December 17, 2007

Politics:
Islam Karimov meets voters in Jizzakh and Syrdarya regions
Dilorom Tashmuhamedova meets voters in Syrdarya region
Akmal Saidov meets voters in Tashkent and Tashkent region
Asliddin Rustamov meets voters in Andijan region
OSCE Mission Monitors Election Campaign in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan opens 43 voting districts abroad to hold the Presidential elections
Economics:
Measures taken to prevent price growth for basic consumer goods
Universal Sugurta plans to raise capital to US$1 million
Number of micro-credit organizations on rise
The Banker names Pakhta Bank "the bank of the year in Uzbekistan"
Society:
Soiree Notes Children’s Talent, Awards Diplomas
UNICEF Sums Up Results Of Anemia-Awareness Contest
"The 18th Square" wins in Volokalamsk Film Festival

POLITICS

ISLAM KARIMOV MEETS VOTERS IN JIZZAKH AND SYRDARYA REGIONS

The meetings of the candidates to the post of the President of Uzbekistan with voters are continuing. The candidate to the post of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan from the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businessmen – Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov met voters in Jizzakh and Syrdarya regions on 14 of December, Uzbekistan National News Agency (UzA) reported.

Jizzakh. The chairman of the 5th Jizzakh district election commission S.Kabilov opened the meeting. The participants received information on the program of the candidate, which covers such issues as continuation of wide-scale economic and sociopolitical reforms, strengthening democracy, ensuring supremacy of the law and social justice, supporting farmers, small business and private entrepreneurship, improvement of the investment climate, reducing the tax burden, introducing high technologies in production and improving the people’s well being.

Islam Karimov made a speech at the meeting. He said Jizzakh region occupied a special place in the economy of the country with its high industrial and agricultural potential. The region hosts a number of large enterprises, including UzExide, Jizantep, For-Tex and others.

The participants of the meeting said the measures implemented to ensure social and economic stability, development of economy and strengthening Uzbekistan’s independence are directly linked with the name of Islam Karimov.

They emphasized that supporting the candidature of Islam Karimov was a reliable guarantee of the continuation of the wide-scale reforms and increasing the people’s prosperity.

Syrdarya. The meeting in Gulistan was opened by the chairman of the 9th Syrdarya district election commission S.Kudratov. The participants received information on the program of the candidate, which covers such issues as continuation of wide-scale reforms in the country, supporting farmers, small business and private entrepreneurship, introducing high technologies in production, increasing the people’s incomes, ensuring supremacy of the law and social justice.

Islam Karimov made a speech at the meeting. He noted that gross regional product of Syrdarya increased 1.3 times in the recent eyars, and industrial production grew 1.7 times.

As a result of deep reforms, the country’s economy is developing intensively, and the people’s prosperity is growing. The sizes of pensions and social allowances are being increased, as well as the real incomes of the population. Processes of modernization and democratization of the country, liberalization of the economic and political spheres are continuing.

The participants of the meeting said the measures implemented to ensure social and economic stability, development of economy and strengthening Uzbekistan’s independence are directly linked with the name of Islam Karimov.

They stressed that supporting the candidature of Islam Karimov was a reliable guarantee of the continuation of the wide-scale reforms and increasing the people’s prosperity.

DILOROM TASHMUHAMEDOVA MEETS VOTERS IN SYRDARYA REGION

The candidate to the post of the President of Uzbekistan from the Adolat Social Democratic Party Dilorom Tashmuhamevoda met voters in Syrdarya region on 15 December.

The chairman of the 9th Syrdarya district election commission S.Kudratov opened the meeting. The authorized representative of the candidate, head of department at Bayaut district central hospital Urozali Norbutayev familiarized the gathered with the candidate’s biography and program.

The program states that wide-scale reforms implemented in Uzbekistan in the years of independence have produced notable results. The country’s economy is developing and the people’s well being is improving. Reforms in the economic and sociopolitical spheres are deepening.

The candidate to the post of the President of Uzbekistan Dilorom Tashmuhamevoda made a speech at the meeting.

The meeting participants expressed their views on the candidate’s program.

They noted that the present election campaign was an important event in the sociopolitical life of the country, and called on the voters to take an active part in the elections of the President of Uzbekistan on 23 December 2007.

Conduction of the elections of the President of Uzbekistan on a multiparty and alternative basis is a proof that principles of democracy are being observed in the country.

AKMAL SAIDOV MEETS VOTERS IN TASHKENT AND TASHKENT REGION

Meetings of the candidates to the post of the President of Uzbekistan with voters are nearing completion. The candidate from the initiative group of voters Akmal Saidov met voters in Tashkent city and Tashkent region on 15 December.

