Uzbekistan undertook four business climate reforms in the past year and earned a spot among the world’s top twenty most improved economies for ease of doing business, the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 study says.
This year Uzbekistan ranked 69th in the global ranking among 190 states with a score of 69.9 out of 100, having moved up from 76th place in 2018. The country along with four other states in the Europe and Central Asia region, including Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kosovo, was among the 20 economies where business climates improved the most.
Highlights of Uzbekistan’s reforms are:
Strengthening minority investor protections by increasing shareholders’ rights and role in major corporate decisions, clarifying ownership and control structures, and requiring greater corporate transparency.
Making tax payments easier by merging the infrastructure tax with the corporate income tax.
Making cross-border trade easier by introducing risk-based inspections and simplifying import documentary compliance.
Making contract enforcement easier by introducing a consolidated law on voluntary mediation, establishing financial incentives for the parties to attempt mediation, and publishing performance measurement reports on local commercial courts.
The Doing Business 2020 documents reforms implemented in 10 areas of business activity in 190 economies over a 12-month period ending May 1, 2019. The areas measured in the report are: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency. One additional area, employing workers, is also measured but is not included in this year’s rankings.
The ten economies scoring the highest on the ease of doing business rankings were New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR China, Denmark, Republic of Korea, United States, Georgia, United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden. Top performers typically had online business incorporation processes, electronic tax filing platforms, and online procedures for property transfers.
Business-friendly environments are associated with lower levels of poverty, and improved regulatory efficiency can stimulate entrepreneurship, startups, innovation, access to credit, and investment. The latest edition of the study is the 17th in an annual series that evaluates regulations enhancing or constraining business activity for small and medium-size enterprises.
Since its inception in 2003, more than 3,500 business reforms have been carried out in 186 of the 190 economies Doing Business monitors.
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev has held a meeting to analyze current efforts for industrial development, production and uninterrupted delivery of oil and gas products to consumers.
At the meeting, responsible officials reported on industrial production volumes and fulfillment of forecast indicators for 9 months of the current year. It was noted that over the mentioned period, industrial goods worth 234.7 trillion soums were produced; growth compared to the same span of time last year amounted to 7 percent, 6.5 percent of which was secured by the driver of the economy – industries that manufacture finished products.
In particular, high growth rates have been achieved in the automotive industry. The volume of production of cars compared to the same period in 2018 increased by 40 percent, trucks – by 33 percent, buses – 3.8 times, automobile engines – 45 percent.
The manufacture of knitted fabric grew by 26 percent, leather products – by 22 percent, cement – 18 percent, cable and wire products – 23 percent, consumer goods – almost 16 percent.
The best production indicators were recorded in Andijan, Namangan, Khorezm, Samarkand, Tashkent and Surkhandarya regions.
The business environment in the country has drastically improved as the result of constant attention paid by the Head of the state to development of small business, the decrees and resolutions adopted in this area. This is evidenced by the fact that since this year, a total of 72.4 thousand enterprises have been created, including about 16 thousand small businesses in industries. The number of small industrial enterprises grew by 25 percent compared to the same period in 2018.
The share of private enterprise in industry is becoming increasingly significant. For 9 months of this year, small businesses produced goods worth 81 trillion soums, which amounted to 34.5 percent of the total industrial output.
The advancement of manufacturing industry was followed by the growth in exports, amounting to 24 percent. In particular, the exports of cars increased 3.3 times, buses – twofold, freight vehicles – 1.5 times, transformers and batteries – 2.7 times, cable and wire products – 2.2 times, shoes – 2.1 times. Exports of finished knitwear and garments grew by 25 percent, knitted fabric – 31 percent, finished textile goods – 38 percent, food products – 14 percent, non-ferrous metals and items thereof – 45 percent, ferrous metal products – 54 percent.
The Ministry of Economy and Industry has been instructed to carry out continuous monitoring of industries, find swift solutions to problems, and create a system to stimulate the further growth of the industrial potential of regions. Particular emphasis was placed on the need to strengthen the participation of small and medium-sized businesses in industrial production.
The state of affairs in the oil and gas industry was also analyzed at the meeting. The importance was noted of measures taken in recent years as part of large-scale institutional reforms to raise efficiency and improve the system of managing the industry.
Discussion focused on the problems in the field, shortcomings in the implementation of designed projects. It was instructed to take measures by the end of the year to fill in the possible backlogs, as well as to formulate a forecast for 2020 for the production and distribution of oil, oil products, natural and liquefied gas.
It was noted that in the meantime, special attention should be paid to increasing the production and processing of hydrocarbons, their uninterrupted delivery to the population and for exports, and reducing technological costs and losses.
The Ministry of Energy and oil and gas enterprises have been instructed to ensure the fulfillment of forecast indicators for the production of petroleum products, natural and liquefied gas, as well as their supply to economic sectors and the private consumers.
Officials have been placed personal responsibility for preparations for the autumn-winter season, for the targeted use of allocated funds, for finding additional reserves to boost oil and gas exports, and introducing a monitoring and accounting system for production volumes per wells.
