February 11, 2008
Uzbekistan’s GDP increases by 9.5% in 2007
Russia and Uzbekistan prepared to reconstruct Central Asia-Centre pipeline
Credit unions deserved trust
Western Union annual award ceremony of commercial banks
Uzbekistan Express: remittance services within Uzbekistan
Society consolidates efforts
New phase in education development
In the centre of special attention
UZBEKISTAN’S GDP INCREASES BY 9.5% IN 2007
Uzbekistan’s GDP increased by 9.5% in 2007, President Islam Karimov said at the Cabinet of Ministers session in Tashkent on 8 February.
Speaking about the results of the country’s socioeconomic development last year, the head of the state said industrial production grew by 12.1%, agricultural production by 6.1%, paid services increased by 20.6% and contract-based construction works by 15.7%.
High export growth (40.7%) ensured stable balance of payment and increase of the gold reserves, Uzbekistan National News Agency reported.
The inflation rate made up 6.8% and did not exceed the forecast, Islam Karimov said.
Favorable investment climate and realization of the industrial modernization program ensured 23% growth of investments in the economy. Foreign investments increased considerably, with FDI accounting for 83%.
The share of the private sector made up 85% of the GDP, 80% of industrial production and 100% of agricultural production and retail trade.
Reforms in agriculture continued last year, and farms became the main producers of the agricultural products. A wide network of market infrastructure has been created in the regions of the country, which provide required services to agricultural producers. More than 200 agro firms deal with complex processing of the agricultural products.
In the banking sector, charter capitals of commercial banks increased almost two times, while their cumulative capital grew by more than 40% against 2006 to UZS 1.5 trillion. The volume of micro credits issued to entrepreneurs and individuals increased by 70%.
The salaries, pensions, stipends and social allowances increased 1.5 times last year, with the average salaries reaching USD 210 in December 2007.
A total of more than 630,000 new workplaces were created, two thirds of which were in rural areas. About 65% of the new jobs were in the small entrepreneurship and service sectors, and more than 20% in the out-work sector.
The cardinal measures taken to create new workplaces allowed reducing the number of unemployed people to 5% at the end of 2007.
In his report, President Islam Karimov also spoke about the existing problems and touched upon the Program of measures to implement priorities and directions of socioeconomic development for 2008.
RUSSIA AND UZBEKISTAN PREPARED TO RECONSTRUCT CENTRAL ASIA-CENTRE PIPELINE
Russia and Uzbekistan have confirmed their preparedness to implement the project on the development of the gas-transport infrastructure in Central Asian region, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said after the talks with his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov in Kremlin, Uzreport.com Business Information Portal quoting Russian media reports.
"Both sides have confirmed their interest in timely implementation of the agreements on the development of gas transportation infrastructure in Central Asian region. In performance of these agreements we aim at active cooperation with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan," Putin said.
In May 2007 Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed to take part in the modernization of the Central Asia – Centre pipeline that crosses the territory of the Russian federation. The countries will reconstruct the pipeline to increase its carrying capacity by 20 billion cubic meters. At this time Turkmenistan exports its gas through the Central Asia – Centre main, the annual carrying capacity of which exceeds 50 billion cbm. However in the future after the modernization of the pipeline, it will transport some 230 million cbm daily.
The President of the Russian Federation also noted that along with intensification of cooperation in the field of fuel and energy complex, attention would be drawn towards the strengthening of partnership in the field of high technology. He noted on the importance of the joint statement signed at the end of the meeting with the Uzbek leader.
"The main thing I would like to mention about this political document is the mutual aspiration of both parties to put forward real projects within the frame of our cooperation, to aim at specific goals, and to achieve them," the Russian President said.
He added that Russia viewed Uzbekistan as one of the most important strategic partners in Central Asian region and would continue close cooperation with the country in the international arena, particularly concerning the situation in Afghanistan.
