On June 7, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a videoconference meeting to deliberate on industrial development in the regions and acceleration of foreign direct investment utilization.
During the trips of the head of state to Karakalpakstan and other regions, a number of enterprises were put into operation, and projects on the organization of many more industries were presented. In addition, a working group led by a Deputy Prime Minister has been working out additional projects for provinces lagging behind in industrial development. Particular attention is paid to the location of production entities in facilities and areas with required infrastructure.
At the meeting, efforts undertaken on this front were analyzed in the example of Andijan region.
It was noted that the manufacturing industry in that part of the country is in need of diversification. It is confined to two industries – automotive and textile production. They account for almost 60 percent of workers employed in the local industry, as well as 83 percent of the goods produced in the province. The level of industrial development in Boz, Bulakbashi, Izbaskan, Kurgantepa, Marhamat, Pakhtaabad, Jalakuduk, Balikchi and Ulughnor districts is low.
In this densely populated region, where every hectare is worth gold, 98 government-owned facilities have vacant 90 hectares of land and 163 thousand square meters of buildings that have access to necessary infrastructure.
In accordance with presidential directives on the effective use of such buildings and areas, creation of enterprises and jobs on their basis, and diversification of industries in districts, 236 new projects were formed in the Andijan region with implementation period through to 2022.
These schemes, along with those planned earlier, envisage the organization – over the next three years – of almost 41 thousand permanent jobs and the development of foreign direct investment in the amount of 1 billion 87 million dollars. Their execution is expected to allow for the diversification of the regional industry and the fourfold growth of production in the building materials industry, 2.1 times increase in electrical engineering, leather and footwear and chemical industries, threefold in the food sector. The industrial potential of provinces will thus significantly swell, while disproportions among them will be reduced.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev instructed to elaborate and ensure the delivery of industrial schedules for all projects, to provide for the provision of projects with electricity and other essential resources.
The head of state noted that a special investment fund would be set up for the promotion of industry and entrepreneurship in the Ferghana Valley, and the body will not provide loans but participate in projects as a business partner. Special significance would be attached to schemes capable of creating decent jobs and of producing export-oriented goods. According to preliminary calculations, these efforts will help deliver 10,000 new jobs in the Andijan, Ferghana and Namangan regions.
The President also noted the expediency of fashioning a system for assigning collateral-free micro loans to small business projects.
Separate attention at the meeting was paid to issues of accounting for state and non-state facilities – empty or not used effectively, as well as establishing enterprises on their basis and creating jobs.
Despite the provision of broad powers to use idle buildings and structures, local and tax authorities have failed to achieve significant results in this direction. Shavkat Mirziyoyev indicated the availability of buildings and lands on 22 thousand hectares with all the required infrastructure, but being empty. Moreover, these are ready places for the development of industry and the creation of jobs.
The meeting participants attended to proposals from the Cabinet of Ministers for furthering the important tasks facing ministries and hokimiyats in this area.
The existing state of the endeavors on attracting foreign direct investment, meeting the deadlines for the use of funds and the realization of projects was discussed at the videoconference session in the context of industries and regions.
It was noted that during the five months of the current year, $ 1.6 billion was spent on regional projects, and almost $ 1 billion in foreign direct investment in industry projects. However, these figures are less than those expected, and in some regions the investment absorption does not even reach 35 percent of the annual forecast.
In particular, due to the unsatisfactory state of work on attracting and developing foreign direct investments in the Andijan region, the deputy ministers for investment and foreign trade were appointed responsible for the relevant industries in the region. With the involvement of industry associations, they will work out proposals for foreign investors to implement investment projects on empty sites and areas. In the future, these projects will be presented to investors with the participation of ambassadors.
Responsible officials were instructed to introduce this new order in other regions, go to the field and speed up the realization of projects with the participation of foreign investors.
The meeting participants also discussed the execution of agreements reached by the leaderships of hokimiyats during their foreign trips. The development of investments in most of the deals has already begun, but some agreements are still on paper.
Heads of industries and regions provided information on the issues discussed at the meeting.