As previously reported, the Actions Strategy on Five Priority Areas for 2017-2021 was developed and approved in Uzbekistan. The roadmap of the country's development for the next five years envisages a package of large-scale measures to streamline the state and public construction, ensure the rule of law and further reform the judicial system. The priorities also include the development and liberalization of the economy and social sector. Provision of security, inter-ethnic harmony and religious tolerance, implementation of balanced, mutually beneficial and constructive foreign policy are among the pivotal tracks of development of Uzbekistan.
A commission on the implementation of the Action Strategy is headed by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. It incorporates sub-commissions on each direction of the Strategy. They are entrusted with the fulfillment of the objectives, as well as with direct development of the drafts relating to annual state programs.
The Action Strategy will be implemented in five stages, each of which will imply a certain annual national program in accordance with a title of the year. The adoption of the Year of the Dialogue with the People and Human Interests has become the first step of the Strategy.
The Action Strategy and the National Program are built on conceptual issues of socio-political, socio-economic, cultural and humanitarian development of the country, as decflared by the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev during the election campaign, numerous meetings with the public, business community and government agencies.
Entitled as ‘Streamlining State and Public Construction’, the first direction of the national program envisages strengthening of the role of the Oliy Majlis in the state power system, radical improvement of legislative activity, and scale up of the role of political parties in public life.
In 2017, it is planned to develop important bills on parliamentary control and business ombudsman, and discuss them in the Oliy Majlis. That would significantly strengthen the role of the Oliy Majlis in the system of state power, expand its powers in addressing urgent problems of internal and foreign policy, as well as in the implementation of parliamentary control over the executive power. Amendments and additions to the Law on Ombudsman will be the follow-up of this work. There are plans to streamline the Law ‘On political parties’. The changes are called to further improve the performance of their regional, municipal and district branches, thereby enabling them to be deeper involved in addressing pressing problems of the electorate and in public life.
The reforms will introduce some new posts. The Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan will appoint its permanent representative in the Oliy Majlis, and factions of political parties will delegate secretaries to the Legislative Chamber to enforce the decisions made.
An E-Parliament will further intensify the communication of the population with senators and members of the Oliy Majlis.
It is planned to improve state governance, primarily reform the civil service, reduce state regulation of the economy, develop modern forms of mutually beneficial cooperation between the public and private sector, and the Electronic Government system.
Ensuring of effective dialogue with the people is one of the primary and urgent objectives of the national program. It envisages the improvement of public control, further development of NGOs, the media, as well as strengthening of the role of local communities in the society.
Important steps were made in this direction last week - the President approved a Decree ‘On further improvement of the institution of mahalla’. It aims at making the performance of self-government bodies more effective, at the transformation of the institution of mahalla into the people's structure that would be optimally close to the population, exercising the right for incorporating into an association that would represent the common interests of citizens' assemblies, strengthening their logistical capacity, as well as at the further expansion of their interaction with state authorities and civil society institutions.
The second direction of the national program is aimed at ensuring the rule of law and true independence of courts. It is planned to establish a Supreme Judicial Council to ensure the independence of judicial decision-making, establishment of a professional judiciary corps, and take measures to protect the rights and lawful interests of judges.
In this context, it is planned to implement a range of measures to raise the status, the level of financial incentives and social security for judges and court staff, strengthen the logistical capacity of courts. Under specific regulations, the judges will be elected for five years at the first appointment, with the possibility of re-election for another ten years in case of impeccable performance.
There is a need to take effective measures to prevent improper influence on judges through the institution of specialist rotation.
Certain attention will be paid to the full implementation of the principles of independence and impartiality of the court, adversarial and equal trial. Expansion of application of the institution of Habeas Corpus will be continued, and judicial control over the investigation will be enforced.
It is planned to further differentiate courts and strengthen their administration by establishing administrative courts, regional appellate courts in the system of economic courts, and institute a post of assistant judge.
There are plans to streamline the procedural legislation in order to avoid red tape and unjustified delays in consideration of court cases, expand powers of higher courts in terms of elimination of shortcomings and making a final decision for subordinate courts.
In this context, it is envisaged to take measures and build a direct dialogue between the people and executives of all law enforcement and regulatory agencies, state and economic management bodies, local authorities, ensure their availability to the public, timely reception of complaints and appeals on violations of rights and freedoms of individuals and legal entities.
Special attention will be paid to the crime prevention system, fundamental improvement of work of internal affairs agencies to combat crime and maintain public order. The authorities rank the enhancement of effectiveness of cordination of combating crime and crime prevention among key priorities. Much needs to be done to improve the performance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its territorial divisions. It is planned to adopt a target program on the improvement of the ministry.
An action plan to combat extremism, terrorism and criminal offenses will also be a guide to action.
Improvement of organizational and legal mechanisms for combating corruption and enhancement of effectiveness of anti-corruption measures is considered as an independent direction. It is planned to adopt the whole range of regulations to streamline this sector.
The improvement of the legal culture and legal awareness of the population, organization of effective interaction between state structures, civil society institutions, and the media was defined as a separate area of action.
