Today, all of us are participants of the most important political event in the life of our Motherland.
The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the first time speaks with the Address to the Parliament of the country – Oliy Majlis.
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It is known that in many developed countries of the world there is a practice of applying the head of state to the National Parliament on the most important and urgent issues of political, socio-economic and democratic development.
I think that such a democratic method of state administration is especially in demand today and is consonant with the large-scale reforms being carried out in Uzbekistan, first of all, the principle of dialogue with the people, and serves to further enhance the effectiveness of our activities.
In today’s meeting, along with members of the Senate and deputies of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, deputies of district, city and regional Kengashes, heads of executive bodies and economic management of all levels participate in video conferencing.
Let me bring to your attention the Message, devoted to the main results of the work carried out in 2017, which marked the beginning of a new stage of our development, and the priority directions of the social and economic development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2018.
To fulfill the tasks foreseen for this year in the Strategy for the Further Development of Our Country, all the forces and capabilities of the state and society were mobilized.
The most important step on this path was the implementation of the measures outlined in the State Program “Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interest”.
It should be noted that our people widely support the large-scale reforms being carried out in the country. The first results of these reforms are now reflected in the lives of compatriots, their social activity is growing, confidence in the future.
Each decision regarding the life of the country, we take on the basis of a direct dialogue with the people, taking into account the opinions of the public. The cornerstone of our activities is the principle “Not the people serve state organs, but state organs should serve the people.”
Employees of state bodies, especially managers, are not limited to cabinet work, go to places, are engaged in practical solutions to the most pressing problems of the population.
In this sense, we can say with full confidence that in the history of Uzbekistan, 2017 was the year of the creation of a new system of direct dialogue with the people, an effective solution of its vital problems.
The People’s Reception and the Virtual Reception of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which are the basis of this system, have become a kind of democratic institution for dealing with citizens’ appeals.
In a short time, more than 1.5 million citizens applied to these receptions, the problems of many people, accumulated over the years, turned out to be positively solved, which indicates the approval of democracy in Uzbekistan not in words but in deeds.
Increasing the personal responsibility of managers on the ground for the prompt correction of errors and shortcomings has become an important result of the work of this system.
Taking into account the interests of the people, fundamental changes are also being made in the judicial and legal sphere, the system of the prosecutor’s office and the law-enforcement bodies, which are the most important institutions for ensuring social justice.
We have already discussed this in detail at the solemn meeting devoted to the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, so I believe that there is no need to dwell on this issue again.
In the current year more than 1100 people living in the country and not having citizenship of Uzbekistan, have received this status. I think this is another confirmation of the provision in our country of human rights and freedoms.
In the economic sphere in 2017, we took the first steps to implement effective reforms that meet modern requirements.
Laws, decrees and decisions, well-thought-out programs for organizing our economy on a new basis and its further liberalization, improvement of its legal framework, modernization and diversification of production have been adopted and are being consistently implemented.
In a short time 161 large industrial objects were commissioned in the country. This will allow us to produce additional products worth 1.5 trillion soums next year.
For example, a combined-cycle plant is involved in the Tashkent thermal power plant. Due to this, an additional 2.5 billion kilowatts of electric power will be produced.
Work is also continuing on the construction of a second combined-cycle plant at the Navoi Thermal Power Plant, a hydrometallurgical plant based on the Ammunai-Amantai gold mines in the Kyzyl Kum.
At present, the Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine has begun work on the development of the Yoshlik-1 and Yoshlik-2 mines. The construction of such large facilities as the Sardoba, Central-Fergana and Tupalang reservoirs is being carried out at an accelerated pace. The railway line of Fergana-Margilan is being electrified.
By launching another large facility, the Kandym gas processing complex, in addition to 4 billion 100 million cubic meters of natural gas, more than 67,000 tons of condensate, and more than 106,000 tons of sulfur will be produced in 2018. At the Mubarek gas processing plant – one of the locomotives of the economy of Uzbekistan – in the next year, blocks for the purification of sulfur from an additional 6 billion cubic meters of natural gas will be fully operational.
Along with this, in the joint-stock company “Uzagrotekhsanoatholding” in the new year, production of more than 5 thousand modern tractors, over 1 thousand cotton harvesting machines and more than 2 thousand trailers will be established.
There are many more such examples.
Most important, in economic policy, such an unacceptable method as the race for unrealistic numbers, the urge to present utopian plans as a reality, was critically revised. Achievement of concrete results and ensuring of human interests are defined as the main goal of our reforms.
Thanks to the implemented measures in 2017, the steady economic growth rate was 5.5 percent, the volume of exports increased by 15 percent. The positive balance in foreign trade reached 854 million dollars.
We started free conversion of our national currency – sum. Legal entities and individuals have the opportunity to purchase and sell foreign currency in commercial banks without restrictions. Since the liberalization of the sphere, the volume of foreign currency purchase and sale transactions has grown 1.5 times and amounted to about 1.3 billion dollars. At the same time, our country’s gold and currency reserves increased by $ 1.1 billion.
This year, the country has established 12 free economic and 45 industrial zones, which contributes to the accelerated development of our regions. Work is underway to organize another 50 new industrial zones in the near future.
During the year, the issue of creating new jobs, which is extremely important for us, was constantly at the center of our attention. In 2017, thanks to the construction of new industrial enterprises, the development of small business and private entrepreneurship, the expansion of the service sector, over 336,000 new jobs were organized. We have determined for ourselves the provision of employment of the population as a priority task, and therefore we will continue to attach special importance to the growth of these indicators not only in quantitative but also in qualitative terms.
It also ensures the implementation of the adopted programs for reforming the social sphere as an extremely important direction of state policy.
It is known that for many years our population, especially workers in the budgetary sphere, poor families, the housing problem remained the most acute. For the sake of justice, we must admit that we have not paid much attention to this issue. Taking into account the needs of people, this year we started to build affordable housing for upgraded projects on the basis of preferential mortgage loans.
In towns and villages, standard and multi-storey houses with a total residential area of more than 3.5 million square meters were built. Compared to previous years, the volume of housing construction has increased dramatically, for example, in comparison with 2007 – 20 times, 2010, when the program of housing construction for standard projects was started, – 3.5 times, and in relation to 2014 – in 2 times.
It should be emphasized that over the past 25 years we have for the first time begun the construction of multi-storey houses with all amenities at affordable prices. In 2017, it was built and commissioned “turnkey” such apartment buildings with an area of more than 800 thousand square meters.
Only in the city of Tashkent this year 420 thousand square meters of housing has been built – almost 3 times more than last year.
Taking into account that the issue of providing affordable housing for the population still remains relevant, we will definitely continue this work in a new year on a larger scale.
Because people are not tomorrow, not in the distant future, but today they want to see positive changes in their lives. Our hard-working, kind-hearted and generous people have every right to this.
Specific measures have been taken to improve the environmental situation in the Aral Sea area. Under the Ministry of Finance, the Development Fund for the Aral Sea Region has been established, to which over 200 billion soums are directed.
Due to these funds, water supply, living conditions of the residents of the Republic of Karakalpakstan and the Khorezm region are improving. Along with this, more than 3 thousand kilometers of internal roads have been overhauled and reconstructed in these regions.
In the current year, we paid special attention to the construction of new and repair of existing educational institutions. 12 secondary schools have been built, 320 have been reconstructed, 152 schools have been overhauled. In addition, 107 were built and reconstructed, 195 pre-school educational institutions were overhauled.
Given the great role and importance of educating our children from an early age, we organized the Ministry of Pre-school Education. We need to strengthen the material and technical base of this sphere, including in the next 3-4 years we must build in all regions of the country and equip thousands of new kindergartens, raise the quality of the education and upbringing they receive in a new level.
In accordance with the proposals of many parents, teachers and students, the general public, we have restored the 11-year general education.
To fill the need on the ground in teachers in the Tashkent region, the Chirchik State Pedagogical Institute was organized.
Besides, in 15 higher educational institutions correspondence departments are opened, where more than 5 thousand teachers who graduated from colleges will be able to get higher education.
In the educational system, based on innovative and creative approaches, specialized schools for in-depth study of exact sciences, bearing the names of Muhammad Khorezmi and Mirzo Ulugbek, have been created.
Significant work is also being done to further improve the system of higher education. In particular, the Program for the Comprehensive Development of the Higher Education System in 2017-2021 was adopted.
