On April 22, a video conference took place under the chairmanship of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The participants deliberated on issues of population employment and prevention of decline in incomes.
As the coronavirus pandemic ensues across the globe, the suspension of millions of enterprises and organizations has affected the lives of 2 billion 700 million staff and workers. The number of deprived people in the world is at risk of doubling or increasing by 500 million.
In our country, the volumes of production and services rendered at 196 thousand enterprises have been significantly reduced as a result of quarantine. Therefore, the number of unemployed has naturally grown.
Tax revenues for the 20 days of April also indicate a negative trend. In particular, a number of regions saw decrease by 30-40 percent, while some districts and towns encountered decline by more than 50 percent.
In such intricate circumstances, the government has been taking a range of essential measures. In particular, in accordance with two resolutions inked a month ago, the number of families with children who are entitled to benefits and material assistance increased from 595 thousand to 655 thousand, that is, by 60 thousand. In the meantime, the terms of repayments on household loans in the amount of 3 trillion 260 billion soums were extended.
During the lockdown period, the Employment Promotion Fund and the Public Works Fund provided jobs to 141 thousand 800 unemployed citizens, they paid wages in the amount of 43 billion 225 million soums. Meanwhile, sponsorship coordination centers distributed food and sanitary products to 219 thousand families.
Yet, one should not be content with this. The situation changing every day requires additional measures to ensure employment and social protection of needy families.
The meeting participants discussed, on the pattern of enduring work in Samarkand and Namangan regions, material support for citizens who were left jobless as a result of quarantine restrictions.
It was noted that entrepreneurs and farmers should help poor families do household chores, assign plots in their lands for re-cultivating crops, and promote home-based work. The state will provide such business entities with deferment or installment plan for taxes or loans.
For example, the head of the Agromir enterprise in the Samarkand region has taken care of a thousand families and begun creating a vineyard on 600 hectares. He took over 500 low-income families into a cooperative full-time job, divided the area of the vineyard between them and set up the cultivation of agricultural products. The businessperson distributed cucumber seeds of varieties ripening within forty days. He took another 100 people for construction works.
Another example was cited at the meeting: the head of the Asia Metal Prof enterprise in the city of Samarkand handed out products to thousands of families, took the initiative to build houses for 10 families in need, and employ 100 citizens. In addition, the founders of the Art Soft cluster in the Namangan region decided to help 3,000 families in the city of Namangan as well as in Pap, Mingbulak and Yangikurgan districts.
For the effective organization of these kinds of works, the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction and the State Tax Committee are to set up an operational headquarters to coordinate the activities of ministries and hokimiyats on this front.
Instructions were given on compiling a precise list of citizens who were left without work and in need of assistance by district and municipal authorities, and targeted arrangement of work within the framework of the nationwide movement “Generosity and Support”.
The President noted the need for employing people who had been unemployed before the shutdown yet depended on daily earnings.
In particular, the possibility was indicated of creating 14 thousand new jobs through the organization of agricultural cooperatives and home greenhouses. The task was set to cover 110 thousand people with seasonal work, 167 thousand with public works.
During the last few meetings chaired by the head of state, important measures had been identified in the fields of agriculture, construction, the chemical industry and mechanical engineering. Provided that their realization on the ground is properly organized, employment will be provided for thousands of people.
For example, it is possible to create 52 thousand jobs through the establishment of orchards, vineyards and greenhouses on 26 thousand hectares, as well as 785 thousand jobs in the silk industry, 75 thousand jobs in the areas of construction and infrastructure.
The President noted that it is crucial to ensure the quality implementation of these tasks, to achieve both employment and satisfaction of people.
Particular attention at the meeting was paid to the development of services sector.
At present, 13 thousand public catering entities, 45 thousand trade firms, 19 thousand service companies, 7 thousand transport organizations have suspended operations or significantly lost in revenue.
Under lockdown, it is possible to normalize the activity of at least 70 percent of these enterprises by arranging the delivery of foods and goods, by setting up mobile trade and services.
In the meantime, it seems possible to resume services for receiving payments, insurance and microloans with strict observance of quarantine requirements.
Based on this, the Special Republican Commission was instructed to create conditions for business entities providing delivery services.
Starting from September last year, the issuance of temporary labor certificates to self-employed citizens was launched, but this has not yielded the desired result.
In this regard, Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted the need to create a convenient and simple legal system to support and legalize the activities of self-employed people.
Currently, such citizens are allowed to engage in 85 activities. It was suggested at the meeting that this list be enhanced to allow all types of entrepreneurial activity not prohibited by law. A self-employment notification registration mechanism will thus be introduced.
Our country has rich handicraft traditions, immense potential in this area. Today this sector feeds more than 25 thousand artisans, and about 80 thousand families if disciples are taken into account.
The President gave instructions to organize distance learning courses, provide crafts to youth and women, and popularize the experience of artisans through television.
The Hunarmand Association, the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade were entrusted with creating an online platform for marketing handicraft products abroad under the brand of Uzbekistan.
Today, many young people provide design, translation, programming, advertising, tutoring and other services via the internet, sitting at home. These specialists, freelancers, face a number of obstacles when opening a bank account remotely, and accepting payments. Thus, their costs increase two- to threefold.
In this regard, responsible executives were instructed to deliver a variety of benefits and preferences for such categories of workers, to promote youth training in intellectual work through the internet, and to introduce popular foreign payment systems in the country.
Officials in charge and hokims provided information on the impending work toward fulfillment of the tasks set at the video conference.