There is a need to develop a concept of further improvement of criminal and criminal procedural law for 2018-2021, streamline the education system, select and arrange the staff at judiciary and law enforcement supervisory bodies, constantly analyze complaints and regularly publish the results of the monitoring, develop barrister system, and reform notary and registry office system.
Development and liberalization of the economy is a pivotal section of the national program. It is envisaged to ensure stability of the national currency and prices, gradually introduce modern market of currency regulation mechanisms, expand the revenue capacity of local budgets, expand foreign economic relations, introduce advanced technologies of production of export-oriented products, develop transport and logistics infrastructure, increase the investment appeal of entrepreneurship, improve tax administration, introduce modern principles and mechanisms of regulation of banking, develop diversified farms, as well as rapidly develop the tourism industry.
In pursuance of the objectives that have been set, the banking sector was assigned to seek for the ways to introduce various loan products with the use of plastic cards in purchasing goods (works, services) for consumer needs.
Banks will also be engaged in expanding the practice of introduction of a variety of bonus, discount and promotional programs jointly with trade and service organizations in order to promote and catalyze interest among plastic cards holders.
The President has already issued several regulations aiming at protecting the interests of private property and entrepreneurship. The acts introduce a new form of business registration through the ‘single window’ system, allowing document processing within few minutes. Meanwhile, there are new solutions to come to strengthen the protection of private property, financial market, to modernize agriculture, develop the jewelry industry, and prepare certain national companies for initial public offering (IPO) on reputable foreign stock exchanges.
In 2017-2021, it is planned to implement sectoral programs that envisage 649 investment projects totaling $40 billion. As a result, the production of industrial goods will increase 1.5 times, its share in GDP will grow from 33.6% to 36% , and share of processing industry - from 80% to 85% over the next five years.
Development of the social sector provides for the increase in employment, improvement of social protection and public health protection system, development and modernization of road transport, engineering, communications and social infrastructure, improvement of electricity and gas supply, quality of social assistance to vulnerable groups, rise of the status of women in public and political life, healthcare reformation, provision of availability of pre-school educational institutions, improvement of quality of secondary, specialized and higher education.
Employment programs should be unconditionally implemented through the creation of 256,400 jobs under 25,000 investment projects on integrated development of territories. It is planned to create 46,800 jobs and allocate loans to 10,000 graduates of educational institutions for starting a business in the regions with the highest unemployment rate.
The document provides for support of the older generation, and streamlining the procedure of allocation of social allowances. The priority will be given to the improvement of health of veterans. Previous privileges will be supplemented with new ones.
In particular, the veterans of the war of 1941-1945 will have a right for compensation for unused opportunity of resort therapy once a year. A network of health resorts providing service to the elderly will be expanded for their convenience: it is planned to build three new resorts.
The reformation of the health sector will be continued. It is planned to revamp 78 regional medical associations, seven municipal and two regional diversified medical centers. Development of emergency medical services will be of special focus. The service will be supplied with 1,200 specialized vehicles, and each district will receive two reanimobiles.
15,000 affordable houses, 415 km of water ways, 316 km of gas pipelines, and 291 km of internal roads will be built in rural areas. 86 new bus routes will be introduced, and 537 modern buses will be purchased as part of improvement of quality of public transport services.
Education sector also expects a broad range of activities on reconstruction, refurbishment and equipping of all educational institutions. The emphasis will be placed on the development of pre-school education, which is a focus of the recent national program.
From now and on, construction and installation works will be funded by the Fund for Reconstruction, Overhaul and Equipping of Schools, Colleges, Lyceums and Medical Facilities. A new five-year program will be the follow-up of the completed program on higher education development.
The fifth direction comes to ‘Ensuring Security, Inter-Ethnic Concord and Religious Tolerance’, and pursuance of balanced, mutually beneficial and constructive foreign policy. It envisages measures on protecting constitutional system, sovereignty, territorial integrity, improvement of information systems, legal and regulatory framework in the field of cyber-safety. A large range of measures is aimed at the organization and development of the public emergency alert system, and mitigation of the Aral Sea disaster.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev approved the national program ‘On the development of the Aral Sea region for 2017-2021’, which envisages measures on improvement of environmental and socio-economic situation, living conditions of the population, and effective implementation of investment projects on mitigating the environmental disaster. In particular, more than 8.4 trillion soums has been allocated for the recently adopted national program ‘On the development of the Aral Sea region’.
In addition to the tax benefits, residents of the Aral Sea area have been provided with a new kind of social allowance in the form of one-time financial assistance from two to five times the minimum wage. It is appointed by the decision of the Commission of Rural (Mahalla) of Citizens' Assemblies to needy families, especially lonely citizens, pensioners, families with disabled breadwinner and other low-income categories of the population.
There are plans afoot to develop a concept of policy priorities in the field of international relations, and a concept of public policy in religious sector. It is also planned to draft road maps for the development of cooperation with foreign partners in politics and diplomacy, drastic development and expansion of trade, economic, investment, technological, financial and technical cooperation with foreign partners of Uzbekistan for 2017.
(As part of the social order of the Oliy Majlis Public Fund for the Support of NGOs and Other Civil Society Institutions).