Due to newly organized institutes and branches of higher educational institutions, the number of higher educational institutions reached 81, branches in regions – 15, branches of foreign universities – 7. In addition, it should be noted the agreement on the establishment in Almalyk of a branch of the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, and in Tashkent – a branch Webster University of the United States.
Based on the needs of the real sector of the economy, in some institutions of higher education open and evening departments are open.
Measures were taken to improve the system and strengthen the material and technical base of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, and the activity of a number of research institutes and centers in its composition was restored.
After a long break, elections were held to the Academy of Sciences. A large number of talented scientists, enjoying prestige in the country and abroad, were awarded the high rank of an academician. In turn, we have the right to expect from the Academy of Sciences practical results of promising research, new scientific developments.
All of this our consistent work is aimed at achieving one goal: Uzbekistan must become competitive on the world stage in the field of science, intellectual potential, modern cadres, high technologies.
Speaking about the development of the cultural and humanitarian sphere, first of all, it should be noted that this year 12 important documents related to the issues of culture, art and literature, and the media were adopted.
In order to enhance the role and significance of creative unions in the life of the country, to strengthen their material and technical base, the Public Fund for the Support of Creative Persons of Uzbekistan Ilkhom has been established, and also the Friends Clubs, in conjunction with cultural and art institutions, large companies and banks.
In addition, an Alley of Writers, a new building of the Writers’ Union, in Karakalpakstan and a number of areas – creative schools bearing the names of our outstanding writers and poets were created in Tashkent on the territory of the National Park. Also reconstructed Kokand city, Khorezm and Dzhizak regional drama theaters, the Fergana regional branch of the Uzbek State Institute of Arts and Culture was organized.
When we talk about projects that are important events in our spiritual life, we should especially emphasize that work has started on organizing the activities of such scientific and educational institutions as the Center for Islamic Civilization in Uzbekistan, the international research centers named after Imam Bukhari and Imam Termizi, the Islamic academy.
Along with this, with the memorial complexes of our great thinkers, schools have been set up to study hadith, Muslim law, Sufism and other areas.
Undoubtedly, our activity in this direction has a deep scientific and practical basis.
It is known that our land, located at the crossroads of ancient cultures and civilizations, has cultivated thousands of scientists and thinkers, great poets and theologians. The invaluable heritage left by them, including in the field of exact sciences and religious and philosophical knowledge, today is the spiritual heritage of all mankind.
Currently, more than 100 thousand ancient manuscripts are kept in the book collections of Uzbekistan. Unfortunately, these unique books have not been fully studied yet, they are waiting for their researchers and readers.
On the pages of these rare works one can find answers to many problems of our time. In particular, to this day, deep thoughts and ideas, which have not lost their relevance, which reveal the truly humanistic essence of Islam, call on all people, regardless of their nationality, religion and social status, for good, charity and harmony.
At the same time, we must frankly admit that we, being the heirs of such a unique heritage, have done far from all to study them, to acquaint them with our compatriots, especially the younger generation, and also the international community.
We talk a lot about the need to combat religious ignorance, against harmful currents – through enlightenment. This, of course, is correct. But where is this enlightenment, this knowledge – first of all, not in such books left to us by our great ancestors?
All our practical actions in this area are aimed at achieving precisely such a noble goal and cause great interest and attention not only in our country, but also abroad.
Therefore, it is unacceptable that in our society, possessing such priceless wealth, having advanced intellectuals, thousands of enlightened ulema, in our country, acting with important initiatives in this sphere, adherents of religious fundamentalism appeared.
Dear participants of the meeting!
In 2017, a great deal of work was done in the field of physical education and sports.
All of us are pleased with the sports successes of our youth. Declare themselves more and more new world and continental champions, international grandmasters in chess.
In the end of the year, Uzbek athletes achieved high results in various competitions in boxing, judo, taekwondo, weightlifting, freestyle wrestling, sambo.
2017 became a bright page in the history of the Uzbek national kurash. At a meeting of the General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia in September in Turkmenistan, it was decided to include this sport in the program of the Asian Games. Thus, at the 18th Asian Games to be held in Indonesia in 2018, athletes from different countries will also participate in contests for the Uzbek national kurash.
At present, we are working on improving the activities of the National Olympic Committee of Uzbekistan. Now the preparation for the Olympic Games and other prestigious competitions will be carried out on a new basis fully meeting the world standards.
Today, with this high rostrum, let me express my deep gratitude to all our young athletes, their mentors and coaches for their services in the development of our national sport, and wish them new victories.
Over the past period in the sphere of foreign policy, we have achieved significant results in the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations with foreign countries, primarily with neighboring countries.
In 2017, 21 high-level visits were held, meetings were held with leaders and representatives of more than 60 states and international organizations. As a result, more than 400 agreements have been concluded, and trade and investment contracts have been signed in total for almost 60 billion US dollars.
In order to timely implement the adopted documents, 40 “road maps” have been developed, which are carried out jointly with our foreign partners.
We have started to implement the principle of “The main priority of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy is Central Asia.” As a result, an absolutely new political atmosphere has been created in our region, interrelations based on mutual trust and good-neighborliness are being strengthened.
Strategic cooperation with Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan has been established. A number of important documents were signed to further deepen the strategic partnership with Kazakhstan, economic agreements were signed for 2 billion dollars. Cooperation with Tajikistan is also strengthening. There are airfare between Tashkent and Dushanbe.
The signing of the Treaty on the State Border with Kyrgyzstan was a serious step in ensuring security and stability in Central Asia.
Important agreements have been concluded on mutually beneficial cooperation with the neighboring Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, practical work has begun on new economic projects.
Effective agreements and agreements were also reached with Russia, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, Turkey, the United States, European Union countries, Muslim countries.
Uzbekistan at a new level is developing cooperation with such international structures as the United Nations, the Islamic Cooperation Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has been restored, and partnerships have been established with the European Investment Bank. The interaction with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Asian Bank for Infrastructure Investments is acquiring a dynamic character.
The positive changes taking place in the country increase interest in Uzbekistan in the international arena, serve to strengthen our status in the world community.
Of course, we can talk for a long time about the work that we carried out during the year. However, we are well aware that all these are only the first steps on the chosen by us difficult, but the only true way.
I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, economic associations and companies who actively participated in the implementation of the State Program “Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests” to all who contributed to this noble cause.
Dear participants of the meeting!
According to the good tradition that has developed in our country, we must now consult on the name of the upcoming new one, 2018.
We thought a lot about this issue. The appeals and letters received from our citizens during the year to the People’s Reception and Virtual reception area of the President, state bodies, judgments expressed during the meetings held at the local level, studied the opinion of the public.
Taking into account all the suggestions and recommendations made, I propose to name the new year of 2018 in our country as the Year of support of active entrepreneurship, innovative ideas and technologies.
In this connection, I would like to briefly dwell on the notion of active entrepreneurship. This is a direction in the economy, where business activity is organized on the basis of innovative, modern approaches, advanced technologies and management methods.
When we say “active entrepreneurs”, we mean business people capable of producing competitive products, most importantly – creating new jobs that benefit not only themselves and their family, but the whole society.
Our first priority should be to provide all possible support to entrepreneurs, in particular, to create favorable conditions for the importation and introduction of high-tech technologies and the latest achievements of science into production.
We also need to create broad opportunities for them to upgrade their skills, internships in leading foreign companies and organizations, and implement mutually beneficial cooperation with them.
Today we are moving to the path of innovative development aimed at radical improvement of all spheres of life of the state and society.
And this is natural. After all, who is winning in this rapidly developing world? Only a state that relies on a new thought, a new idea, an innovation.
Innovation means the future. If we begin today to build our great future, we must do this primarily on the basis of innovative ideas, an innovative approach.
That is why we organized the Ministry of Innovative Development and put before it specific tasks. We hope that this ministry will perform the role of a kind of locomotive in the implementation of the most important projects, not only in the economic sphere, but also in the life of our entire society.
In 2018, the focus will be on the development of research and innovation activities, the mobilization of necessary financial resources, the full support of the participation of gifted youth in this process, creative ideas and developments.
I. Priority directions for improving the system of state and public construction
Dear people’s representatives!
The need for an effective solution of the currently existing problems in society, the consistent continuation of large-scale reforms requires the creation of an entirely new system in public administration.
