic importance is to be carried out”.

“Our focus will be on the widespread introduction of digital technologies into the activities of banks”. “We will prepare Sanoatkurilishbank, Asaka Bank, Ipoteka Bank, Aloka Bank, Turon Bank and Qishloq Qurilish Bank for privatization.”

“The state’s stake in at least one large bank will be fully sold to strategic investors, Shavkat Mirziyoyev said. On this occasion, negotiations are underway with leading European banks.

“An important area of structural reforms is to reduce the presence of the state in the economy,”.

“Next year, the state will sell its stake in such enterprises as Ferganaazot and Dekhkanabad Potash Fertilizers Plant, Coca-Cola Ichimligi, Beldersay and Charvak resorts, Ichan Kala and Hyatt Regency hotels, the Poytakht business complex, as well as in 83 large enterprises of the alcoholic, fat-and-oil industry and other industries.

“In general, the number of enterprises with state participation in the next two years will be reduced by at least 3 times”.

Trade and economic liberalization

“Excise taxes on 73 items in the food, oil and electrical industries will be canceled in 2021.”

“Through stepping up competition in the automotive industry and the creation of a level playing field for enterprises in the field, the number of manufacturers will increase.”

“Currently only 4% of state-owned enterprises purchase publicly. Next year, the requirements for transparency in public procurement will be extended to 24 large state-owned enterprises. As a result, domestic firms will be able to sell products to these enterprises for at least 10 trillion soums a year.”

“From now on, all state purchases will be under public and parliamentary control”.

“Economic growth in Uzbekistan will be ensured, first of all, through the creation of competitive production chains and increased investment for these purposes. According to research by Harvard University, the country has all the opportunities and relative advantages in the production of more than 50 industrial goods.”

“In particular, there are all conditions for the petrochemical, metallurgical, engineering, electrical, pharmaceutical, construction, textile, leather and footwear, food industries, as well as areas related to the "green economy", become the "drivers" of the national economy. It is necessary to take all measures to support private sector initiatives and new projects, the development of cooperation in these sectors”.

“In the field of geology, this year, at an open auction, investors were granted rights for 21 deposits and promising sites. In 2021, another 50 fields and promising sites will be sold to local and foreign investors on the basis of open tenders.”

“In general, for the next year, Uzbekistan set a task to disburse US$ 23 billion worth of investments. As a result, 226 large industrial and infrastructure facilities will be commissioned in 2021.”

WTO, EU and EAEU

“Entering new export markets will remain one of the most important tasks of the government”.

“Next year, it is necessary to step up work on joining the World Trade Organization and large-scale cooperation with the European Union. A separate program should be developed to effectively use the GSP + system preferences in Uzbekistan.”

“Uzbekistan recently received observer status in the Eurasian Economic Union. For a full-scale presence in the markets of the EAEU member states, we need to accelerate work on bringing national technical regulation standards in line with their requirements".

In the new year US$ 100 million will be allocated from the Export Support Fund to enterprises for the purchase of raw materials and the production of export-oriented products.”

“Exporters will be reimbursed 50% of the cost of opening trading houses and stores, advertising costs abroad”.

“In general, the government has been tasked with increasing the volume of exports of goods and services by at least 20% next year”.

Infrastructure development

“It is planned to launch two high-speed trains next year. In addition, the electrification of the Bukhara-Urgench-Khiva railway will commence.”

“By attracting the private sector, the number of bus routes between towns and, especially village to province centers will be increased.”

“In Tashkent, the second stage of the construction of the overground metro will be completed and a section with a length of 12 km will be commissioned. As a result, underground and overground metro lines will be connected and form a single system.”

1 trillion soums will be allocated from the budget for the improvement of territories, the development of water and road infrastructure around tourist facilities.

“It is important of create an interconnected transport network, which will allow you to quickly get to the capital, major cities and tourist centers from everywhere in the country. Based on this, the government is tasked with launching domestic flights on tourist routes from March 1 next year and introducing a system of partial compensation from the budget for the cost of air tickets.”

“In addition, a number of regional airports will be managed through public-private partnerships.”

“The biggest flaw in our work today is a lack of knowledge, which, unfortunately, is felt in all areas”.

“Without modern knowledge, it is impossible to develop territories or sectors. In developed countries, more than 50% of GDP is created by the "knowledge economy", that is, innovation and highly qualified personnel.”

“From now on, each village and makhalla will develop taking into account their specifics, identifying their 'points of growth'. To this end, I propose to create a Regional Infrastructure Development Fund with a budget of 3 trillion soums next year. Its funds will be used to co-finance infrastructure projects proposed by local Kengashes”.

“100 technoparks, small industrial zones, regional clusters and logistics centers will be created in 84 districts and cities. 1.6 trillion soums will be allocated to create infrastructure in free economic and small industrial zones.”

“Also, a program will be adopted that provides for the restoration of more than 5,000 bridges in need of repair. It is planned to allocate 400 billion soums for this work in 2021.”

