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DAILY NEWS HERALD # 75

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DAILY NEWS HERALD # 75

Public Relations and Mass Media Department of the MFA
April 17, 2019

PRESIDENT
President of Uzbekistan receives Minister of State of the United Kingdom FCO
On April 16, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev received Alan Duncan, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who is in Uzbekistan on a working visit.
The Head of the state, warmly welcoming the guest, noted with deep satisfaction the dynamic development of the Uzbek-British multidimensional relations in recent years.
In turn, Minister of State Alan Duncan, expressing sincere gratitude to the President of Uzbekistan for hospitality, conveyed warm greetings and the best of wishes from the British Prime Minister Theresa May.
As the British diplomat emphasized, extensive reforms and changes taking place in Uzbekistan, covering all walks of public life, contribute to further enhancement of full-format cooperation between the two countries.
Currently, active political dialogue and inter-parliamentary contacts are maintained, cooperation in trade, economic, investment, innovation, banking and financial spheres has been expanding. In 2018, the volume of mutual trade showed the maximum growth over the past 10 years.
In February this year, a regular meeting of the Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council with participation of leading British companies took place in Tashkent and it proved fruitful.
Cultural and humanitarian, educational and tourist exchanges are enlarging. Westminster International University and the British Council are successfully operating in Uzbekistan.
During the conversation, pressing issues in bilateral practical cooperation, in the efforts towards facilitating the realization of joint projects involving British direct investments, best practices and technologies were discussed.
Views were exchanged on the international and regional affairs, including the issues in building up good-neighborly relations and partnership in Central Asia, as well as the soonest peaceful settlement of the situation in Afghanistan.
Following the meeting, the commitment to further deepen mutually advantageous cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom was emphasized.
(Source: UzA)
POLITICS
President of the Republic of Korea to pay state visit to Uzbekistan
At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in will pay state visit to Uzbekistan on April 18-21.
Toward the development of regular Uzbekistan – South Korean dialogue at the highest level, the heads of state are expected to discuss prospects of enhancing the strategic partnership, expanding practical cooperation in trade, economic, investment, financial, technical and humanitarian spheres. The two leaders are anticipated to exchange views on pressing issues in the international and regional agenda.
The visit program includes a speech by President Moon Jae-in at the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, participation of the heads of state in the business forum of leading companies of the two countries and in the opening ceremony of the House of Korean Culture and Art in Tashkent. The itinerary also envisages visit to Samarkand.
As a result of talks, the sides plan to adopt a Joint Declaration, sign a considerable package of intergovernmental and interagency documents, trade contracts, as well as agreements on implementation of investment projects.
(Source: UzA)
REFORMS
Permanent Advisor presented to State Tax Committee
The presentation of the permanent adviser from the IMF, Modestas Kaseliauskas, took place in the State Tax Committee of Uzbekistan.
This appointment took place within the framework of a tax administration project carried out by the department of the International Monetary Fund on fiscal issues.
It should be noted that Modestas Kaseliauskas has many years of experience in the tax authorities of the Republic of Lithuania, and from 2005 to 2014 he was the head of the State Tax Inspectorate under the Ministry of Finance of Lithuania.
The appointed adviser will assist the STC and the Ministry of Finance with the development and implementation of a medium-term tax administration reform strategy for 2019-2023.
The task of Modestas Kaseliauskas is to promote the transformation of the sphere into a high-tech, automated, meeting modern standards, as well as a non-corrupt tax service.
(Source: UzDaily.com)
FINANCE
Uzbekistan’s foreign exchange reserves decreased for the first time since the beginning of the year - CB
The gold and currency reserves of Uzbekistan decreased for the first time since the beginning of the year, follows from the data of the Central Bank.
On April 1, the country’s net foreign exchange reserves amounted to $26.9 billion, of which $14.4 billion is monetary gold.
In March it amounted to $27.4 billion, in February $26.6 billion, in January - $26.3 billion.
Earlier, it was reported that Uzbekistan exports 70–80 tons of gold annually. This year the country plans to sell 80 tons.
It is predicted that average world prices for gold this year will rise to $1,320 per troy ounce. In 2018, the average price was $1268, in 2017 - $1258, in 2016 - $1248.