I think that the time has come for the development and adoption of the Law on Public Service.
Moreover, along with other important issues, it is necessary to envisage the creation of a system of remuneration and decent social security for civil servants and, at the same time, increasing the responsibility of officials.
In the field of management, first of all, we must introduce specific criteria and procedures for improving the performance of executive bodies, rational use of human and material resources.
Secondly, it is necessary to clearly define the procedure for implementing the tasks assigned to the executive authorities, the scope of their responsibilities.
Thirdly, it is necessary to reduce the administrative impact on the economy and the widespread use of market mechanisms. That is, it is required to limit the state’s participation in the creation of business structures, the development of appropriate market mechanisms, the transfer of certain functions of the state to the private sector.
Fourth, it is necessary to improve the methods and techniques that ensure close cooperation between representative bodies and executive bodies, and step-by-step to abandon the excessively centralized management.
It is necessary to provide government services directly on the ground, expand financial and other opportunities for local authorities. It is necessary to optimize and simplify the existing procedures, introduce innovative forms of management.
Fifth, it is necessary to reform the civil service institution, introduce effective mechanisms to combat corruption.
Today, life itself requires us to form a professional, mobile and result-oriented system of public service, to develop an effective system that opens the way for initiative, thinking in a new way, devoted to the homeland and the people cadres.
In the implementation of these tasks, the Guidelines for us should be the Concept of Administrative Reform in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
As you know, in order to effectively combat corruption in the country, a separate law was adopted.
A corresponding state program is consistently implemented, which includes measures aimed at achieving specific goals in this area.
As a result, for 9 months of this year, the number of crimes related to corruption, compared to the same period last year decreased by 33 percent.
We should consider such indicators as the first results of our long struggle against corruption and even more resolutely to work in this direction.
I think it appropriate to dwell on the role and significance of the parliament, deputies and senators in enhancing the effectiveness of the reforms we are implementing.
During the July 12 meeting with the members of the Oliy Majlis, it was emphasized that the parliament of our country should become a true school of democracy, the initiator and decisive force in the implementation of reforms, and we approved a program of practical measures.
But what is the benefit to our society from the execution of this program, which of the deputies or senators contributed to the simplification of the lives of our people, the solution of their pressing problems in the spheres of public health, ecology, communal services, education and others?
Unfortunately, our people do not see concrete examples of such care in life, in the press, or on television. Only on paper remained the call to our deputies, the senators to become more active.
Of the 136 legislative initiatives that were submitted during the year, only 27 were nominated by deputies, and mainly concern the introduction of changes and additions to existing laws based on decrees and decisions of the President. This alone alone does not indicate a lack of effectiveness in the activities of our parliament?
Is it necessary to implement only the decrees and resolutions of the President to implement reforms? After all, the parliament is called upon to develop effective laws aimed at radical improvement of various spheres.
Unfortunately, the activity of our parliament in many respects is to hold formal meetings. Why are the problems identified or raised by the electorate not resolved through the adoption of relevant laws or a resolute statement of the issue to the executive branch?
Dear deputies, our people are waiting for you to answer these questions. Gone are the days when there was an opinion, they say, we are elected deputies or senators, now we can live peacefully.
The Parliament of our country was recommended to promote the introduction of a businesslike, constructive, self-critical spirit in the activities of local Kengashes, the work of the health care system, the sphere of early warning of crime and delinquency.
However, the role of parliament and deputies in these spheres is not enough.
Today we can not say that in any region the services rendered to the population by health care institutions meet the requirements of the times.
It would be advisable if the Legislative Chamber (N. Ismoilov) paid more attention to solving problems in this area. For example, it would be possible to set up a separate health committee in the lower chamber of the Oliy Majlis and organize the work of deputies – its members mainly on the ground.
If you look at the reports, you get the impression that there are positive changes in the activity of the local Kengashes, but this is expressed only in figures. We do not need numbers, but concrete results.
Only if the situation in the regions improves, when the budget is enforced, crime will decrease, new jobs will appear in the required quantity, and, most importantly, the people’s standard of living will improve, only then can the work of local Kengashes be evaluated positively.
Unfortunately, in none of the districts the activities of the Kengash of People’s Deputies are organized at the proper level.
The leadership of the Senate (N. Yuldoshev) should critically, taking into account the opinions of citizens, consider the activities of the upper house in this direction and take the necessary measures to radically change the work of the representative bodies.
It is also necessary not to allow the weakening of work on the prevention of violations in the regions and increasing the effectiveness of the fight against crime.
In the most important direction of the activity of the Parliament – lawmaking, there are also a number of mistakes and shortcomings.
It should be recognized that the adoption of laws and by-laws that in most cases do not contribute to the resolution of any specific issues, and sometimes contradict each other, in practice leads to a multitude of problems.
The question is, who needs the ineffective working groups that are being created, as well as the “dead” laws that do not affect law enforcement practice and do not have enforcement mechanisms?
In order to prevent such negative phenomena, we must develop and implement the Concept of Improving Lawmaking and Rulemaking.
Henceforth, we will critically review the practice of enacting laws in the framework of implementing various programs.
We must all be well aware that the only source and the author of the law must be the people.
From now on, opinions and proposals on each bill will come directly from citizens, local Kengashes of People’s Deputies.
In the process of adopting laws, we must effectively use the system of wide discussion of draft laws by the population. To organize such a discussion, the leadership of the Oliy Majlis needs to create special “sites” on the Internet.
For citizens to express their position on important issues relating to the life of our state and society, it is advisable to create a special web page “My opinion”.
As the advanced mechanism of democracy, it is proposed to introduce the procedure for introducing collective electronic treatment.
In other words, the mandatory consideration by Oliy Majlis or Kengashi of people’s deputies of initiatives put forward by groups of citizens should be legally enshrined.
Recently we have created the Institute of Problems of Legislation and Parliamentary Studies under the Oliy Majlis. It is called to become a kind of scientific center, deeply analyzing the various proposals coming to the Oliy Majlis.
Another important issue is that further strengthening of the role of the chambers of the Oliy Majlis and political parties is necessary for a comprehensive study of the state of affairs in all spheres, the development of effective measures and the solution of existing problems.
It is also necessary to get rid of the practice of chasing numbers. If instead of solving hundreds of problems on paper you actually solve at least a few problems, then the voters will be satisfied with your work, dear deputies.
Most importantly, our citizens, on the example of their own lives, should feel the ongoing transformation, feel that there really are representatives in the system of state power.
Ensuring inter-party competition, creating equal conditions for all political actors is an important condition for strengthening the role of parliament.
As is known, the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan, organized in 2008, has turned into a real political force over the past period. However, it should be recognized that the inclusion of representatives of the movement in the lower house of parliament on the basis of a predetermined quota does not help to increase their activity and initiative.
I think that the time has come to create equal conditions for all political forces and to stop quoting places in the Legislative Chamber for representatives of the Ecological Movement. The introduction of this change will strengthen the healthy competition in the political arena and will serve to strengthen the Ecological Movement as a separate political force.
In this connection, I would also like to dwell on electoral legislation, which is of great importance in our political life. The 6 laws and a number of by-laws adopted in this sphere, unfortunately, have not yet been harmonized as a single document.
It is necessary to develop and adopt a single Electoral Code that meets international norms and standards.
Also today, we should begin to develop a program of measures to prepare for elections to representative bodies of power, which will be held in 2019. In the program, special attention should be given to organizing this political process in an even more open spirit, which corresponds to best practice.
The next important issue before us in order to create even more favorable conditions for the population is a radical increase in the quality and expansion of public services.
Therefore, under the Ministry of Justice, we have organized a new structure – the State Services Agency, which will coordinate and supervise the work on their provision by all government departments.
Henceforth, the centers of public services of this Agency, which will begin to operate under the People’s Reception, will provide prompt and quality services not only to entrepreneurs, but to all citizens.
The actual issue is still the planning of the activities of state bodies, increasing its effectiveness.
At the present time, there is no specific criterion for objectively assessing the activities of a particular agency for the past period. For example, I do not know yet by what criteria the work of the Ministry of Economy or another department is evaluated.
Therefore, ministries and departments, khokimiyats of all levels in determining the forecast parameters should outline specific quantitative and qualitative indicators of the expected results of their activities.
