Tuesday, 26, September, 2023

The Finance Minister Timur Ishmetov spoke about the privatization of state-owned banks in Uzbekistan at a meeting with young people at the Five Initiatives Movement event in Tashkent yesterday.

According to him, as per the approved Banking System Reforming Strategy for 2020-2025, it is planned to gradually sell government stakes in Ipoteka Bank, Uzsanoatqurilishbank, Asaka Bank, Aloqabank, Qishloqqurilishbank and Turonbank. At the first stage, the banks will go through transformation, at the second - the sale of the state block of shares.

While, the government will retain stakes in the National Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs, Agrobank and Microcreditbank.

“Consultants have been hired for each bank, for privatization they need to be shaken up and go thorugh a clean-up a little. They need to be turned into commercial products prior to privatization. Work on this is in full swing,” the minister said.

On May 20, the State Assets Management Agency put up for sale the state block of shares in Poytakht Bank and Uzagroexportbank. Since these are "very small banks" (assets totaling 223 and 60 billion soums, respectively), preparation for the sale did not take long, he said.

“They were put up for sale, if there are interested persons, the banks will be sold. If it does not work out, then we will take other measures. In addition, it is planned to privatize at least one large bank by the end of the year. Now I cannot say for sure which bank it is, since privatization is underway, "Timur Ishmetov noted.

The Finance Minister also announced plans to privatize three banks in 2022. He stressed that attracting private business to the banking sector will result in positive changes.

“Firstly, we will get rid of dependent loss making banks, because they are constantly requesting money,” the minister said.

“Secondly, this will bring quality, since during privatization the bank will be sold not just to rich people who have money, but to strategic investors, quality organizations with experience in the banking sector, that is, foreign banks. They will, of course, introduce their new products and qualities here, as a result this will appear bring new services and competition on the market,” he said.

Timur Imshetov is confident that after the privatization of 2-3 large state-owned banks within 12 months, "visible changes in the market will be seen."

At the end of March, it was reported that the Hungarian OTP Bank was set to buy stake in Ipoteka Bank.

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