President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a meeting on February 11 to discuss the improvement of systems of public control and corruption counteraction.
Corruption is one of the major obstacles in economic development, in the delivery of a truly favorable business environment and investment climate. According to some estimates, the damage to the global economy from corruption is on average $ 2.6 trillion a year.
Uzbekistan has not been free of this problem, either. In the Transparency International index, our country has improved its position over the past three years by 12 points, yet the vicious phenomenon is still far from being completely eradicated.
According to our compatriots, corruption is most widespread in the healthcare, education, banking, customs, judicial systems, in those of prosecutors, internal affairs, public services, as well as when hiring to job.
For example, 25-30 percent of funds in the healthcare system are used inefficiently. In many areas, public procurement is hardly transparent.
The head of our state, in his recent Address to the parliament, noted the need to move from eliminating the consequences of corruption to its early warning, and proposed to establish a separate body responsible for combating corruption.
The meeting participants discussed today the organization of that novel institution.
Instructions have been outlined with regard to the elaboration and implementation of anti-corruption programs in areas with a high level of fraud.
One of the key factors in fighting corruption is transparency in the activities and working procedures of government bodies. Principal attention thus should be paid to ensuring openness and transparency in employment, public procurement, issuing permits, licenses and other processes, the President stressed.
The Ministry of Justice and Prosecutor General’s Office have been instructed to introduce, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program, a compliance control system in ministries, companies and hokimiyats, providing for the elaboration and realization of internal anti-corruption measures.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev indicated the need to invite foreign experts for designing all the organizational and legal foundations for the declaration of property and income by civil servants.
Responsible executives were given instructions on drafting documents required for the establishment of an anti-corruption agency, building on foreign practice. The head of our state insisted that the body not only implement and coordinate state policy in this area, but also wield all the powers and means to combat corruption.
One of important means of eradicating this evil is public control.
Today, Uzbekistan is home to over 10 thousand nongovernmental nonprofit organizations. But their role and activity could be much higher. There is barely a holistic system that would express their interests, act as a bridge between NGOs and the state.
The current system of interaction with the public sometimes fails to bring issues of concern to our people across regions to the center, thus coming short of securing tangible results. Many nongovernmental nonprofit organizations work nominally.
Among the questions raised at the meeting was that regarding the usefulness of such large associations as “Mahalla”, “Nuroniy”, and the Committee of Women, into the pressing issues they have succeeded to address. No satisfactory answers sounded.
In this respect, during his Address to the Oliy Majlis, the President proposed to set up a Civil Chamber to bolster public control and consolidate interaction between the state and society.
The meeting participants discussed the key objectives of the Chamber and structural aspects.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that it should regularly study public opinion and set specific tasks for government agencies to solve them. The importance of introducing such effective forms of public control as public hearings, public monitoring, public scrutiny and public initiative was pointed out.
The essential activities of the novel Chamber will include the revitalization of nongovernmental nonprofit organizations and public councils under state bodies, as well as the provision of comprehensive methodological assistance to them.
Instructions were given on creating the organizational and legal foundations of the Civil Chamber, taking into account these challenges, on devising an action plan for 2020-2021 to promote civil society institutions.
Among the issues expounded on during the meeting were those concerning the improvement of the activities of the Oliy Majlis Public Fund for Supporting Nongovernmental Nonprofit Organizations and Other Civil Society Institutions, allocation of grants to NGOs for them to study and develop proposals for effective resolution of problems in society.
Issues discussed at the meeting were assigned corresponding measures.