In this connection, it is necessary to review the structure and tasks of state bodies. In order to avoid mistakes in this area, it is necessary to take deeply thought out decisions, to receive a positive conclusion from the Commission on the implementation of the Concept of Administrative Reform.
To ensure the effectiveness of the measures taken, it is extremely important to ensure coordinated work of the executive authorities.
Unfortunately, today the lack of a clear delineation of responsibility, the definition of its degree in terms of activities, mechanisms of authority prevents it from achieving this goal.
In this connection, in the sphere of public administration, it is necessary to introduce a system for making effective decisions based on their openness and transparency.
It is advisable to revise the principles and mechanisms of interaction between government bodies and the Cabinet of Ministers. Each ministry is obliged to ensure the implementation of state policy in the sphere entrusted to it and fully responsible for the final result.
Subordination to relevant ministries directly cooperating with the government and parliament of agencies, committees, inspections and centers, which operate in a status equivalent to ministries. In view of this, a critical review and optimization of the tasks and structure of the government is necessary.
Such changes will serve to reduce more than a hundred bodies of state and economic management, performing almost identical functions.
One of the major shortcomings of our activities is the excessive centralization of the functions and powers of the state.
For example, at present there are 64 types of licenses, 21 of them are issued by the Cabinet of Ministers and 40 are by central departments. The issuance of three types of licenses refers to the powers of the regional khokimiyats and only one – the district khokimiyats.
This state of affairs can also be observed in the sphere of processing documents related to licensing procedures.
Only 11 of the 220 permits can be obtained in districts or cities. The remaining 209 have to apply to the republican and regional bodies. Is this normal?
For example, to obtain a license to open a private kindergarten in Shavatsky district, an entrepreneur must overcome a thousand kilometers, go to Tashkent and wait for months.
The same facts are also observed in the selection, placement of personnel, the allocation of credit and financial resources, the approval of many important decisions at the local level.
How can you understand that local authorities do not have the authority even to solve simple questions?
All this has a negative impact on the independent work of the structures in solving urgent social and economic problems on the ground.
It is necessary to abandon the excessive centralization of state administration and transfer many powers of central bodies to territorial bodies.
Taking into account all these circumstances, the position of deputies of regional, city and regional hokims for attracting investments was introduced. In addition, a resolution was adopted on further increasing the responsibility of tax, financial and economic bodies for the formation of local budgets, the creation of additional reserves. The powers of local authorities in reforming the budgetary system have been expanded.
Now the heads of the regional, city and regional khokimiyats should take advantage of the opportunities provided and take responsibility for solving pressing problems on the ground.
One of the urgent tasks in the near future is the complete transfer of authority to the hokims of districts and cities in the selection and placement of personnel responsible for the social and economic development of the territories.
From now on, the appointment of the heads of local departments of public health, public education, economy, finance, tax inspection and other structures for the post and dismissal will be carried out by the district hokim.
Similar powers of regional and Tashkent city khokimiyats will also be revised.
Along with giving such wide powers and independence to local leaders, we must also radically increase their responsibility for the end result.
Another important task is connected with the division of powers of hokims as leaders of executive and representative government.
In recent years, the role of the Kengashes of People’s Deputies, the powers of the people’s representatives have been strengthened. The powers of political parties have been gradually expanded in the formation of local government bodies, deputy control over executive bodies has been strengthened.
At the same time, it must be admitted that practice, when hokim is simultaneously the leader of both the local Kengash and the executive body, does not comply with democratic principles.
It is known that hokims report to local Kengash on important and urgent issues of territorial development. And the Kengashi, in turn, make the appropriate decision.
Probably, it is worth asking the question: is it possible to consider such an order of things as normal, when, as a result, does the hokim give an assessment of his activity?
Today, life itself proves that such a system negatively affects the activity of both khokims and local Kengashes.
Therefore, at present we are working to resolve this issue at the legislative level.
Our important task should be to create conditions for the implementation of public control through its representatives over the activities of the khokims for the development of the territories, the implementation of the local budget, and the solution of communal issues.
In today’s reality, it is the reporting, openness and responsibility of officials to society that are an important condition for the effective functioning of the state apparatus.
From this point of view, in the near future, in the Internet, it is necessary to create a single platform for the implementation of all state purchases and the sale of state property. This will reduce budget expenditures, effectively manage state property and save large financial resources.
It should be specially noted that in the reforms aimed at building an open civil society, ensuring the protection of human rights and freedoms, an important role belongs to non-state non-profit organizations.
Currently, there are more than 9,000 NGOs in the country, there are branches and representative offices of 29 international and foreign non-governmental organizations.
Separate decrees and decrees have been adopted to improve the activities of such non-governmental non-profit organizations as the Nuroniy Foundation, the Youth Union, the Council of Farmers, Dehkan Farms and Household Landowners, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Republican Council for Coordinating the Activities of Citizens’ Self-Government Bodies, and their support.
However, despite such measures, the participation of public organizations in systematic study of the population’s problems, their resolution, especially in supporting women in difficult social situations, preventing crime and crime among youth and women, their employment is not properly felt. These organizations mainly deal with formal events.
I think that the relevant conclusions will be drawn from today’s criticism, and NGOs will step up their work.
In order to organize effective cooperation with non-governmental non-profit organizations, I consider it expedient to create an Advisory Council for the Development of Civil Society under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
I want to dwell on one more urgent problem in this area. So far, no specific legal mechanism has been created to implement public control over the activities of state bodies.
This, in turn, hinders the objective assessment by non-state non-profit organizations of the performance by state bodies and officials of the tasks assigned to them.
Proceeding from this, in order to introduce effective and practical mechanisms for implementing public control in public and public administration, I propose to accelerate the adoption of the Law on Public Control and create public councils with all state bodies.
These public councils should ensure the openness of the activities of state bodies and act as a liaison with the population.
At present, the mass media are an important and effective factor in strengthening democratic principles in the life of society.
In order to form professional and modern journalism, it is necessary to pay attention to the financial support of the mass media, in particular, new non-state information and analytical websites, and to create for this purpose a special state fund.
Today in our country there are more than 1500 mass media. They differ in the form of ownership, direction, method of information transfer. Undoubtedly, they all need highly qualified personnel. Unfortunately, the country does not yet have a corresponding basic higher education institution, which centrally would solve these large-scale tasks at a high level.
In this regard, I consider it necessary to form a University of Journalism and Mass Communication.
II. Priorities for ensuring the rule of law and further reform of the judicial and legal system
Dear deputies and senators!
I do not tire of repeating one truth: our main task should be to establish the principle of justice in the life of society.
This year, large-scale work has begun to ensure the true independence of the judiciary. In particular, in order to further improve the structure of the courts and the system of selection and appointment of judges, the Supreme Judicial Council was created.
The Council established effective public control over the selection and appointment of judges.
We need to continue reforms in this industry. I think that for this purpose it would be expedient to create a commission for the promotion of the independence of the judiciary under the Oliy Majlis.
This commission, based on the generalization of citizens’ appeals, issues raised during direct meetings, and through parliamentary inquiry, must analyze the real situation and, together with the Supreme Court and the Supreme Judicial Council, take measures to resolve the problems identified.
To ensure the true independence of the judiciary, it is first and foremost necessary to protect judges from the factors that influence the administration of justice. It is important to identify cases of interference in the investigation and work of the court, to increase responsibility for this and to ensure the inevitability of punishment.
We will consistently continue to work on the introduction of the “Habeas Corpus” institute and strengthen judicial control during the investigation. Proceeding from this, it is necessary to transfer to courts the right to issue a sanction for conducting a search and listening to telephone conversations of persons suspected of committing a crime.
We will pay special attention to the liberalization of certain acts and their exclusion from the category of crimes, and to mitigate criminal punishment from the point of view of humanism.
In this regard, it is necessary to adopt and implement the Concept for the Development of Criminal and Criminal Procedural Legislation in 2018-2021.
Following the traditions of charity and generosity of our people, it is necessary to revise the limitation period for bringing to criminal responsibility.
At the same time, in order to train highly qualified judges, we need to establish the Academy of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
As it was noted at the solemn meeting dedicated to the Constitution Day, in Uzbekistan categorically there will be no categorically allowed cases of torture, mental and physical impact, other types of violence towards people arrested and brought to criminal responsibility.
An employee who committed such an act, or a person who carried out someone’s “order”, will be compulsorily brought to justice.
