Ensuring employment under focus
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President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a videoconference on ensuring employment and prevention of income decline.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, suspension of millions of enterprises and organizations affected the lives of 2 billion 700 million workers. The number of poor people in the world is at risk of doubling or increasing by 500 million.
The volume of production and provision of services at 196 thousand enterprises has significantly decreased and the number of unemployed has increased in Uzbekistan as a result of quarantine.
Negative trend is also evidenced by tax receipts for 20 days of April. In particular, revenues decreased by 30 - 40 percent in some regions, and by more than 50 percent in some districts and cities.
The state takes a number of measures in such difficult conditions. In particular, according to two resolutions adopted a month ago, the number of families with children who are entitled to benefits and financial assistance has increased from 595 thousand to 655 thousand, i.e. by 60 thousand. At the same time, loan payment terms to the population in the amount of 3 trillion 260 billion UZS have been extended.
Employment Assistance Fund and Public Works Fund provided employment to 141 thousand 800 unemployed citizens during the quarantine period. They were paid wages in the amount of 43 billion 225 million UZS. At the same time, the Centers for Coordinating Sponsorship Activities distributed food and sanitary products to 219 thousand families.
However, we cannot limit ourselves to this. The changing situation every day requires additional measures to ensure employment and social protection of families in need.
At the meeting, the issue of material support for citizens left without work as a result of quarantine restrictions was discussed on the example of ongoing activities in Samarkand and Namangan regions.
It was noted that entrepreneurs and farmers should help poor families engage in household farming, allocate allotments in their lands for growing repeat crops and promote home-based work. The state will provide such entities with deferred or installment tax payments or loans.
For example, the head of Agromir enterprise in Samarkand region took care of a thousand families and began creating a vineyard on 600 hectares. He employed more than 500 low-income families into cooperative for permanent work, divided the area of vineyard between them and established cultivation of agricultural products. He distributed forty-day ripening cucumber seeds and employed another 100 people for construction work.
Another example: the head of Asia Metal Prof company in the city of Samarkand distributed food to thousand families, took the initiative to build homes for 10 families in need and employ 100 citizens. In addition, founders of Art Soft Cluster in Namangan region decided to help 3 thousand families in Namangan, Pap, Mingbulak and Yangikurgan districts.
Operational headquarters of the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction and the State Tax Committee for Coordinating the activities of ministries and khokimiyats will be established to effectively organize these events.
Instructions have been given for drawing up an accurate list of unemployed and people in need by districts and cities, and for targeted organization of work within the framework of “Kindness and Support” Nationwide Movement.
The need for employment of people, who were unemployed before the quarantine and depended on daily earnings, was noted.
In particular, the possibility of creating 14 thousand new jobs through organization of agricultural cooperatives and backyard greenhouses has been indicated. The goal is to cover 110,000 people with seasonal work and 167,000 with community service.
As is known, important measures in agriculture, construction, chemical industry and mechanical engineering have been defined at several recent meetings chaired by the Head of the state. If they are properly implemented at places, thousands of people will be employed.
For example, it is possible to create 52,000 jobs by establishing gardens, vineyards and greenhouses on 26,000 hectares, 785,000 jobs in sericulture industry and 75,000 jobs in construction and infrastructure.
The President noted that it is necessary to ensure qualitative implementation of these tasks, to achieve both employment and people’s satisfaction.
Particular attention was paid to development of the service sector.
At present, 13 thousand catering enterprises, 45 thousand trade enterprises, 19 thousand service enterprises and 7 thousand transport enterprises have stopped their activity or significantly lost their revenue.
Under quarantine, at least 70 percent of these enterprises’ activity can be normalized by providing food and goods delivery, mobile trade and services.
At the same time, it seems possible to resume services for accepting payments, insurance and microcredit under strict compliance with quarantine requirements.
Based on this, the Special Republican Commission has been instructed to create conditions for businesses providing delivery services.
Starting from September 2019, the issuance of temporary employment certificates to self-employed citizens was launched, but this does not give the proper result.
In this regard, the need for creating a convenient and simple legal system to support and legalize the activities of self-employed people was noted.
Currently, such citizens are allowed to engage in 85 types of activities. At the meeting, it was decided to expand this list and allow all types of business activities that are not prohibited by law. The mechanism for notifying self-employed will be introduced.
Uzbekistan has a rich tradition of handicrafts and huge potential in this area. There are more than 25 thousand artisans in the country, if to take into account apprentices – about 80 thousand families.
Instructions were given to organize distance learning courses, employ young people and women in this sphere and popularize the experience of master craftsmen on television.
Hunarmand Association and the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade have been tasked to create an online platform for selling handicrafts abroad under Uzbekistan brand.
Today, many young people are providing design, translation, programming, advertising, tutoring and other services from home via the Internet. These specialists, freelancers, face a number of obstacles while opening a bank account remotely and accepting payments. Thus, their expenses increase by 2-3 times.
In this regard, responsible persons have been instructed to create various benefits and preferences for such categories of employees, to promote young people’s education to earn by intellectual labor via the Internet and to introduce popular foreign payment systems in the country.
Responsible persons and khokims provided information about the upcoming work in implementation of tasks set at the videoconference.