On December 14, a videoconference meeting was held under the chairmanship of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at which the effectiveness of the ongoing work on the development of the services sector and priority tasks for the future were considered.
On May 11 this year, the President signed a resolution «On measures to accelerate the development of the services sector». The document provides for the transformation of this sector into one of the drivers of the economy and a twofold increase in the volume of services by 2023.
On September 30, another important document, the Presidential Decree «On additional measures to support the services sector», which extended the benefits for public catering, trade, tourism and transport introduced due to the pandemic, was adopted. The problems raised during the meeting with entrepreneurs were also resolved.
This year, 29 thousand projects for 18 trillion Uzbek soums have been implemented, and growth in the services sector has amounted to 20 percent. However, the growth rates in 5 districts and cities turned out to be extremely low. In general, the local service output remains low.
In this regard, the issues of large-scale development of the services sector, the use of unused opportunities were discussed during the meeting.
The President stressed the need for a special approach to each region and gave concrete examples of this. Based on the population, 3 directions for the development of the sphere and geographical location and economic potential of districts and cities have been identified.
The first direction is the development of services in 158 districts. In particular, a priority attention will be given to tourism in 45 areas with tourist attractions and 40 mountainous areas. For example, the villages of Navruz, Miraki, Oqdaryo and Gyssar of the Shakhrisabz District are visited by around 500 thousand tourists annually. If 65 kilometers of roads are repaired, access to the Internet and mobile communications is improved, the volume of services here can be increased to 3-4 times. As a result, the guest houses, retail and catering outlets will open and additional jobs will be created.
The President has emphasized the need to provide such areas with necessary infrastructure and put up the land plots for bidding for the implementation of the turnkey projects.
The instructions were also given on the introduction of a special tax regime for the tourism industry, the allocation of soft loans for the opening of guesthouses.
It was noted that in 27 regions with a developed industry, preference will be given to trade, catering, logistics, hotels and entertainment services.
In the areas with high incomes from agriculture, an emphasis will be placed on the development of modern agricultural services.
Thus, the Center for Agricultural Services and private veterinary clinics will be established in the Qamashi District. It is set to build an eco-market with a 200-ton refrigerated storage and create a thousand jobs in the district center.
The district khokims (governors) were instructed to develop similar programs on the example of the Qamashi District.
It is well-known that in 21 districts «New Uzbekistan» residential areas for 10 thousand families with schools, kindergartens and medical facilities will be built. Understandably, this is a wonderful opportunity for the development of services and trade sectors.
25 border provinces and 100 provinces with international road and rail specialize in trade and logistics services. The responsible officials were instructed to develop a roadside service development program, fundamentally improve the infrastructure of checkpoints with neighboring countries and the roads leading to them.
In general, in these 158 districts, there are the conditions for creating 300 thousand jobs in the services sector.
The second direction is the development of modern market services at 29 medium-sized and large cities, as well as 6 districts with a population of more than 300 thousand people.
In this regard, the instructions were given on the effective use of non-residential premises of multi-storey buildings, the auctioning of land plots for installations made of lightweight structures.
It is an open secret that there are not enough places in many city schools and preschool institutions. Consequently, the tasks have been set to expand the coverage of private educational services, allocate land for the construction of schools and kindergartens.
It was noted that, based on the experience of the Tashkent Region, it is necessary to open the IT academies in each region to train the youth for modern services.
In general, it is set to create 200 thousand jobs for the services sector in these 35 cities and districts.
In the third direction, a special program for the development of highly profitable services will be adopted in Tashkent, Samarkand and Namangan.
For instance, in the Sergeli District of the capital city, there is an opportunity to create 5 thousand jobs in trade and services through the creation of infrastructure along the elevated metro lines. Alternatively, the art streets with shops for paintings, sculptures and handicrafts can be set up.
The responsible officials were instructed to improve the work of museums, expand their expositions and open the new routes for tourists.
The increase in retail trade in such large cities as Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara will be facilitated by the introduction of the «tax free» system, a further increase in retail sales through the opening of «duty free» stores in the city. An instruction was given to study the issue of organizing a system for returning VAT to foreign tourists for purchases in all tourist cities.
In total, it is envisioned to create 750 thousand jobs in the service sector in Tashkent, Namangan and Samarkand.
Next year, $500 million will be allocated for the implementation of projects in this sector.
The information from the officials in charge were taken into account on the issues discussed at the meeting.