Of particular importance is the further improvement of legislation on the enforcement of criminal penalties, while taking into account the creation of additional mechanisms to ensure the rights of convicts.
Based on a critical study of the system of penal institutions, it is planned to adopt a program of appropriate measures in 2018-2022.
In order to prevent human rights violations, all temporary detention facilities and pre-trial detention centers, penal institutions will be equipped with video surveillance facilities.
Beginning next year, we will provide road patrol and patrol services of the internal affairs agencies with video cameras that allow recording the progress of their duties, especially communication with citizens. This system will serve to prevent cases of bribery and abuse.
Currently, the outdated location of road patrol posts between the regions restricts freedom of movement and has a negative impact on trade and economic relations, the development of domestic and external tourism.
Today there are more than 60 such posts on the territory of our country. For example, an ordinary citizen by car from Khorezm to Tashkent will pass 17 posts, and from the Fergana Valley – 8 posts.
In this regard, it is necessary to eliminate all road patrol posts on the borders of the regions, significantly reduce the number of stationary patrol posts.
Proceeding from the tasks of building a legal democratic state, we must improve the system of training legal personnel, who are called upon to have comprehensive knowledge, high qualifications, meeting international standards, dedicated to their profession.
Currently, about 600 students are admitted to higher educational institutions in the legal profession, which is only one percent of the total number of students enrolled in all higher educational institutions of the country.
Can this satisfy the ever-growing need of our state and society for lawyers?
Of course not.
Along with the expansion of the educational and methodological base of the Tashkent State Law University, it is necessary to open branches of prestigious foreign universities in this direction in the country.
As is known, in recent years a certain work has been carried out in our country to develop the legal profession. We must take measures to further improve the activities of lawyers in providing consulting services and legal assistance to business entities.
We need to create conditions for lawyers to expand their activities in the most popular types of consulting services, in particular, assistance to entrepreneurs in issuing permits, representation in state bodies, pre-trial resolution of disputes, provision of legal services for labor issues, and raising the legal literacy of the population.
Unfortunately, until now, in most cases, the main task of law enforcement and judicial bodies remains the implementation of repressive measures.
In this regard, I want to emphasize: our people are tired of being brought to justice on the basis of false pretenses and false evidence. Let all the law enforcement officers remember this well.
The time has passed for intervention in all spheres, hiding behind the “office” and acting in their own interests, neglecting the interests of the Motherland and the people.
Henceforth, no person should be held accountable on the basis of fictitious evidence, slander and slander. It is necessary to create reliable guarantees to ensure that the norms of the Constitution and laws are strictly observed.
We must create a system in accordance with which no law enforcement agency will go beyond its powers, duplicate the functions of the other.
Thus, the internal affairs bodies should deal with the maintenance of public order and security, the national security agencies – protection of the state from internal and external threats. The prosecutor’s office is called upon to oversee the execution of laws. The main task of the courts is to ensure justice, making a legal, justified and fair decision in each case.
To this end, during the year, extensive work is under way to radically reform the activities of the courts, the prosecutor’s office and the law-enforcement bodies.
Specific tasks of these departments are determined, their activity is aimed at serving the interests of the people.
Of course, it is too early to say that the laws, decrees and decrees adopted in this sphere are fully implemented.
Despite the measures taken, the internal affairs bodies have not yet become a structure that really cares about the people.
Insufficient is the work of the prosecutor’s office to ensure the rule of law in society.
The judiciary also did not become an institution where justice is triumphant under any circumstances.
It can not be said that the activities of all employees of these departments are fully oriented toward protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens.
Therefore, in the future we will continue steadily and consistently reforms in this area.
The people themselves will assess the work of judicial and law enforcement bodies.
For them, the only and highest requirement is to serve the interests of citizens and the strict protection of their rights.
The main thing is not to allow concentration of all powers and resources in the hands of one agency, violation of the principle of checks and balances.
At the same time, it should be noted that at present the National Security Service bodies act on the basis of the Regulation approved by the government 26 years ago.
It should be emphasized that for more than a quarter of a century this provision has not changed, and any problems were assessed as a threat to national security, which led to an unjustified expansion of the authority of this department.
At the same time, the unstable situation in some regions of the world leads to the intensification of migration processes, and this, in turn, promotes the spread of terrorism and extremism and turning them into a global problem.
In such circumstances, the priority task should be to preserve our national statehood, independence, peaceful and peaceful life, and the security of our people.
From this point of view, taking into account the growing threats of modernity, it is time to reform the activities of the National Security Service.
In this regard, I propose to develop and adopt laws “On law enforcement agencies” and “On the National Security Service”.
I think the adoption of these laws will create strong and reliable guarantees for the further strengthening of constitutional rights and freedoms, the happy life of our citizens.
III. Priority directions of development and liberalization of the economy
We all well understand that any reform and any changes can not be implemented without a stable economy.
Last year we started a large-scale work in this direction.
At the same time, we still have many tasks to strengthen the national economy in order to enter a number of developed countries.
Today, the number of countries developing dynamically through the introduction of models of innovative development, export of advanced ideas, know-how and smart technologies is growing in the world.
Unfortunately, we can not say that the work done in this country in this direction is satisfactory.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Uzbekistan occupies the 134th position in the world rating of 187 countries in terms of gross domestic product per capita.
At the same time, Uzbekistan has the richest natural resources, significant economic potential. In its bowels there are large reserves of gold, silver, copper, uranium, oil, natural gas, coal and other minerals. In our country you can find all the elements of the periodic table.
Tell me, where else is such a fertile land, the optimal climate with a lot of sunny days in the year?
The point is to use this priceless wealth rationally and effectively in the name of the people’s interests. However, we must admit that we are lagging behind in this matter.
For example, in 2017, the volume of natural gas production in the country amounted to 56.5 billion cubic meters. But due to unrealized modernization of the industry for several years, its losses remain extremely high – 20-23 percent.
Naturally, this state of affairs should disturb us all.
The economy, first of all, relies on an accurate calculation. In each of our cases, the calculation should be in the first place.
For example, in 2018 we have to extract 66 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Of these, 17 billion cubic meters will be supplied by Uzbekenergo. This will generate 56 billion kilowatts of electricity. Unfortunately, we have obsolete transmission lines. As a result of losses, 15-20 percent of electricity does not reach the consumers, is wasted in the network itself.
Or one more example. Enterprises that are part of the JSC “Uzkimyosanoat” consume 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas. On this basis, mineral fertilizers are produced. Farms did not timely pay for their supply, as a result of the enterprise “Uzkimyosanoat” as of December 1, 2017 owed 890 billion soums for natural gas.
It is clear to everyone that in the market conditions, both the supplier of products and the consumer must timely and fully fulfill their contractual obligations in order to prevent such situations.
A serious problem remains the outdated system of management in the economy, inactive implementation of innovative ideas. Also, an obstacle to economic development is the technological gap and the use of alternative energy sources.
Moreover, the development of the economy is hampered by serious mistakes in the definition and implementation of promising major projects, the irrational direction of foreign loans.
For example, according to experts and specialists, most of the credits received over 25 years did not give the planned economic effect. For example, the Ustyurt gas chemical complex built in Karakalpakstan does not bring the expected economic benefits. And some “figures” from the Ministry of Finance in their time to the whole world declared that this is the best project in the world. But where is the specific result?
This situation is also observed with a number of social programs related to people’s urgent needs. For example, in order to provide the population with drinking water over the past 10 years, more than 618 million dollars of foreign loans were attracted within the framework of 17 projects. If such a volume of currency was aimed at improving the living conditions of the people with the achievement of a concrete effect, we should thank the initiators of these projects – the heads of the economic complex. But, unfortunately, none of the projects started has been completed.
First of all, we need to create an effective system of attracting foreign loans and investments, learn how to use every cent carefully.
From this point of view, the formation of an innovative program, the training of new generation personnel that make use of innovations and investments efficiently, support the development of a class of owners become important.
To do this, we need a thoroughly thought-out program of technological development of Uzbekistan and modernization of the domestic market.
The implementation of this program should create new opportunities for Uzbekistan to gain a worthy place among the developed countries of the world.
We are well aware that the understated prices for basic energy resources in our country do not justify themselves in a market economy.
