NEWS AND EVENTS
May 1, 2017
THE STRATEGY OF ACTIONS ON FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF UZBEKISTAN: NAEMM MEDIA HALL IN TASHKENT HAS HOSTED A CONFERENCE ON THE OUTCOMES OF THE ACTIONS STRATEFGY IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2017.
The conference brought together parliamentarians, heads of 15 ministries and departments, representatives of the public and mass media
As emphasized at the opening of the event, organized by the Development Strategy Center and the National Association of Electronic Mass Media, much has been done in the framework of the Action Strategy in a short period of time. Most importantly, we all are not just witnesses, but executives of the policy document, which is aimed at building a bright future for the country.
Then the attention of the participants was switched to the screen, which featured the attitudes of common citizens of our country toward the Strategy, and their views on the fulfillment of the document objectives. In particular, a local pensioner took the opportunity of free travel in the subway with great enthusiasm; a young mother shared her impressions on improved conditions in the pre-school educational institution her son is attending after a visit of parliamentarians to their district; a starting entrepreneur told how she managed to get a loan for starting a business after she applied to the President's Virtual Reception.
People positively responded to the regulation of prices for medicines, medical reforms, issuance of pensions and allowances in cash, the increased number of POS terminals in trade outlets, favorable conditions for businessmen and farmers.
Executives and representatives of ministries of economy, internal affairs, health, the Central Bank and other departments reported on the first results of implementation of the Action Strategy, and answered numerous questions of journalists. The organizers arranged a teleconference with the regions of the republic and users of social networks, who came up with proposals and asked questions online.
Speakers on each priority area of the Strategy reported on the course of its implementation on streamlining of state and public construction, ensuring the rule of law and further reformation of the judicial and legal system, development and liberalization of the economy, strengthening of social sector, ensuring security, interethnic harmony and religious tolerance, and pursuance of a balanced, mutually beneficial and constructive foreign policy.
A new council received a constitutional status. Article 111 of the Constitution stipulates the Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan as a judicial community body to assist in ensuring compliance with the constitutional principle of the independence of the judiciary in the country. This status serves as an important constitutional guarantee for independent and effective fulfilment of Council’s functions. This is a generally accepted standard in international practice, so the constitutions of many developed democratic states reflect the norms that regulate the operation of similar judiciary bodies.
It is worth mentioning that the organization and activities of the Supreme Judicial Council are regulated not by a provision approved by a decision of the head of state, as previously, but by law. A Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council is not appointed by the Presidential Decree from among the members of the Senate, but by the Senate on the proposal of the head of state, just like executives of other independent constitutional bodies. The appointment of the Chairman of the Council has become a prerogative of the upper house of Parliament.
In addition, the Supreme Judicial Council Chairman is assigned by the Constitution for participation in the meetings of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate, among few persons, thereby proving his high status and authority, and ensuring his independence and inviolability.
Research will play a specific role in the work of the Council. It will promote further improvement of the legislation in the judicial and legal areas, ensuring the true independence of the judiciary and unified judicial practice, expanding access to justice, and improving quality of its administration.
The ongoing reforms in the framework of the Action Strategy have been contributing to ensuring a reliable protection of citizens' rights and freedoms by the court, true independence of the judiciary, enhancement of their effectiveness and authority, and the level of access to justice.
168 state authorities are involved in implementation of the country's policy program for the next five years. In the Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests, it is envisaged to fulfill 320 items, 72 of which were scheduled for the first quarter. Introduction of amendments and additions to 10 laws, drafting of 20 Presidential decrees and resolutions, six Government decrees, and 15 integrated agendas ranks among the priority tasks.
A system-based study of the real state of affairs in the regions by senators and deputies has been organized in the first quarter of the current year at the initiative of the head of state. The quality of life of citizens has been improving under effective mechanisms of parliamentary control. In addition, the elected people’s representatives introduce the public to the essence and importance of new Presidential decrees and resolutions, laws, and other regulatory legal acts.
For three months, MPs visited 39 districts of the republic, more than 22,800 families. At the meetings with over 218,000 citizens, MPs received more than 20,000 appeals, 70% of which could be addressed at the local level. Unfortunately, as noted by speakers, the main reason of all revealed problems and omissions centers around insufficient attention of executives of local state bodies to vital concerns of citizens.
The results of the study pave the way to drafting new laws and proposals on introduction of additions and amendments to the current legislation on the basis of people’s proposals. This is an obvious proof of expansion of the legal culture of the population, the sense of belonging to the ongoing changes.
Forms of parliamentary control are now applied more frequently, the activity of local councils of people's representatives have noticeably catalyzed. The Senate of the Oliy Majlis has launched an information and analytical department, which aims at ensuring effective implementation of the Law ‘On parliamentary control’. These measures help to bring the level of control and analytical work to a new qualitaty level, and establish a direct dialogue with the people to address their pressing problems.
Public administration has been streamlined and reformed, the state's share in the economy continues to decline, certain steps are being taken to develop the ‘e-government’ system.
It is envisaged to adopt the Law ‘On civil service’, which would streamline the rights and duties of civil servants, their social protection, financial security. It is also planned to adopt a new version of the Law ‘On local authorities’ in furtherance of democratization of administrative structures, and bringing government bodies closer to the people.
Reforms in the judicial and legal sectors are also aimed at ensuring citizens’ rights, freedoms and legitimate interests. In particular, a unified judicial body - the Supreme Judicial Council, was established as part of this work. A new institution of punishment in the form of mandatory public works was founded, specific deadlines and age limits were specified in relation of the judge's tenure. Economic courts will become an effective mechanism to settle business disputes. The terms of re-examination of court decisions in civil cases was cut from three to one year.
