On June 16, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a video conference to discuss the development of services sector and domestic tourism.
Before proceeding to the meeting topic, the head of our state spoke about the epidemiological situation in the country and drew attention to the fact that the number of people infected with coronavirus has lately increased markedly, moreover, many cases are detected among the general population.
In particular, over the past two weeks, 482 out of 551 cases of infection in the city of Tashkent have been identified among the inhabitants. It is regrettable that in 57 cases, the source of infection remains unknown. Such an alarming picture is also observed in Tashkent, Navoi and Kashkadarya regions.
All of this suggests that the situation with coronavirus is turning increasingly complex, Shavkat Mirziyoyev warned. “The moment has come for a significant growth in vigilance and responsibility in combating the pandemic. At this stage, we must strictly follow the lockdown rules, no matter how thorny it is. Every one of us must be watchful in carrying out our work, carefully considering the consequences, deeply aware of the responsibility not only to ourselves, but also to the family and children. Otherwise, all our efforts will come to naught. I am convinced that our generous and courageous people, already with extensive knowledge and experience in this, will overcome this phase, too, with dignity.”
The Special Commission has been instructed to considerably bolster the disinfection and sanitary oversight in enterprises and markets, in shopping malls and organizations that resume business, and to expand awareness-raising campaign through the media, as well as in workplace. The President emphasized the importance of regular testing among personnel of all offices and venues providing services and whose activity involves direct contact with the population.
The services sector is one of the main sources of employment both in urban and rural areas. Its share in the gross domestic product is 35 percent. According to the International Labor Organization, an increase in the service industry by 1 percent will help reduce the number of poor by 1.5 percent.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted at the meeting that the possibilities of the sector in Uzbekistan are hardly utilized to the full. The head of our state pointed out that services such as repair of household appliances, dry cleaning, computer design, accounting, advertising, paid medical care are not sufficiently developed in localities.
This is indicative of the vast potential the sector offers in job creation. According to estimates, at least 160 thousand jobs can be created thus.
For instance, 21 young freelance software programmers are working in the city of Tashkent as well as in the Bukhara, Navoi and Tashkent regions. These specialists export services for $ 50 thousand a year and are in the crown 3 percent of the Top Talent rating.
The head of state noted the importance of supporting such talented youth, of delivering conditions to train the population in providing modern services.
The Deputy Prime Minister was instructed to devise, together with hokims, a program for promoting the services sector in every district and town across the nation. At the same time, the task was set to streamline this area, to bring its methodology and statistics in line with international standards.
Naturally, the development of the sphere is impossible without financial support. For this reason, the President signed a resolution providing for the assignment of more than $ 100 million or over 1 trillion soums of loan resources from the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan for projects in the services sector. These moneys will be allocated through both public and private banks with a rate not exceeding 15 percent.
The President insisted that local leaders effectively seize this opportunity and elaborate specific projects to allow for creating more jobs in the services sector in the soonest period as possible.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev suggested special attention be paid to issues of further training and employment of school and university graduates.
This year, more than 451 thousand teenagers have completed school, and another 188 thousand boys and girls bid farewell to vocational colleges (secondary special education institutions). Even taking into account the increase in admission quotas this year, 103 thousand will be able to enroll at higher education institutions, and 90 thousand of them will go to technical colleges (also secondary special education institutions). Therefore, employment of the remaining youths will be essential to take care of. In addition, 71 thousand students graduate from higher education institutions this year.
“Which one of the hokims has puzzled over this problem, who has met with graduates in person? Where should our young men and women go to request assistance in employment? Is there a reserve of jobs for them in regions? the head of state asked the participants of the meeting.
Thus, in the Surkhandarya region, about 2 thousand students complete teaching (pedagogical) majors. Currently, teachers are in shortage in rural schools of Sariasia, Altynsai and Uzun districts. It was emphasized that the hokim of the region and sector leaders should meet with these graduates and help them out with employment. Deputy Prime Ministers were instructed to stimulate young professionals who decided to work in remote areas, to introduce a system of providing them with primary material assistance and housing.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations has been instructed to set up Ishga Marhamat job assistance centers in Karakalpakstan and all other regions, to open training venues to instruct in professions and business fundamentals for young people, as well as training courses in mahalla guzars.
Earlier, on June 8, the President of Uzbekistan signed a decree on measures to simplify state regulation of entrepreneurial activity and self-employment. In accordance with the document, the types of activities that self-employed persons can engage in have grown in number from 24 to 67, while taxes and requirements for obtaining permits are minimized. Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted at the meeting that this is a huge reserve for employment.
The Central Bank has been instructed to allocate 300 billion soums of loan resources for self-employed persons within the framework of family entrepreneurship programs, and the Ministry of Finance is to introduce a system of subsidies for unemployed citizens starting a business to cover their costs associated with renting buildings for 3 months.
The meeting participants also discussed the development of domestic tourism.
Calculations showed the possibility of providing employment for more than 200 thousand people in this area. It is expected to create many jobs in related industries, such as catering, transportation, retail.
It was noted that every region contains immense opportunities for this, including untapped tourist attractions. For example, in the Yangikurgan district of Namangan region, 1,500 people can be provided with work through the restoration of 16 sanatoriums, while about 8 thousand can be employed in the Bostanlyk district of Tashkent region by creating tourist camps using lightweight structures. Moreover, travel potential in the ancient cities of the country are yet to be utilized to the full. Many compatriots have not had a chance to visit them.
The State Committee for Tourism Development is instructed, together with ministries, departments and hokimiyats, to open new routes for domestic tourism, boost the number of tour centers of light construction, and promote medical and health restoration tourism. The hokims and sector leaders were urged to ensure strict observance of epidemiological rules at all tourist sites, in hotels and restaurants.
Deputy Prime Ministers, officials in charge of the sphere and hokims provided information on ways to address issues raised at the video conference.
Taking advantage of the presence of relevant executives at the meeting, the President proposed to discuss the course of grain harvesting underway across the nation.
It was noted that owing to the heavy rainfall in the spring and the supply of a sufficient amount of material and technical resources and mineral fertilizers, it was possible to obtain a rich grain crop despite the pandemic.
There is everything available, it was indicated, to complete the harvest season earlier than usual, and all we need is the proper organization of works. Shavkat Mirziyoyev instructed the officials for the steadfast plowing of fields and planting of substituting crops.