For example, in Uzbekistan, the price per 1 megawatt hour of electricity for the population and industrial enterprises is $ 25. In Germany, for the population – 332 dollars, for businesses – 144 dollars. In Russia, respectively, 47 and 51 dollars, in India – 68 and 87 dollars.
Also, the price of 1000 cubic meters of natural gas in Uzbekistan is 32.9 dollars, in Sweden – 1552 dollars, Portugal – more than 1132 dollars, Italy – 1045 dollars, Germany – 785 dollars, England – over 770 dollars. In Russia, this figure exceeds $ 83, in Kazakhstan – $ 45. As you can see, the prices for electricity and natural resources are several times lower than in developed countries. However, due to inefficient use of resources, it is difficult to achieve a reduction in the cost of production.
To increase the efficiency of energy resources, we need to reform the energy industry of the country, develop a specific strategy in this direction.
First of all, it is necessary to privatize inefficient, unprofitable enterprises, liquidate a monopoly, create a competitive environment in the sphere of electricity supply, and stimulate the use of alternative energy sources. This requires the transition to market-based mechanisms for financing production, with a broad involvement of the private sector.
In connection with the announcement in 2018, Year of support of active entrepreneurship, innovative ideas and technologies, comprehensive measures will be taken to support this sphere, remove barriers and obstacles to the dynamic and stable development of business entities.
Unfortunately, there are still many problems in the development of entrepreneurial activity.
Why is the development of entrepreneurship in our country not at the proper level? Frankly, we, the state bodies, are partly to blame for this. Still there are people who do not need procedures, many officials on the ground pursue only their own selfish goals.
When it comes to this, one can not help recalling the words of the famous statesman and politician Winston Churchill: “Someone thinks that the entrepreneur is a cow that can be milked constantly. And only a few understand that an entrepreneur is a workhorse that pulls the economy on its own. “
I think there is no need to comment on these words.
The demand for a market economy is such that access to resources and opportunities should be the same for all, without any advantages.
From this point of view, it is not fair to say that the import of products needed to meet the needs of our population is concentrated in the hands of individual groups and has become for them a source of unreasonable enrichment.
By granting special privileges to some enterprises, we ourselves prevent free competition and thus adversely affect the stability of prices.
Henceforth, we will abandon this practice. In this issue, all will be created equal conditions. Privileges will be granted to individual enterprises rather than to individual types of production and services. It is absolutely unacceptable that, thanks to such benefits, the important spheres of the economy are completely monopolized.
In order to create equal and fair competition, the draft Decree “On Measures for Further Effective Provision of Food Security of the Country” was developed and submitted for public discussion.
It is known that the complexity of our customs procedures is one of the main factors hindering the development of entrepreneurship.
According to the World Bank, Uzbekistan occupies the 175th place among 190 states on registration of export-import documents.
For example, it takes just one hour to process customs documents in Belgium, this takes almost a month.
Imported goods undergo a separate customs inspection. Why is the same cargo checked on the territory of our country several times? Who is interested in this? After all, each test requires expenditure.
In addition, depending on the types of goods, they can not be removed from the warehouse without certificates of conformity, hygiene or veterinary. Do not we have every customs warehouse equipped with an express laboratory? How open and transparent are the customs processes, why are the agencies responsible for the sphere silent about this?
In all developed countries, customs clearance is carried out based on the data of the security alert system. This saves both public resources and the time of entrepreneurs. But we still do not have such a system.
Starting next year, we will implement it for entrepreneurs, that is, the order of passage through the “green” or “red” corridor will be established depending on the honesty of the entrepreneur.
In this connection, the Cabinet of Ministers (A.Aripov) is instructed to prepare a draft of the relevant resolution within two months and submit it for approval in accordance with the established procedure.
At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen the fight against illegal inspections, groundless interference in the activities of private business, and revise the system of verification of business entities.
It must be recognized that the work of the Republican Council for Coordinating the Activities of the Controlling Bodies does not meet the requirements of the times.
Think for yourself, and the working body, and conducting the largest number of inspections, the controlling body is the tax authority. It allows inspections and checks itself, where is the logic?
Therefore, I think it is advisable to switch to an electronic system for issuing permits for inspections and to impose appropriate controls on the General Prosecutor’s Office.
At the same time, proceeding from the announcement of 2018 as the Year of support of active entrepreneurship, innovative ideas and technologies, we intend to stop inspecting financial and economic activities for 2 years. How do you look at this?
It is necessary that the heads of the supervisory bodies, headed by the Prosecutor General, meet monthly with active entrepreneurs, listen to the problems that concern them, take measures to identify and eliminate the shortcomings that impede their legitimate activities.
In the reliable protection of the rights of entrepreneurs, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry should not be left out. At the same time, it should not be limited to discussing the shortcomings committed by state bodies and officials, but strictly condemning unseemly acts, especially those committed by entrepreneurs. Simply put, the business community itself must ensure the purity of its ranks.
Another important issue is that for the further development of the stock market and the stock exchange in the country, it is necessary to radically revise the work of the Center for Coordination and Development of the Securities Market.
We will continue to work on transferring the empty state-owned objects to the private sector on the basis of partnership.
It is necessary to establish a unified procedure for the provision of land plots, including for entrepreneurs through electronic auctions and auctions on the Internet. To this end, from 2018, a system will be established for the sale of state assets through electronic trading platforms.
In the development of the economy an important role is played by a reliable and stable banking and financial system. Without increasing the confidence of the population and business entities in it, we will not be able to completely free ourselves from the “shadow” economy.
In the implementation of the planned tasks for the development of the banking system in 2018, the main attention should be paid to ensuring fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation between banks and business entities.
Despite the doubts and “advice” of certain “experts”, opponents of currency market reform, we began to liberalize the currency in a short time, taking into account international standards. But we are well aware that this is only the beginning of reforms in this area.
Currency policy should fully meet the interests of business and economic development, be a positive incentive for investment activities.
In 2018, we will refrain from drastic measures in the implementation of the tax policy, since during the reform period, the stability of the budget is vital for the smooth functioning of the state system.
In order to increase the attractiveness of the country for investors intending to implement large investment projects in Uzbekistan, we have much to do to improve the tax system. It is necessary to reduce and optimize the tax burden for all categories of business, on this basis, expand production and tax base.
The subjects of small business and private entrepreneurs building objects for their own needs must be granted the right to install a single tax payment by installments. At the same time, it is necessary to stimulate the payment of value-added tax by small enterprises.
In addition, it is necessary to pursue a policy of stimulating dynamically developing, enlarging enterprises.
When granting tax benefits, I propose to abandon individual benefits and move to their application only for certain sectors of the economy.
The main thing, from the point of view of investors, the tax system for a long time must remain specific and understandable. In this regard, the tax system should pursue a carefully thought-out, long-term policy.
We need to review the budget system, ensure transparency for the people of budget revenues and expenditures.
It should be noted that the Senate approved the most important laws concerning the State Budget of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2018 and the improvement of the tax system.
When signing these laws, I will pay special attention to the extent to which they reflect the interests of our people, provide for specific measures to create even more favorable conditions for entrepreneurs and investors, as well as the development of the territories. If necessary, I am ready to review these laws in terms of the interests of ordinary people and entrepreneurs.
Dear friends, what do you think is our biggest problem?
We do not have a carefully planned, long-term unified concept for the formation of investment programs.
During each of the state visits, we conclude agreements on attracting foreign investments for several billion dollars. But their implementation is slow, because in this area we do not have an efficient system.
The current investment programs do not contain information regarding a particular project. When formulating programs, the Ministry of Economy, local khokimiyats are still chasing numbers.
To this end, they are engaged in the inclusion in the program of not bringing economic benefits, unpromising projects with unclear sources of financing, groundless overestimation of the cost of projects, in a word, fraud.
It’s time to stop these phenomena. We decided to eliminate them and attract investments in the real sector of the economy, introducing completely new mechanisms for the formation of projects.
We completely abandoned the adoption of fictitious investment programs, hastily designed only for the “tick”. Henceforth, the concepts of long-term development will be developed. To this end, the State Development Programs of the Republic of Uzbekistan were adopted as a first step and a Fund for their financing was established.
In the development of the economy, one of the important tasks is to involve the population in the form of investment, increase people’s interest in entrepreneurship.
To this end, I propose to open an Investment Portal on the Internet that provides local and foreign investors with the necessary statistical data and provides information on the conditions created in the country for doing business.