The chairman of the 2nd Tashkent city election commission A.Ahmedov opened the meeting. The authorized representatives of the candidate, head of the Mehr Ko‘zda organization Mohira Tashkhodjayeva and chairman of the Tashkent city lawyers association Gulnora Eshonkhonova presented the biography and the program of the candidate to the gathered.

The program states that wide-scale reforms implemented in Uzbekistan in the years of independence have led to increasing the people’s prosperity and continuation of the processes of democratization and social renewal. Reforms in economic and sociopolitical life, legal system, science, education, healthcare and other spheres serve to protect the interests of the people.

The candidate to the post of the President of Uzbekistan Akmal Saidov made a speech at the meeting.

The participants expressed their views of the program of the candidate. They noted that conduction of the elections of the President of Uzbekistan on a multiparty and alternative basis, particularly, with participation of a candidate from a group of voters, was a proof that principles of democracy were being fully observed in the country.

They speakers called on the voters to take an active part in the elections of the President of Uzbekistan scheduled for 23 December 2007.

ASLIDDIN RUSTAMOV MEETS VOTERS IN ANDIJAN REGION

The candidate to the post of the President of Uzbekistan from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Asliddin Rustamov met voters in Andijan region on 14 December.

The chairman of the 3rd Andijan district election commission A.Sultanov opened the meeting. The authorized representative of the candidate, vice chairman of Andijan city council of the Nuroniy fund Turgunoy Tajibayeva familiarized the participants with the biography and the program of the candidate.

The program states that wide-scale reforms in the country have given significant results. The economic potential of Uzbekistan has strengthened, the people’s well being has improved and the attention to social protection of the population has increased.

The candidate to the post of the President of Uzbekistan Asliddin Rustamov made a speech at the meeting.

The participants of the meeting said conduction of the elections of the President of Uzbekistan on a multiparty and alternative basis was a proof of the fact that the national election legislation complied with international norms.

They expressed views on the program of the candidate and called on the voters to take an active part in the elections of the President of Uzbekistan due on 23 December 2007.

OSCE MISSION MONITORS ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN UZBEKISTAN

The ODIHR/OSCE mission consists of 24 observers. These days they conduct meetings at headquarters of the presidential candidates and are acquainted with the activity of electoral districts and polling stations.

“Elections in each country are a subject of a special observation and it is important for us to fulfill our work fairly. We are happy that we have received an invitation from the Central Election Committee (CEC) of Uzbekistan to observe the important political event in this country,” said Ambassador Walter Sigel, the ODIHR/OSCE mission head.

Sigel said that the OSCE mission intends to receive objective information about the process of the Uzbek presidential elections and to develop recommendations on improving the electoral legislation of Uzbekistan.

“Our mission consists in two interdependent tasks. The first task is to receive objective information on conformity of the conducted campaign with the national legislation and universally accepted democratic norms. The second one is to develop recommendations in the process of this work which could be useful for Uzbekistan in further improvement of its electoral legislation,” said he during the meeting at the PDP Central Council headquarters.

OSCE observers noted the Uzbek citizens’ awareness of the forthcoming elections, registered candidates and other aspects of the election campaign despite the absence of a high pre-election activity in such public places as streets, squares and supermarkets.

In this respect the PDP officials said that the election campaign is covered by about 100 media in the republic in particular by the two central TV channels which broadcast their programs on election topics at prime-time. They noticed that a considerable part of pre-election actions are conducted directly in mahallas – local community bodies where polling stations function actively.

They said that polling stations are provided sufficiently with election literature in particular posters and brochures with biographies and election programs of all candidates. Besides it was noted that apart from meetings of the PDP candidate with voters authorized representatives conduct appropriate agitation works too.

In a meeting at the headquarters of the Political Council of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which has nominated Islam Karimov, the incumbent president as its candidate the ODIHR/OSCE representatives were interested in the activity of this political party in general and its participation in the presidential elections.

The ODIHR/OSCE mission visited the Central Council of the Adolat Social-democratic Party as well and met the members of the Voters’ Initiative Group. Then they visited the Tashkent city Electoral District number 2.

According to the Uzbek CEC preliminary data it is expected the participation of representatives from 33 countries as observers and a number of the authoritative international organizations. On the whole 23300 people will observe the pre-election campaign and the voting process of the presidential elections.

It needs to be reminded that 4 candidates are running for presidency: Asliddin Rustamov of the PDP, Dilorom Tashmuhamedova of the Adolat Social-democratic Party, Islam Karimov of the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Business People - Liberal Democratic Party and Akmal Saidov of the Voters’ Initiative Group.