To coordinate the implementation of the tasks it was proposed to form a working group from among the senior officials of the Accounts Chamber, ministries of economy and industry, energy and other interested government agencies.
The President insisted that executives report on activities undertaken to prepare economy sectors and social facilities for the fall-winter season, paying particular attention to ensuring sustainable supply of fuel and energy resources to customers.
Appropriate measures were identified on the issues discussed at the meeting.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev got acquainted with cotton crop grown on the field of the textile cluster “Angor Surkhon Gururi” in Angor district of Surkhandarya region.
The Head of the state gave instructions to create textile clusters during last year’s trip to the region. 6 such clusters have been organized in Surkhandarya, they cover more than 67 percent of cotton fields of the region. In 2020, it is planned to bring this figure to 100 percent.
The cluster system is an important factor in introduction of modern technologies and innovations in the agricultural sector. Angor Surkhon Gururi LLC is working to increase the yield and competitiveness of products. The cluster has 9.1 thousand hectares of land, of which more than 8.1 thousand hectares are cultivated. This year, cotton of fine-fiber varieties has been grown on almost 5 thousand hectares.
In the last two years, the varieties Surkhon-14 and Surkhon-16 created by domestic scientists have been tested. These fine-fiber varieties are valuable in that they are resistant to extreme weather conditions, lack of water, harmsil and pests, as well as ripen early. Such cotton is in demand on the world market due to the length and strength of the fiber, meeting the requirements of textile industry. The economic effect of fine-fiber cotton is 60 percent greater compared to other varieties with equal application of labor and resource consumption.
“We get a crop less than our land can give, less than the resources invested. We stopped engaging in varieties, scientific agricultural technology. Labor productivity has fell, interest has decreased. But a man who works hard on the earth must be rich. That is our goal. There will be no development without science,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
This year, 120 billion soums were allocated from the State budget to solve another pressing issue – the fight against insect pests. In particular, in Surkhandarya region 13 billion soums were allocated for these purposes.
Here, a conversation took place with farmers and specialists, who noted that pest control measures had given their result and allowed to accumulate a rich harvest.
The President instructed to expand the cultivation of fine-fiber cotton, to encourage scientists. Prospects for development of clusters were discussed.
“From now on, all clusters organize livestock complexes, because they have a feed base. If livestock production develops, meat and milk will be available. This is very important for the well-being of our people, the health of our children,” the Head of the state said.
Today, the cluster employs more than 900 people. In the future, it is planned to create more jobs through development of processing industry.
The hope is that the private sector will pay cotton-pickers, instead of simply forcing them into the fields
Under the blazing sun in a cloudless blue sky, green foliage droops with unfurling white cotton bolls. In the Fergana Valley in the heart of Central Asia, in the shadow of snow-dusted mountains, the cotton is ripe for picking. If the Uzbek authorities have their way, it will become t-shirts and skirts, to be sold around the world. Uzbekistan, already the world’s seventh-biggest producer of cotton, wants to become a force in the garment industry, too, on a par with the likes of Bangladesh, China and Vietnam.
Output from Uzbekistan’s apparel industry rose by 80% between 2014 and 2018. Exports of raw cotton have plunged as the crop is turned into fabric and clothes instead. In 2016 half the country’s output was exported; last year only 16% was. Uzbekistan’s textile factories can now get through 720,000 tonnes of cotton a year—roughly as much as its farmers produce. Next year the government hopes to eliminate the export of raw cotton altogether. It is aiming for a 340% rise in the value of exports to $7bn by 2025. The mood is “very optimistic”, says Ilkhom Khaydarov, the head of the Textile and Garment Industry Association.
At present, among the Pakistani public, there is a popularization of Uzbek traditional fabrics, patterns and ornaments, reports Dunyo news agency.
Considering this growing interest, the well-known Pakistani textile brand Gul Ahmed presented to the general public its new autumn collection of women's dresses called Uzbek Ensemble 2019, as well as Uzbek Susan bedding.
It is worth noting that the Gul Ahmed brand is considered one of the leading composite textile houses in Pakistan. The company owns factories that are fully vertically integrated textile units operating in all segments of the textile product chain.
As the designers of this collection noted, they were inspired by the ancient Uzbek culture, a variety of patterns of traditional fabrics, dynamism and unsurpassed applied art in Uzbekistan.
Moreover, they note that when developing sketches of clothes, Pakistani designers tried to show and embody in a unified cultural color and art design of each region of Uzbekistan, primarily Ferghana, Surkhandarya, Bukhara and Khorezm styles.
To create a collection, the historical heritage and folklore of Uzbekistan were also studied. When developing the collection of bed linen, the patterns of the famous Susana, embodying the cultural color of the Uzbek people, were taken as a basis.
It is noteworthy that the creators also combined the patterns of this collection with the traditional Pakistani style, as a result of which they were able to realize unique clothing models that were very positively received among the female population of the country, especially among the TV hosts of popular media channels and Pakistani celebrities.
Today, the Uzbek Ensemble 2019 clothing collection is sold in all shopping centers under the name Ideas by Gul Ahmed throughout the country and abroad. It is noted that this collection began to be popular especially for wedding dresses of brides, as well as for various cultural events.