Based on foreign experience, it is necessary for all investors to create a free 24-hour mobile phone connection. We also need to think about the system of stimulating foreign investors, so that they do not hurry to withdraw their capital and seek to reinvest.
It is necessary to increase the activity of hokims, heads of state bodies and organizations in terms of expanding cooperation with foreign investors, creating new types of production, and jobs.
Beginning next year, a rating will be published on the conditions created for investors, and the activities of regional leaders will also be assessed on the basis of these indicators.
As you know, the embassies of our country are operating in 33 countries of the world today. In this regard, the question arises: Does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs make full use of the available opportunities to increase the investment attractiveness of our country, to attract foreign investment? Does the work of advisers on trade and economic issues of the embassies meet modern requirements?
Unfortunately, for our diplomats, the issues of economy and investment remain secondary. They are only concerned with “politics.” The embassies do not have enough specialists on economics, finance, and investments.
In this regard, I propose to introduce a system for assessing the economic knowledge and skills of each embassy employee when appointing him to the position.
It should be noted that in the foreign economic sphere there are still large opportunities and reserves that have not been used.
Dear participants of the meeting!
I would like to touch upon such an urgent topic as the key tasks facing the leading branch of our economy – agriculture.
We discussed this in detail at the December 9 meeting dedicated to the Day of Agricultural Workers.
Without repeating what has been said, I consider it necessary to draw your attention to the following important questions.
As is known, today more than 51 percent of the population of our country lives in rural areas. However, the share of agricultural products in the country’s gross domestic product does not exceed 17 percent. And the volume of agricultural products processing does not reach 10 percent. Although in developed countries this indicator exceeds 50 percent.
In this regard, I consider it necessary to develop a comprehensive program for further reform of agriculture, attaching special importance to ensuring food security.
Attention should be paid to establishing strict control over preventing the cultivation of genetically modified food products.
Of course, we can not help but worry about the fact that in recent years more and more imported fruit and vegetable products are becoming available in the markets of our country.
To overcome such a negative trend, it is necessary first of all to restore our endangered traditional varieties of vegetables and fruits, to establish rational and effective selection work, to widely introduce scientific achievements and innovative developments into the sphere.
As is known, Uzbekistan’s textile industry is capable of processing up to 1 million 400 thousand tons of cotton fiber. This is enough to fully meet the raw materials needs of domestic manufacturers of finished products.
However, in managing the processing of cotton fiber, there are still many problems, which leads to a decrease in the profitability of production and processing of raw cotton.
In connection with the need to address the problems in the industry and stimulate domestic producers, a separate presidential decree was adopted.
So far, we have been selling cotton raw materials to domestic textile enterprises only through the joint stock company “Uzpahtasanoat”. According to the decree, they will now be able to purchase raw cotton directly from private farms on the basis of direct contracts.
Within the framework of the organization of cotton-textile clusters in Navoi, Bukhara and Syrdarya regions, the system of cultivation, pricing and sale of cotton raw materials on the basis of market mechanisms has been approved.
Time itself requires the mastery of this positive experience throughout the country.
With regard to livestock, it is necessary to create conditions for the growth of livestock, as well as the productivity of poultry, improving the quality of products.
In the short term, we need to create in each district specialized complexes for fattening cattle, high-tech poultry factories and greenhouse farms.
At present, we export fruit and vegetable products for 1.5-2 billion dollars. In this context, I would like to note: we have every opportunity to export this product for 10-15 billion dollars a year.
In its procurement and export, UzAgroExport, stock exchanges, agro firms and wholesale purchase companies should play a big role.
At the same time, it is very important to effectively organize the sale of agricultural products. To this end, it is necessary to create a single database on the volumes of grown products in the context of farms.
Dear people’s representatives!
I would also like to dwell briefly on the tasks of accelerated economic development of the regions.
In this regard, I consider it expedient to expand the powers, opportunities and responsibilities of local government bodies in this matter.
In 9 districts of the country to this day there has not been organized any enterprise with the participation of foreign investments. Direct investments mainly fall on the city of Tashkent, Tashkent, Samarkand and Ferghana Valley.
Regional projects for the organization of modern industries and engineering and communications networks need to be implemented on the basis of expanding public-private partnerships.
However, it should be noted that work in this direction is not at the proper level.
Therefore, we need to develop and implement the Concept of implementing public-private partnership.
An important area of the economy, which has a large but not fully exploited potential, is construction.
Next year, reforming and accelerating the development of this sphere will become one of the main tasks. We must seriously think about the creation of modern construction and contracting organizations and the preparation of a new generation of builders.
To this end, a program for the innovative development of the construction industry will be developed until 2030.
We will create all the necessary conditions for attracting highly qualified foreign specialists and internships of domestic specialists abroad.
Next year, work will continue to further improve the architectural appearance of our cities and villages.
We must not forget: any building, whether it is a kindergarten or a hospital, in addition to performing its immediate functions, externally affects the mood of people. Therefore, we should abandon the old templates and introduce innovative approaches to the design of social facilities, the construction of which is planned in the regions.
Taking into account the needs of the population, especially young families, owners of old houses and citizens of other categories, we must continue to build affordable and high-quality housing at a high rate.
To this end, specific plans have been developed to increase the construction of standard and affordable housing by 1.5 times in 2018 as compared to 2017.
Another important issue related to this sphere is that it is necessary to radically review the activities of private homeowner associations. We count on effective and proactive work in this direction of the new Ministry of Housing and Communal Services.
In the next year, projects to provide the population with clean drinking water and sanitation will be implemented in many localities, primarily in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, Khorezm, Bukhara, Jizzakh, Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya and Syrdarya regions. This will provide about 580 thousand inhabitants of the regions with drinking water supply.
Dear participants of the meeting!
In 2018, in order to build new roads, further develop the transport and logistics infrastructure, improve the quality of services provided, we plan to:
firstly, to restore railways with a length of 180 kilometers and electrify more than 200 kilometers of railways;
second, to organize the movement of the Tashkent-Urgench-Khiva high-speed train and the Tashkent-Samarkand-Bukhara-Urgench-Khiva tourist train, to put into operation the Southern Station of Tashkent and the new station of Khiva;
Third, electrify the lines of Bukhara-Misken and Karshi-Kitab, and also connect them with Shakhrisabz through a new network of railways;
fourth, to speed up the construction of the Sergeliyskaya and the second line of the Yunusabad lines of the Tashkent Metro, the elevated metro line along the large ring road of our capital;
fifth, to organize large automobile and railway transit hubs by building a modern infrastructure with quality service.
Unfortunately, in recent years, little attention has been paid to the introduction of strategic aerospace technologies in the leading sectors of our economy.
To develop this progressive sphere, it will be necessary to attract foreign investors to implement projects based on public-private partnerships and to create a national space infrastructure for land-based and production purposes.
At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen the capacity of research institutes in this direction.
We must create a separate state agency for aerospace activities, which will allow us to solve all issues of the sphere development in a complex manner.
IV. Priority directions for the development of the social sphere
Dear members of parliament!
Dear deputies of regional and district Kengashes!
Based on the best foreign experience, we need to consolidate the legislation and create mechanisms for the practical application of the concept of “consumer basket”, necessary to identify the level of income sufficient for a decent life of the population.
Also, practical measures will be taken to gradually increase the real incomes of the population, wages, scholarships, pensions and social benefits.
Despite the important measures taken recently to protect people’s health, unfortunately, many problems remain unresolved on the ground in the field.
With this in mind, we must adapt to our conditions and introduce the concepts “Smart Medicine” and “Single Center for Medical Information”, which will provide quality and modern assistance in a form convenient for residents of the regions, early detection and remote prevention of diseases.
For the development of private medicine, it is important to attract foreign investors, create conditions for the effective work of foreign specialists in the country.
Everybody knows that providing the population with medicines is one of the pressing problems of current problems. To address this issue, soon to be built and opened 2 thousand social pharmacies, which will provide the population with high-quality medicines at affordable prices.
Today, life itself requires a radical review of the activities of the screening centers, which play an important role in protecting the health of mothers and children.
In 2018, on the basis of 46 district and city medical associations, inter-district perinatal centers will be established, which will be provided with modern medical equipment, staffed with qualified personnel.
To effectively use the achievements of medical science in practice, it is envisaged in rural medical centers to organize modern diagnostic laboratories for early detection and prevention of diseases.