UZBEKISTAN OPENS 43 VOTING DISTRICTS ABROAD TO HOLD THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Uzbekistan opened voting districts to hold the Presidential elections at 43 diplomatic missions in Uzbekistan. "Forty-three voting districts for the presidential election have been opened in Uzbekistan's diplomatic missions in foreign countries for our citizens," the Central Election Commission (CEC) told on December 14, Information Agency Press-uz.info reported.

ECONOMY

MEASURES TAKEN TO PREVENT PRICE GROWTH FOR BASIC CONSUMER GOODS

The State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Demonopolisation, Support of Competition and Entrepreneurship (hereinafter State Demonopolisation Committee) has implemented substantial work to prevent an unjustified growth of prices for the basic consumer goods – cottonseed oil and flour.

According to the Committee, a series of organizational measures were implemented for this purpose: information about the retail prices set for flour and cottonseed oil has been printed, and spread out to all retail trade outlets in the country (about 23,000); the daily schedule of the supplies of flour and cottonseed oil at the commodity exchange has been developed and approved, its performance was taken under strict control; over 3,151 monitorings were carried out and hotlines have been created for the population by the Committee and its territorial branches to ensure faster identification of the incidents of sale of flour and vegetable oil at high prices.

As a result, more than 790 claims and requests have been received from the population through the hotlines. These incidents were acted on. The monitoring revealed 500 incidents of overpricing. Based on these facts, 343 suits were filed; 281 of them have been heard and ruled on. Fifteen enterprises were included in the State register of monopolies in the packaging of oil. The expenses for the bottling of oil have been brought to the optimal economically justified price level of 275 soums for 1 liter, which reduced the packaging expenses to 30%, which, in turn, reduced the retail prices for bottled oil on average by 8-10%.

In particular, seven enterprises engaged in wholesale of flour and cottonseed oil were charged fines for violation of the price limits set. Also, 202 retail trade outlets, according to the decisions of the Committee, will receive compensation. And in 77 cases, the retail trade enterprises received warnings.

For instance, the investigation revealed that as a result of artificial increase in the margins on the limit prices set for flour and cottonseed oil, the Toshkent Ozik Ovkat Zahirasi Unitary Enterprise (Tashkent city) had received an unjustified income of 52.1 million soums. The Committee has ordered that this sum is deducted from the company's account.
In order to prevent in the increase in prices for UchKurgonYog products, an investigation was conducted. As a result a lawsuit was filed based on the violations identified.

The analysis of the application of wholesale prices by the enterprises of the fat-and-oil industry revealed that a number of enterprises, such as AsakaYog (Andijan region), JizzakhYog (Jizzakh region), KattakurgonYog (Samarkand region) and Toshkent Yog-Moy Kombinati (Tashkent) received unjustified extra income by overstating the costs of packaging. These cases are now being investigated.

At the same time, the Committee and its territorial bodies revealed more than 100 incidents of overpricing of vegetable oil, based on which the cases on violation of the anti-monopoly legislation were filed. Most of these cases were found in Syrdarya, Surkhandarya, Jizzakh and Khorezm regions and the city of Tashkent.
The State Demonopolisation Committee continues to take appropriate measures on the issues discussed.

UNIVERSAL SUGURTA PLANS TO RAISE CAPITAL TO US$1 MILLION

The Ministry of Finance has re-registered the licenses of Universal Sugurta Insurance Company due to the changes in the ownership of the company and the legal status of the company.

Universal Sugurta Insurance Company has been issued a license No. SF00081 of 7 December 2007 allowing it to render services in 13 classes of general insurance.

The share of the Swiss co-owner of the company was bought out by the local and foreign investors, and as the share of foreign capital in the equity of Universal Sugurta fell below 30%, the company no longer is a joint venture.

Moreover, in the shortest future it is planned to increase the company's capital to US$1 million. The size of the company's current capital makes up US$500,000.

Uzbek-Swiss Universal Sugurta Joint-Venture was founded through the re-organisation of the Metro Closed Joint-Stock Insurance Company on 24 July 2003. It has successfully operated in the Uzbek insurance market for over 10 years.

NUMBER OF MICRO-CREDIT ORGANIZATIONS ON RISE

Pursuant to the Article 17 of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan" and the Article 9 of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On micro-credit organizations", the Central Bank of Uzbekistan has issued licenses to two legal entities granting them the right to render a micro-credit organisation's services.

These two entities are Zamon LLC (Urgut city, Samarkand region) set up with the capital of 12.65 million soums and Renesans LLC (Chirchik city, Tashkent region) set up with the capital of 20 million soums.

New micro-finance organizations intend to provide micro-loans and microcredits, including consumer loans, and provide microleasing services.

According to the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On the programme of developing micro-financing in the Republic of Uzbekistan through 2010" of 8 June 2007 it is planned to expand the network of micro-finance organizations in the regions of the country to 97 micro-credit organizations.

