On November 16, at the Kuksaroy residence was held the first plenary session of the Foreign Investors Council under the President of Uzbekistan, which was chaired by Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the presidential press service reported.
In the event were present the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Odile Renaud-Basso, CEOS and senior executives of Suez, Çalık Holding, Cengiz Enerji, Halyk Bank, VEON Group, TBC Bank, Abu Dhabi Development Fund, ACWA Power, Zeppelin International, EDF, AME International, CNH Industrial, Youngone Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Mitsui, Sojitz Generation DMCC, KIA Motors, General Electric, John Deere, Silverleafe, Knauf, White&Case, as well as representatives of the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank and Islamic Bank development.
In his remarks, Shavkat Mirziyoyev stressed that the world community, not having time to recover from the pandemic, is facing new challenges and trials, and in these difficult conditions, the importance of close partnership based on mutual trust and respect is growing.
As he underscored, over the past 5 years, the volume of foreign investment in the economy of Uzbekistan has increased 10 times reaching $40 billion. “We have set ourselves the goal of doubling the gross domestic product over the next 10 years. We have enough will and opportunities for this,” he stressed.
To achieve these goals, Uzbekistan expects to increase the volume of investments to $120 billion over the next 5 years, including attracting at least $70 billion of foreign investment.
“We have already developed specific projects and programs to channel these investments primarily into the modernization and transformation of industries, the fast-track production, utilities and transport infrastructure development projects. Along with this, on the agenda we have the issue of attracting private investment also in the traditionally public sectors of education and healthcare,” the president said.
“We invite foreign investors to develop and jointly implement new mutually beneficial projects. I can assure you that we will create all the conditions for investors to feel free in New Uzbekistan and work with full confidence in the future,” said Shavkat Mirziyoyev. “That is why we are creating a new Council with the participation of investors who are our closest and most reliable friends. I am confident that together we will be able to raise long-term and mutually beneficial investment cooperation to a new level.”
Investor Protection Committee
The President briefly touched upon several areas that Uzbekistan, with the support of investors, intends to develop within the framework of the Council.
“We have identified the rule of law as one of the main priorities for the development of New Uzbekistan,” he said. “From now on, the unconditional provision and protection of the property rights of citizens and businesses will be guaranteed through a transparent and fair judicial and legal system.”
He proposed to create a permanent Committee for the Protection of Investors' Rights under the Council of Foreign Investors in order to introduce the best foreign practices and experience in Uzbekistan.
“We plan to deepen reforms in the banking and financial sector. We are talking about creating healthy competition in this area, actively attracting foreign banks to Uzbekistan, creating an effective stock market,” the president said, adding that Uzbekistan was open to proposals and initiatives from foreign investors aimed at improving the banking and financial sector.
“Reducing the state's share in the economy and further extending privatization remain one of our main goals,” the head of state stressed.
He added that 1,200 state-owned enterprises had been privatized in Uzbekistan in recent years. "Next year, we intend to privatize about 1,000 enterprises and real estate," the president added.
At the same time, the mechanism of public-private partnership is being actively introduced in all sectors of the economy. In the energy sector alone, Uzbekistan attracted more than $8 billion using PPP mechanisms, Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted and invited members of the Council to actively participate in privatization and public-private partnership programs.
“We see huge potential in the development of Uzbekistan’s rich natural resources,” he said. Uzbekistan country ranks 2nd in the world in terms of gold reserves, 7th - copper, 8th - tungsten, 9th - silver, 12th - uranium. The President said that Uzbekistan has prepared projects for the deep processing of raw materials
“Let me give you one example. Every year, 150 thousand tons of copper are mined in Uzbekistan, and only 70 thousand are processed. In the coming years, we will increase copper production to 500,000 tons. In this regard, we have begun to create a copper cluster. On its territory, the implementation of projects for the production of copper foil, electric motors, solar panels, cable and wire products and other high value-added goods has begun. In addition, we intend to establish an industry for the production of electric vehicles,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said and invited investors to cooperate.
The President also reminded that Uzbekistan was interested in attracting investments in the field of digitalization and green economy,
Investor Support Working Group
“I consider it necessary to organize work with foreign investors in the following way. To implement each of these priority areas, an investor support working group will be set up under the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade,” the president suggested.
“This working group will operate under the Foreign Investors Council and deal with comprehensive and systematic support of foreign investors. In particular, it will provide all services from meeting an investor at the airport to issuing the necessary permits and licenses for doing business on a one-stop basis,” the president continued.
“The activities of the new working group will be coordinated by First Deputy Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Laziz Kudratov. He will be released from all other duties and will focus only on working with investors,” the head of state stressed.
“Deputy Prime Ministers Jamshid Khojaev, Jamshid Kuchkarov, Zhurabek Mirzamakhmudov will ensure a positive resolution of all appeals received in their areas,” the president added.
The working group, together with the secretariat of the council, needs to develop a "road map" based on proposals from foreign investors with specific projects, improvement of legislation for their implementation, deadlines and responsible executors, the head of state said.
“We will take all measures so that your business in Uzbekistan becomes successful, so that you feel confident, free and comfortable in our country,” the president addressed investors.