For full coverage of the population, telecommunications services provide for the installation of 2,000 kilometers of fiber optic communication lines in remote areas, an increase in the Internet speed by 2.5 times and the introduction of more than 4,000 mobile communication support stations.
As a result of these measures, more than 600 settlements will have access to the Internet and mobile communication services.
Measures will be developed and implemented to ensure cultural rest and meaningful leisure of the population.
In order to improve the system of protection and rational use of cultural heritage objects, the Program for the Support of Archaeological Research and Storage of Archaeological Findings should also be adopted.
We will ensure the unconditional fulfillment of our decisions on the material and moral support of compatriots who work selflessly in the field of science, culture and art, and literature. In particular, all measures will be taken to improve their housing conditions, social and medical services, increase the amount of royalties, realize the potential of young talents.
In order to strengthen the material and technical base of physical culture and sports, a specialized school of higher sports skills will be built in the new year in the Olympic and national sports in Nukus, the sports complex Yoshlik in Urgench, universal sports complexes in the cities of Tashkent, Andijan, Samarkand, Bukhara, a sports and recreational complex and a multi-purpose indoor swimming pool in Karshi.
We set ourselves the task of raising our work on the upbringing of the younger generation to harmoniously developed, physically healthy and spiritually mature individuals to a new stage. To this end, the new version adopted the Law “On State Youth Policy.” On its basis, new methods of working with young people are being actively introduced.
Today, many of our young people are educated, working abroad. Of course, among them there are those who found their vocation there, live happily. However, homesickness is a strong feeling that never leaves a person if he is away from his home.
Therefore, we need to establish a permanent relationship with compatriots living abroad, strengthen work to protect their rights and legitimate interests, support those who wish to return to their homeland.
For this purpose, the International Youth Association of Uzbekistan should be established and appropriate conditions should be created for its effective work.
It is advisable that our youth conduct an active dialogue with foreign peers in the sphere of science, culture, sport, entrepreneurship and other areas, which will allow it to show its potential more clearly. To this end, the Youth Forum of Central Asia is planned to be organized in Samarkand next year.
One of the most important results of the reforms implemented this year is undoubtedly the complete cessation of child and forced labor in our country.
We are pleased that these positive changes have been recognized by the International Labor Organization and other structures.
We will continue to give high priority to the profound study of English and other foreign languages. At the same time, we will set up large-scale work to train and upgrade the skills of specialists in demanded specialties in our country.
Speaking of this, we must admit that the issue of education of comprehensively developed personalities worthy to continue the work of our great ancestors is very urgent for us.
We can not forget that the intellectual and cultural potential of our people is truly a priceless treasure, and the education of gifted, talented youth on this basis is crucial. It is thanks to this approach that developed countries have reached the current high level.
Unfortunately, some of our scientists and young people who have great scientific potential, go abroad. They work in large foreign companies and banks, prestigious universities, international organizations. During my foreign visits, I personally communicated with dozens of such compatriots.
Currently, all the necessary conditions are created for rendering consular and other services to compatriots abroad, opportunities for free visit of the Motherland, participation in the development of the country, and in the future we will expand the scope of this work.
In this regard, I propose to develop a concept of state policy on cooperation with compatriots living and working abroad.
V. Priority directions in the sphere of ensuring security, interethnic harmony and religious tolerance, as well as in foreign policy
Dear deputies and senators!
As is known, under the conditions of the current globalization, economic competition becomes more acute, information and terrorist threats are increasing.
In various regions of the world, in particular, in the Middle East, bloody clashes and conflicts continue. Unfortunately, the number of such outbreaks is growing.
Given such an alarming situation, we must fully strengthen the country’s peace and stability, strengthen our activities to combat various threats to security. This is a demand of the time.
First of all, for this purpose, the efficiency of the formed system, especially the responsibility of deputy hokims, dealing with religious issues, should be further enhanced.
In particular, the aksakals of makhallas, preventive inspectors, imam-hatibs, advisers of citizens’ gatherings on issues of religious education and spiritual and moral education, activists of youth and women’s organizations should conduct appropriate joint work.
If we organize the work in this way, we will not be indifferent to this issue, first of all we will take care of ourselves to protect our children, our houses and mahallas from such threats and challenges, I am sure they will bypass us.
We will continue to improve the work on social rehabilitation, return to normal, healthy life of those who came under the influence of extremist ideas.
To prevent information threats and attacks through various information resources, special offices should be established as part of law enforcement agencies.
The issues of strengthening interfaith and civil consent in our society will continue to be considered one of the most urgent tasks.
To this end, the necessary measures will be taken to improve the organizational and legal mechanisms for the activities of religious organizations in the country.
Dear participants of the meeting!
Another important issue that I would like to draw your attention to: the organizational structure of the defense system of our country, the fighting efficiency, the level of spiritual and moral training of soldiers and officers do not meet today the requirements of this rapidly changing time.
At the same time, it should be noted that in a short time, as a result of comprehensive measures to reform the national army, the appearance of our Armed Forces has radically changed.
The effectiveness of the reforms in the military sphere will be enhanced by the newly adopted Defense Doctrine. This document establishes the principles of openness in Uzbekistan’s foreign policy, the development of friendly relations with all, especially with neighboring countries. The strengthening of the independence and sovereignty of our state is defined as the most important task.
Taking into account the peculiarities of the geostrategic position of our country, as well as the military-political situation developing in the region, the tasks and structures of the Armed Forces’ joints were revised. The National Guard was created, comprehensive measures are being taken to equip the army with new weapons and modern military equipment.
The State Committee of the Defense Industry was organized.
On the basis of systemic reforms in the sphere of training military personnel, the activities of the Academy of the Armed Forces have been radically transformed.
Significant work is carried out on the social protection of servicemen and their families, veterans.
In 2017, for military men, 56 multi-storey houses were built, in the coming year the work in this direction will be continued in an even larger volume.
At the same time, we are all well aware that today we face new and important tasks in the defense sphere.
First of all, much needs to be done to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the National Security Concept and Defense Doctrine.
Further strengthening of the defense capability of our state, increasing the combat power and potential of the Armed Forces are our most important tasks.
We need to adopt the State Program for the Formation and Development of the Defense Industrial Complex to provide the Armed Forces with modern weapons and military equipment.
In accordance with the Strategy of Action adopted in our country, we will consistently continue the policy of comprehensive development of friendly, mutually beneficial relations with all countries of the far and near abroad, primarily with neighboring states, as well as with international organizations.
We will take all necessary measures for the timely, full and high-quality implementation of agreements and agreements concluded by the Republic of Uzbekistan with other states, international organizations and international financial institutions.
I would like to take this opportunity to express sincere gratitude to the representatives of international organizations, ambassadors of foreign countries supporting the reforms being carried out in our country.
Dear friends !
The implementation of the large-scale plans and projects outlined in the Address presented to you today will undoubtedly bring the country’s development to a new, higher level, and will further enhance the welfare of our people.
At the same time, we are all well aware that, in order to fully and effectively implement these critical tasks, we must create the appropriate legal framework and mechanisms.
In this connection, Prime Minister Aripov, State Advisors U. Ismoilov, O. Muradov, Secretary of the Security Council V.Mahmudov is entrusted to ensure that until January 10, 2018, comprehensive measures on unconditional execution by all state and economic management bodies, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic Karakalpakstan, regional hokims, Tashkent city, districts and cities of priority tasks arising from this Message.
Of course, we are aware that the year 2018, which will be a decisive stage in achieving the goals set out in the message, will not be easy for us. I say this openly. But under no circumstances will we turn away from our chosen path, we will consistently advance towards our goals, steadily overcoming difficulties. After all, in this life nothing is given for nothing. Do not expect that someone will come and solve our problems, it can only be done by ourselves.
All of us should deeply realize one truth: today we are talking about the fate and future of our people, the Motherland, the happiness of our dear children.
And we need to work selflessly for the sake of achieving our great goals, directing all our knowledge and experience, love and devotion to our Motherland.
I am convinced that, while remaining true to ourselves, not engaged in self-deception, working honestly and conscientiously, we will necessarily reach all the lines we aspire to.
Confidence in this I give, above all, the strong will and great creative potential of our people, with honor overcame many trials.
I wish you all strength and energy, good health, family happiness and prosperity on this good path.