THE BANKER NAMES PAKHTA BANK "THE BANK OF THE YEAR IN UZBEKISTAN"

The Banker magazine, a part of the Financial Times Publishing Group has named Pakhta Bank "the bank of the year in Uzbekistan."

The award ceremony was held on 26 November in London. Pakhta Bank had previously received the prestigious award in 2003. The Banker compared the results of the banks' financial performance, growth and other indicators. It also took into account the information on strategic development of the financial institutions, the development of technology and other qualities.

Pakhta Bank, a specialised joint-stock commercial bank, was founded in 1995. The bank became the heir of the UzAgroPromBank (Uzbek Agricultural Industrial Bank) in its financial, property and other obligations and responsibilities.

SOCIETY

SOIREE NOTES CHILDREN’S TALENT, AWARDS DIPLOMAS

The soiree dedicated to awarding the winners of the international contest of children’s drawing, which was held this year at the Slovak Republic and the international contest of children’s drawing “Shankar” in India, has been held at the International caravansary of culture at the Academy Arts of Uzbekistan, the Uzbekistan National News Agency (UzA) Russian-language website reported.

The deputy chairman of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan Ravshan Mirtojiev, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic in Uzbekistan Jozef Macishak and others said that the work now underway in Uzbekistan in upbringing the harmonically developed generation, revealing and comprehensively supporting the young talents bears the tangible results. The gifted boys and girls successfully participate at the international contests, exhibitions and festivals.

In particular, the pictures by Bakhrom Allanazarov, Guli Khojamova, Sardor Atabaev from Khorezm lyceum of fine and applied arts, Dilshod Jabbarov, Doston Kurbanov from Kashkadarya lyceum of fine and applied arts and others were awarded the silver medals at the international contest of the children’s drawing “Shankar” held in India.

The pupils of the republican lyceum of fine and applied arts Kamola Mirkhojieva and Davron Fattakhov received the special diplomas at the international contest of children’s drawing held in Slovakia.

The winners of the international contests were awarded the diplomas. Also, the participants of the event are reported to have enjoyed the exhibition of the children’s drawing.

UNICEF SUMS UP RESULTS OF ANEMIA-AWARENESS CONTEST

Tashkent held the awarding ceremony of winners of “III National Award in press, television and radio broadcasting of the National program on flour fortification” organized by the Ministry of Health, Union of Journalists and the UNICEF Office, Nasiba Sabirova of the Information Agency “Jahon” reported.

The head of the UNICEF Office in Uzbekistan Reza Hossayni has said that in line with statistics one third of the population of Earth suffer from iron-deficiency anemia – it accounts for over 2 billion people.

“It is a big figure and the people must join hands to avoid this. The main weapon against the struggle with anemia is information,” - Reza Hossayni has said.

The microelements are the vital substances for the healthy functioning of adult and child human bodies. Their deficiency in the human organism negatively impacts the health and well being of the nation, as a whole.

Organizers of the contest have decided that the problem of flour fortification is impossible to address without active work of all mass media, which can better promote the broad consumer demand of population in the enriched flour and cereal products.

“We have decided to involve all mass media representatives: the radio, television, press, as well as electronic media. Jury consists of leading specialists of different branches related to the solution of flour fortification problem, members of Uzbekistan Journalist’s Union, heads of several mass media outlets”, - Rustam Khaydarov, the public relations and marketing counselor of the National program on flour fortification, has said.

Jury has underscored that this year the participants had made a great contribution to the struggle against anemia and they showed much deeper knowledge in their works and realization of the topic, as well creative approach to it and accessible explanation for the public.

At the ceremony the winner journalists were awarded the diplomas and valuable prizes.

"THE 18TH SQUARE" WINS IN VOLOKALAMSK FILM FESTIVAL

An Uzbek movie, "The 18th square" won at the Fourth International Festival of Patriotic Military Films held in the Russian city of Volokalamsk, UzA reported.

The efforts being given in Uzbekistan to develop the national art of cinematography is producing positive results. A bright example of this are the movies reflecting the country's achievements in the years of independence, the great constructive potential of the nation, the life and selfless labour of all compatriots.

An example of such movies is the The 18th Square produced by UzbekFilm and directed by Jahongir Kasymov. The script of the movie belongs to a famous writer Murad Muhammad Dost. The movie talks about the life of military men contributing to the strengthening of the Homeland's independence, protection of its security, protection of peaceful and stable life of its population. Through interesting episodes the movie describes the heroic acts of Uzbek military men protecting the integrity of the country's borders.

The main roles were performed by actors Said Muhtarov, Tahir Saidov, Javohir Kasymov and others.