Economy. 2003 year

The Internet Corporation on Assignment of Names and Numbers has delegated to Uzbekistan the right of administration of the top level domain of Internet network in the zone «.uz».  

The Laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan «On informatization» (new edition), «On electronic digital signature» are adopted. 

17 february. A session of the Cabinet of Ministers was held, devoted to the results of the socio-economic development of the republic in 2002 and the main directions of deepening economic reforms in 2003.

President Islam Karimov attended the session. He noted that last year liberalization and deepening of economic reforms proceeded and that the economy developed stably and proportionally.  

As a result, about 2000 state enterprises were privatized. 1,260 were fully privatized. This has increased the role of SMEs in the economy. Last year around 38,000 micro-firms and SMEs were created, bringing the total to 240,000.  

GNP rose 4.2%. Industrial production rose 8.5%, agriculture – 6.1%, and consumer goods – 11.8%. Grain production set a new record of 5.4m tons.  

Investment reached 1.4 trillion sums, including $650m foreign investment. 56 production facilities opened last year, including 15 large enterprises.  

Measures to improve the situation of unhealthy economic objects were taken, including liquidation. 304 enterprises were declared unprofitable, of which 154 were declared bankrupt.  

A strict monetary and credit policy kept inflation to 1.6% per month and slowed the growth of the money supply. Per capita GNP increased 4%, real income – 12.6%. President Islam Karimov mentioned problems preventing faster improvement in the economy.  

In many areas, half measures are taken. Privatization is in name only. Enterprises adapt very slowly to market conditions. Capital construction and communal services experience serious shortcomings.  

Agricultural reform was considered. Realization of goods and rational use of land, water, gas and energy were discussed.  

Providing quality domestic goods needs improving. Wholesale and retail trade are disorganized. Illegal smuggled goods are common.  

The National program to retrain specialists could be improved as part of the Year of the mahalla. A system for professional growth and payment according to one’s qualifications, not one’s post, should be introduced.  

President Islam Karimov underlined that last year’s achievements are the result of the work of the people living in a united and peaceful land. This proves the correctness of our path.  

28 february. There was a meeting devoted to the main directions of further economic reforms in agriculture. Representatives of related ministries, committees, firms, banks and other financial institutions took part. It was chaired by President Islam Karimov.  

“This question was considered recently at the Cabinet of Ministers at the session devoted to the results of socio-economic development in 2002 and the main directions of deepening economic reforms this year,” said President Islam Karimov. “Those conclusions demand further introduction of market relations in agriculture, the transition to principally new criteria for evaluating market factors which do not limit the freedom of work in agriculture to develop new laws which allow a cardinal change in the management of agriculture.  

The slow progress of agricultural reforms and in general in the economy, and their incomplete realization in most cases is the reason that administrative-command style of work continues, along with dependence and illegal interference in the work of entrepreneurs and farmers. We must improve administration here, allowing dekans and farmers real freedom to undertake their work with healthy competition in a market environment, strengthening their feeling of ownership.”  

A project decree to further deepen and accelerate reforms in agriculture was considered.  

2 may. President Islam Karimov received the president of the EBRD Jean Lemierre.  

Cooperation with the EBRD has experienced trials in the past. The bank financed the first project here in 1993. Now Uzbekistan has become a very close partner of the EBRD in distribution of credits in the Central Asian region, and is considered its priority in its strategy.  

Up to now 20 projects worth $1.4b have financed, with the bank providing $723.8m. At present another 8 projects worth $320m are being considered. The EBRD pays special attention to supporting and broadening the activity of the private sector in Uzbekistan, providing credits for SME, market infrastructure and ecology.  

In Tashkent there are official delegations of financiers, entrepreneurs, bankers, and politicians from dozens of countries now, attending the Board of directors of the EBRD on May 4-5.  

President Islam Karimov underlined that this event shows the trust the EBRD has in Uzbekistan and that the bank’s president is a decisive person. Conducting this major forum in Tashkent shows that cooperation is growing on a high level. During the meeting they discussed the forum and further cooperation.  

30 may. President Islam Karimov met with Chinese Chairman Hu Tsintao. The sides discussed cooperation in international organizations, in particular the SOC.  

In the Kremlin there was a meeting of SOC members. Documents are prepared on the rules and statutes and the formation of a secretariat in Beijing, as well as an anti-terrorist structure in Bishkek. The executive secretary is the Chinese Ambassador to Russia Dhan Deguan.  

Discussions on the development of the SOC, trade-economic ties, communications and other questions were held. It was underlined that all mechanisms of the SOC should be functional as soon as possible.  

18 july. There was a Cabinet of Ministers meeting dedicated to the results of the economic and social development of the first half of 2003 and the realization of measures for priority reforms in these areas.  

President Islam Karimov spoke. He noted that the tendency of stable economic development continued, that macro-economic and financial stability strengthened, payment discipline increased, and that the economy became more balanced as a whole. Thus there were successes in the conduct of reforms.  

GNP increased by 3.8%, industrial production – by 5.5%, agriculture – by 3.8%, consumer goods – by 4%, and services - by 4.4%.  

This shows the effective continuation of the formation of market relations.  

Privatization is an important aspect of the market economy. 698 enterprises were privatized for 22.5b sums.  

President Islam Karimov emphasized that decrees and resolutions about privatization are not always fulfilled fully.  

Recently there have been decrees on important economic reforms, including deepening reforms in agriculture, as well as resolutions on programs and on the fulfillment of decrees. Practical work on putting into practice these decrees continues. A deep analysis of the fulfillment of the demands of these documents was made at the meeting.  

Attention was drawn to developing agriculture and agricultural insurance, as well as the development of production and market infrastructure in the countryside.  

July. First championship tournament of Uzbekistan on computer games.  

26 september. In order to further liberalize internal trade, reduce administrative methods of control of export-import operations, and improve foreign trade, President Islam Karimov signed the decree “On measures to further liberalize foreign trade activity.”  

14 october. For his contribution to strengthening friendship and cooperation between Uzbekistan and Japan, and his service in preparation of highly qualified specialists for banks and finance, President Islam Karimov awarded the prorector of the Banking-financial academy of Uzbekistan, Professor Vaseda Toshiharu Kitamura, the Friendship medal.