NEWS AND EVENTS
August 7, 2008
Uzbekistan: 17 years of Independent Development.
Towards New Frontiers and Set Goals
This year the people of Uzbekistan will celebrate the 17th anniversary of Independence. Looking back at the traversed complex path of independent development one could speak about significant achievements of the country in building open, secular democratic state with socially-oriented market economy and establishing strong civil society.
In accomplishing the policy tasks on reforming and renewing the country Uzbekistan has comprehensively studied and considered the experience of successfully and steadily developing modern democracies while preserving the national values, customs and traditions, as well as respectfully treating the people’s mentality.
For the first time in the history of Uzbek state on a multiparty basis in 2005 professional bicameral parliament – with upper chamber the Senate and lower one the Legislative Chamber – was established.
At the moment, Uzbekistan began actively reforming and modernizing the country. An important policy task faced now by Uzbekistan is to further democratize and liberalize all spheres of political and economic life of the nation, state and public construction, to consolidate the independent judicial power, system of protection of human rights and freedoms, to raise political and economic activeness of citizens and establish the civil society.
The cardinal reforms accomplished in the country resulted in dynamic economic growth observed lately in Uzbekistan. For over the last five years the annual GDP growth rate has been exceeding 7 percent and for over the year 2007 and first half of 2008 it made up more than 9 percent.
The sustainable economic development of Uzbekistan is taking place not at the expense of extensive growth and unrestrained extraction of hydrocarbons given the high world oil and gas prices, but rather thanks to purposeful accomplishment of market reforms, in-depth structural reforms of economy, renewal and technical re-equipping of sectors and enterprises, establishment of new competitive export-bound industries, as well as development of business and private entrepreneurship.
If in 1991 the share of small and medium entrepreneurship in GDP just made up 1 percent then in the first half of 2008 – more than 40 percent. This promotes establishment of a strong middle class in Uzbek society – the politically active part of the population which is called upon to turn into basis of deepening the democratic reforms and further sustainable development of the country.
Uzbekistan created a favorable and mostly unprecedented investment climate for foreign and domestic investors. For over the years of independence the Uzbek economy attracted investments worth more than 100 billion dollars of which 25 billion – the foreign investments.
The foreign trade sees stable high growth rates, and above all, thanks to the growth of exports for almost 1.5 times which on its dynamics significantly outstrips imports. This allows to considerably increase the positive balance in foreign commodity circulation and the country’s gold and currency reserves.
Uzbekistan is a self-sufficient state. Since the early days of independence Uzbekistan has embarked on course of providing for the food, and especially, the grain and energy self-sufficiency. If prior to sovereignty Uzbekistan annually produced just 300-400 thousand tons of grain, then this year this indicator made up over 6 million tons of grain harvest.
If to speak about country’s development in social sphere then we should note that 51 percent of the State budget is channeled for social purposes, and particularly, the healthcare and education. Taking into account that 64 percent of Uzbekistan’s population is youth at the age of up to 30 years old the country pays importance to training the new generation cadres able to implement in practice the complex tasks on modernizing country and building mature democratic society.
Thus, the expenditures for education in GDP make up more than 12 percent whereas such indicator in the world practice doesn’t exceed 3-5 percent. The National program for cadres training, the unique on its essence and content, which Uzbekistan has already been implementing for over ten years, makes up an integral continuous system of education.
Since the state educational programs have been launched in the country for over the last years Uzbekistan built 1140 academic lyceums and professional colleges, thoroughly overhauled 4680 general education schools. Besides, the country now undertakes measures to connect each educational facility to Internet. For over the last three years the number of Internet users in Uzbekistan increased three-fold by now having made up over 2 million (in 2007 it was 1.7 million, 2006 – 855 thousand, and 2005 – 675 thousand).
The country implements the concept of deep reforming and liberalizing the judiciary system as the most important component of establishing a law-governed state. The number of norms which do not allow courts to assign punishment in terms of imprisonment has been significantly expanded.
Beginning January 1, 2008 Uzbekistan abolished a death penalty which has been replaced with life imprisonment that is assigned only for two types of crimes: murder in aggravated circumstances and terrorism. But such type of punishment cannot be assigned to women and persons under 18 years of age and over 60 years of age.
Delegation to courts starting January 1, 2008 the right to issue arrest warrant and clear procedural and legal mechanism of its implementation are an important guarantee of effective protection of rights and lawful interests of criminally prosecuted citizens at the pretrial stage of criminal process.
In line with Resolution of President, in July 2008 Uzbekistan established a special research center on democratization and liberalization of judicial legislation and providing for independence of judiciary system.
The system of human rights institutions was established in the country and is now actively operating. In the context of protection of rights and freedoms of citizens Uzbekistan pays a priority attention to counteracting trafficking in persons. In this direction this year the national parliament ratified Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime of November 15, 2000. Also, the Law “On counteracting trafficking in persons” came into effect.
The development of civil society in Uzbekistan was taken into a rank of state policy. The developed normative and legal basis has been established in the country which provides for a free development of more than 5 thousand non-state non-profit organizations operating in Uzbekistan.
In sum, the successes achieved in implementing reforms in all spheres of life make one confident in securing new frontiers as a part of the set goals to build mature democratic society leaning upon enormous economic, transport and communication as well as resource and human potential of the country.