(Source: Kun.uz)
Central Bank reported on sharp increase in the volume of loans of individuals in January-March 2019
In the first quarter of 2019, the volume of loans of individuals amounted to 26.7 trillion soums, the Central Bank informed (currency rates of CB RU from 01.01.2019, 1$= 8455.37 soums).
The growth, compared to the same period in 2018, was 82%, and from the beginning of the year - 9%.
The share of problem loans in the structure amounted to 65 billion soums, having increased over the past period of the current year by 38 billion soums or by 1.4 times.
The CB notes that the share of problem loans of individuals remains low and amounts to only 0.2%.
Earlier, a review of consumer credit conditions in Uzbekistan’s banks has been published.
(Source: Kun.uz)
ADB approves another $105.3 mln loan to Uzbekistan
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $105.3 million loan to help rehabilitate and expand the regional water supply system in the Yangiyul and Chinaz districts of Tashkent Province in Uzbekistan, delivering safe potable water to over 220,000 people.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $105.3 million loan to help rehabilitate and expand the regional water supply system in the Yangiyul and Chinaz districts of Tashkent Province in Uzbekistan, delivering safe potable water to over 220,000 people.
’Reliable and safe water supply and sanitation service is crucial for a growing area like Tashkent Province, particularly in its importance in the overall economy and development of Uzbekistan,’ said ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist for Central and West Asia Mr. Jung Ho Kim. ’ADB’s loan to expand and rehabilitate WSS services in the two districts will not only provide safe drinking water but also improve the quality of life of residents in Tashkent Province.’
The Second Tashkent Province Water Supply Development Project will finance the rehabilitation and improvement of the VU-1 regional water supply system in Tashkent Province. This includes the construction of 65 kilometers (km) of transmission mains; 27 km of distribution mains; 540 km of distribution network; 37 water reservoirs; 22 water distribution centers; 5 pressure towers; 2 administration buildings; 2 water quality laboratories; 37,500 metered water supply connections; and 4,000 individual wastewater disposal systems-which is a first in Uzbekistan.
ADB’s assistance include the initiation of smart technology features including supervisory control and data acquisition, geographic information system, and meters for improved billing and increased revenue. This is on top of a pilot public-private partnership initiative to invite private contractors to carry out operation and maintenance of water supply facilities in some settlements.
Total cost of the project is $124.7 million, with the Government of Uzbekistan contributing $19.4 million. The project is expected to be completed by August 2025.
(Source: UzReport.uz)
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Meeting with the Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France
On April 17, 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov received a delegation of the French Republic led by the Co-Chairman of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, the Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.
At the meeting, the implementation of agreements reached during the official visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to France on October 8-9, 2018, as well as prospects for further development and strengthening bilateral relations in all areas of mutual interest were discussed.
It was emphasized that there is considerable potential for expanding multifaceted cooperation. France is a major trade-economic partner of Uzbekistan in Europe. In 2018, the trade turnover between the two countries grew by 19.1%. Interaction in cultural, humanitarian, tourism, educational and other fields has intensified.
An important role in building up ties in these areas should be played by the opening in Samarkand of the Honorary Consulate of France, which began its activity on April 16.
Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne shared his impressions of the trip to Samarkand and Tashkent regions, where he got acquainted with projects implemented with participation of the French Development Agency, and thanked for favorable conditions created for successful interaction.
The sides exchanged views on the schedule for the upcoming Uzbekistan – France contacts in 2019, including holding political consultations and other joint events.
Relevant international and regional issues, as well as issues related to facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan were considered at the meeting.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to Uzbekistan Violen Biyet de Vilmore attended the negotiations.
Following the meeting, the signing ceremony of documents between Uzbekistan and France took place.
The Protocol of Intent to strengthen cooperation in higher education, research, innovation and special education, the Administrative Agreement on exchanges and cooperation in legal sphere, the Protocol of Intent on cooperation in public finances were signed by the Secretary of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and the Minister of Higher and Secondary Special Education Inom Majidov, Minister of Justice Ruslanbek Davletov, Deputy Minister of Finance Odilbek Isakov.
