The article from yuz.uz, titled “Expanding the Service Sector in the Regions,” highlights the growing importance of the service sector in the global economy, with advanced countries seeing services exceed 75% of their GDP. In Uzbekistan, since the start of reforms, the service sector has become a key economic driver, doubling in volume from 2017 to 2022. The sector encompasses trade, transportation, and financial services, which together form a significant portion of the market services.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a meeting on December 18th to discuss further expansion and development of the service sector in the regions for 2024. The meeting emphasized the need for a year-on-year growth of at least 17% in the service sector to match or exceed the global average.
Significant growth was observed in financial services, increasing fivefold in six years, largely due to business development and expanded financing. Newly established financial institutions like the Business Development Bank and the Entrepreneurship Development Company are pivotal in this expansion. From January 1, 2024, microfinance banks are to be launched, offering basic banking services, expected to increase the volume of financial services by 30%.
Efforts are being made to stimulate entrepreneurship through unsecured loans under the “Family Entrepreneurship” program and providing loans to 2.4 million self-employed individuals. The government aims to involve two million people in business by 2024 and is working on issuing $500 million in Eurobonds to stimulate financial services.
Transport services, contributing a quarter to the total service volume, have grown by 1.5 times over six years, with significant investment in road, rail, and air transport. The aviation market has seen reforms with new private companies and routes, aiming to increase air transport volume by 20% in 2024.
Healthcare and education services are rapidly evolving, with a significant increase in hospitals and beds. Private sector involvement in these areas is encouraged, with plans to open private clinics and educational institutions.
The IT sector has tripled in six years, with a 20% average annual growth rate. The President stressed the importance of IT services in boosting not only the sector but also other industries through digitalization. The goal for 2024 is to double the export of IT services, aiming for a 30% growth in IT services.
Tourism is another area with high potential, with a significant increase in tourist service exports over six years. Plans include building more hotels and guesthouses and improving infrastructure to attract more tourists. Additionally, modern jewelry complexes are to be established in every region, drawing on the experience of Dubai.
In conclusion, the service sector in Uzbekistan, especially in the regions, has high but yet unrealized potential. The focus is on IT, education, and medical services, vital for developing a digital economy and improving the quality of life. The measures adopted aim to ensure high-quality and accessible services throughout the country.