With regard to the development and liberalization of the economy, it was reported on implementation of six projects on the purchase of a high-speed electric train Talgo-250, construction of railways, their repair and electrification, and upgrade of wagon trains. About $107.7 million was spent for these purposes. A dozen of projects totaling $12.7 million were focused on expansion of the manufacture of finished leather and footwear products. 32 million of investments empowered the commissioning of three new and upgraded enterprises in the textile and knitted industries.
“The Action Strategy envisages strengthening of the international authority of Uzbekistan, improvement of investment indicators and implementation of major investment projects,” said Feruz Rakhmatov, a Chief at the Ministry of Economy. “This requires funding sources. Much attention has been paid to drawing direct investments, that is, foreign enterprises come to us with modern technologies and know-how. In turn, this opens up new export destinations, creation of additional jobs. Long-term investments with a small percentage but big returns would improve people’s welfare. A well-considered state policy in this direction will have to avoid the increase in the country's foreign debt.”
He also reported on completion of major and current repairs of 1,100 km of inter-farm roads and village streets. Financial institutions allocated about 80 billion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 01.05.2017, 1$= 3706.22 soums) of loan funds to involve vocational college graduates in entrepreneurial activities. 2,633 investment projects were implemented within the framework of regional programs on the development of agriculture and services, 17,600 new jobs were created.
Over 1,800 km of collector-drainage networks and 15 hydraulic structures were reconstructed as part of improvement of meliorative state of irrigated lands. Uzbekistan has expanded planting of vegetables on 106.500 hectares, potatoes - on 64,900 hectares, and melons – on 9,400 hectares in the framework of the measures taken to ensure food security, expand harvesting of fruits and vegetables, potatoes and grapes, and prevent price surge in the domestic market.
Commercial banks allocated 2.5 trillion soums of loans to finance citizens’ initiatives in growing agricultural products, livestock, poultry and beekeeping development, establishment of greenhouse farms, further development of services, as well as financial support for women's entrepreneurship.
The third priority area of the Action Strategy concerns, among other things, ensuring reliable protection of rights and guarantees of private property, full freedom for the development of entrepreneurship. The measures on introduction of modern principles and mechanisms of regulation of banking activities, modernization and active diversification of the leading industries, reformation of the financial and banking sector with regard to ensuring stability of the national currency and prices, the gradual introduction of modern market mechanisms of currency regulation are expected to enhance the effectiveness on ongoing large-scale reforms in this area.
The ongoing transformations have a positive impact on the entire economy. The created infrastructure, application of various maintenance methods ensure the effectiveness of market mechanisms. Improvement of quality and expansion of the service range through the expansion of insurance, leasing and other financial services, development of the stock market as an alternative source of accommodation of free funds of enterprises, financial institutions and the population has been in constant focus.
The lack or even absence of collateral for obtaining loans by small businesses and private entrepreneurs, especially in terms of funding of investment projects, is a pressing challenge for the banking sector. In order to address the problem, the Central Bank initiated the establishment of a Guarantee Fund for the Development of Small Business.
The Fund secures small businesses with the collateral for commercial bank loans that are issued for the purchase of new modern technological equipment and other purposes, in part not covered by the pledge. It is proposed that the resource base of the Guarantee Fund will be expanded through channeling funds of international financial institutions, foreign funds and banks. The Fund will provide consulting assistance to small business entities on the terms of granting loans by commercial banks, assistance in the creation and expansion of high-tech and innovative manufactures.
Insurance and leasing services have been increasingly developing in our country. However, the lack of the structures rendering such services in the destricts limits the population's access to them. As a result, residents of rural areas who wish to engage in private business have to spend money and time to visit the regional centers.
Now, local communities are attached to each banking branch, based on their location, the number of families and able-bodied people living in them. Visiting the residents, bank workers not just offer banking services, but also study proposals and complaints of people.
Access to microfinance services for graduates of educational institutions, the unemployed citizens registered with labor agencies, and other segments of the population in need of employment has been expanding concurrently with the stimulation of development of family and private entrepreneurship.
These measures have been contributing to the creation of new jobs in small, family and private entrepreneurship, facilitating access of business entities to microfinance services, increasing incomes of low-income and socially vulnerable segments of the population, strengthening the role of citizens' self-government bodies in securing employment of the population.
Measures on further improvement of the healthcare sector, and elimination of problems and shortcomings remain relevant. Specific ‘road maps’ were developed for the regions on the basis of the approved presidential decrees and resolutions. The progress is tracked by a system-based monitoring of ongoing transformations, follow-up activities are being corrected respectively, and shortcomings are eliminated. For example, the price policy for medicines is currently being revised.
There is an important positive change in this area: the maternal mortality rate in the first quarter of the current year has decreased by 56% YOY. There are also significant changes in equipping emergency medical services.
The participants also considered progress in other areas of the Strategy.
“The tourist sector has undergone serious reforms over the past four to five months,” said First Deputy Foreign Minister Javlon Vakhabov. “For instance, the National company Uzbektourism was transformed into the State Committee for Tourism Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan. A separate presidential decree addressed the whole range of issues related to the increase in tourist flows to our country. In particular, certain visa exemptions, including those for people of retirement age, will come into effect in the next five years since 2021.”
... The first outcomes of implementation of the Action Strategy in a very short period clearly demonstrate the extent to which it enhances the effectiveness of the reforms, ensuring the result-oriented development of the state and society, and liberalization of all areas of life.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)