(Source: Web site of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)
LEGISLATIVE CHAMBER OF OLIY MAJLIS OF REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
Legislative Chamber considers draft laws “On renewable energy sources” and “On public-private partnership”
At the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, experts from the Ministry of Finance took part in the discussion of the draft law “On renewable energy sources” and the draft law “On public-private partnership”.
It was noted that the use of renewable energy sources for the development of Uzbekistan is obvious and necessary in order to ensure energy, environmental, economic security, as well as ensure the sustainable development of the republic’s energy. Especially, renewable energy may become the only economically feasible available source of energy, relevant to the conditions of Uzbekistan are solar resources, small hydropower, wind resources, biomass and geothermal energy for settlements located in remote, mountainous and hard-to-reach areas.
As emphasized during the discussions, a number of regulations governing relations in this area have been adopted; large-scale measures are being implemented. And the adoption of a separate law in this area will primarily strengthen the regulatory framework aimed at further wide development and introduction of renewable energy sources, gaining confidence and ensuring the interests of foreign investors by creating a legal framework and guarantees for activities in this industry.
It will also serve as a system for consolidating priority areas and a set of state policy measures in the field of using renewable energy sources, increasing energy efficiency in economic sectors, the social sphere and the level of diversification of the fuel and energy balance, and strengthening the country’s energy security.
The draft law abolishes reference rules that were the cause of disagreement during the consideration of it in the first reading, and also the authority of the sphere was specifically defined.
Another of the issues vigorously discussed at the meeting was the draft law “On Public-Private Partnership”. As noted, this project will establish the legal foundation of public-private partnership in our country, ensure the implementation of uniform rules and procedures related to the development and implementation of public-private partnership projects consistent with international practice.
Along with this, the adoption of this law will allow attracting foreign investments based on international experience in project implementation. In addition, it will serve to create additional jobs and raise the level of qualification of specialists in the industries and departments involved in the procedures of public-private partnership.
During discussions of this bill, the factions of political parties in the lower house of parliament expressed their firm position.
In particular, according to members of the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businessmen - the Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (UzLiDeP) - measures taken in our country over the past period in economic liberalization, institutional reforms serve to improve the investment climate, increase the number of foreign and domestic investors, together problems and shortcomings that have accumulated in sectors of the economy that are traditionally at the disposal and management of the state, the social sphere require the adoption of important p to accelerate the implementation of public-private partnerships.
The project is fully consistent with the priorities of UzLiDeP to deepen market reforms, liberalize and improve the competitiveness of the economy.
Members of the faction of the Democratic Party “Milly Tiklanish”, expressing their views on the draft law, expressed confidence that its adoption would serve to create a solid legal foundation of public-private partnership in Uzbekistan. They also stressed that the broad attraction of foreign investment will create the possibility of implementing projects based on international experience.
In addition, it was noted that the draft law will contribute to the opening of additional jobs, improving the skills and level of specialists involved in public-private partnership processes. It was noted that this draft law, which fully complies with the priority goals and objectives of the Pre-election program of this party, specifically defines the goals and criteria for public-private partnership, terms of action, spheres of influence, parties to a contract and institutional mechanisms.
The draft law was also reviewed in detail by the faction of the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, based on the program goals of the party. It was stated that this draft law will also serve to solve many problems of the construction and operation of social facilities. In turn, members of the faction, on the basis of the consonance of the project to the objectives of the election program of the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, expressed the opinion that they support the bill. However, members of the faction, taking into account the interests of the state in public-private partnership, put forward a number of proposals to improve the bill.
From the point of view of the members of the faction Adolat Social Democratic Party, the questions reflected in the draft law correspond to the program and objectives of this party. Representatives of the faction, supporting the state’s policy of consistently increasing incomes of the population, noted that strengthening social partnerships, further increasing the social responsibility of business structures, strengthening the relationship between the state and the private sector, and improving the legal framework in this area are identified as the main task.
Given the above, supporting the adoption of the draft law, the faction hopes that it will serve the development of public-private partnership in the economic and social spheres.
At the meeting, other issues included in the powers of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis were discussed, relevant resolutions were adopted.