Improving governance

“In many ministries and departments, the decision-making process is overly centralized. Duplication of functions is often observed, since they are not clearly spelled out and in full. Along with this, some deputy ministers, middle-ranking civil servants do not dare to take responsibility, to be proactive. Why is this happening? They lack knowledge, skills and a sense of responsibility, or they are corrupt.”

“These officila "instead of solving pressing problems, as people expect from them, are busy with useless paperwork and ineffective meetings."

“In this regard, the government was instructed to prepare draft regulations within two months aimed at reducing duplicate departments, functions and bureaucratic barriers in management. At the same time, it is necessary to provide for the optimization of the number of employees in the public administration system on average to 15%.”

Media and NGOs

“The media are increasingly becoming the "fourth branch", covering not only positive changes in the country, but also raising urgent problems and holding the officials accountable”.

“Of course, many local officials sharp are not at ease with critical stories, which disturb their calm and carefree existence. But freedom of speech is a demand of the times, a demand for reforms in Uzbekistan".

“Over the past four years, we have been learning to live and work in the atmosphere of transparency and openness, freedom of speech, created in our society. It's not easy, but we are learning. Fair criticism points to the mistakes and flaws of the old-fashioned leaders, forcing them to change their style of work”.

“Each state institution in its daily work must establish a constant dialogue and cooperation with the media.”

“Non-governmental non-profit organizations will be widely involved, on the basis of a social order, in identifying existing problems on the ground, in deep analysis, developing proposals for solving and ensuring public control over their implementation“.

“Next year, 60 billion soums will be allocated from the budget to this end”.

2021 Presidential Election

“The Central Election Commission should "pay particular attention to the organization of the forthcoming elections at a high level on the basis of national legislation and generally recognized international democratic principles."

“We will continue to work on the implementation of the recommendations of international observers at the last elections into national legislation and practice”.

“The upcoming political campaign "will demonstrate the steady growth of political and legal culture, expansion of the worldview and strengthening of the civil position of voters, all our compatriots in the new Uzbekistan."

Judiciary reform

“The principle "one court - one instance", which is being introduced from the new year, should become the main criterion for ensuring justice, legality and stability of court decisions”.

“From next year, duplicate courts will be abolished. The practice of considering cases in a supervisory manner, which does not meet the standards of justice, will be canceled”.

“From next year, three categories of regional courts - for civil, economic and criminal cases - will be merged into one court. The practice of preliminary hearing in court will be introduced. So, if there are sufficient grounds to suspend or terminate the case, the court will make an appropriate decision as soon as possible, in connection with which there will be no need to return the case to the investigating authorities or the prosecutor's office, as it was before.”

“The Supreme Court has established a special judicial structure for considering investment disputes and competition cases. The investor can now, at his discretion, directly appeal to the Supreme Court to resolve a dispute.”

“In addition, work will continue on the wider introduction of the principle of humanism into the penal system, Shavkat Mirziyoyev said. In particular, based on international standards, 25 colonies will be phased out.”

“It is necessary to radically revise the system for the prevention of torture in the operational-search activity, the investigation and execution of sentences.

“It is absolutely true that such cases, which still occur, cause serious indignation of citizens and harm Uzbekistan’s reputation”.

“The chambers of the Oliy Majlis and the National Center for Human Rights should, within two months, develop proposals to expand the powers of the Ombudsman in the field of torture prevention, as well as to strengthen public control in this area. It is necessary to establish a system of quarterly monitoring visits to pre-trial detention centers and penitentiary institutions with the participation of members of the public.”

Facilities due to be commissioned in 2021

“Next year the country set a task to disburse US$ 23 billion investments. As a result, 226 large industrial and infrastructure facilities will be commissioned in 2021.”

“Thus, it is planned to launch two large hydrometallurgical plants at the Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine and a plant for processing industrial waste at the Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Complex”.

“Hundreds of textile, construction, leather and footwear, food and pharmaceutical facilities will be built throughout the country. Only in the Yashnabad Technopark of Tashkent 11 modern electrical production facilities will be commissioned, thus their total number will reach 17, and the number of working personnel - 11 thousand.”

“New power plants with a total capacity of 760 MW will be put into operation in Tashkent, Navoi, Samarkand and Surkhandarya provinces. An industrial complex worth US$ 3.6 billion and a capacity of 1.5 million tons of kerosene, diesel fuel and liquefied gas per year will start operating in the Kashkadarya province.

Afterword

We will never back down from the path of democratic reforms. No matter how difficult it is, we will only move forward - to new high goals.

May we all us be honored to fulfill our filial duty to our dear Motherland!

Taking this opportunity, I sincerely congratulate you, all our people, on the new year.

I wish you all good health, family happiness, good luck and success in your work.

May the Creator Himself help us all in the realization of our dreams and plans.

Thank you for your attention.

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