CREDIT UNIONS DESERVED TRUST
Credit unions of Uzbekistan strengthened their positions in the financial market last year. Total assets of credit unions of Uzbekistan increased by 2.5 times and reached UZS 48.4 billion in 2007.
A very important step is made for nonbanking services sector development: the access of population and private entrepreneurs to alternative resources of the financial market of the country increases. As the press service of the Central Bank of Uzbekistan informed UT, the remainder of credit investments increased by 2.5 times during the year and made UZS 42.9 billion. Credit unions also showed activity in the deposit market. By the end of the year the volume of attracted deposits increased 2.4 times and in total made UZS 34.5 billion. Positive changes also occurred in capital growth of credit unions. Their aggregate capital increased 2.7 times last year and made approximately UZS 11.6 billion. Today almost 67 thousand of physical and legal persons are members of credit unions.
The Central bank emphasizes that Uzbekistan takes all measures on development of nonbanking credit organizations. In particular, a necessary normative and legal base and the procedure of financial operations and book keeping of credit unions are developed in the republic. By January, 1st, 2008 the Central Bank registered 55 credit unions.
We shall remind that the last summer the government of the Republic adopted the Microfinancing Development Program till 2010. The basic purpose of the program is creation of favorable conditions for organization and starting of own business by an active part of the population, full support of the population with required microfinancial services, further development of the financial system of the country and small entrepreneurship.
The government intends to create economic and organizational conditions for expansion of the credit unions network and other microfinancial organizations for realization of these tasks including improvement of normative and legal basis and the regulation system of these organizations. In particular, the Association of credit unions and microcrediting organizations was offered to take measures on introduction of the advanced international methods of microfinancing in activity of organizations, on strengthening of institutional potential and gaining stability by means of introduction of more strict standards, especially in the control system and transparency of activity.
It is expected that realization of the program will provide creation of effective and competitive system of the microfinancing capable to completely provide the need in microfinancial services by the beginning of 2010. The ninety seven credit organizations and 62 credit unions are projected to be created, and the total volume of credit investments of microfinancial organizations is planned to bring to UZS 127 billion.
“These organizations should make qualitative leap for advance in the market. At least, the government aimed to urge the unions accepting the Microfinancing Development Program,” informed the newspaper Sevara Muhamet-Alieva, the director of the project of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), who is one of the initiators and the international counsellor for unions’ development in Uzbekistan. “Last year the Association of credit unions created “the Guarantor Alliance” stabilization fund intending to raise the level of population trust to credit unions.
Citizens of Uzbekistan should not only rely on banks and other credit institutions, but should cooperate for rendering financial help to each other. Credit unions should also become the main link here.
WESTERN UNION ANNUAL AWARD CEREMONY OF COMMERCIAL BANKS
On February 1 the Western Union Financial Services GmbH Company conducted the traditional annual award ceremony of Uzbek commercial banks. The Top Country Teams 2007 awards were presented by the Company's Regional Vice-President for Russia and CIS Jonathan Knaus at the International Business Centre in Tashkent.
Western Union Company entered the Uzbekistan market in 2003. Over the last five years of company's presence on the territory of Uzbekistan its service network of international remittances has grown by more than 1,000 service points, Uzreport.com Business Information Portal reported.
This would probably be impossible without the efforts of the company's partners in the country – authorized banks. Among them are Capital Bank, National Bank of Uzbekistan for Foreign Economic Activity, Micro-Credit Bank, Trust Bank, Uktam Bank, Uzbekistan-Turkish Bank, Ipoteka Bank, People's Bank, Credit Standard Bank, Turon Bank, Aloka Bank, Universal Bank, Pakhta Bank, Savdogar Bank, Turkiston Bank, Alp Jamol Bank, Ravnak Bank, Parvina Bank, Hamkor Bank, Davr Bank, Asaka Bank, UzPromStroyBank, and Ipak Yuli Bank.
The company's fruitful cooperation with its bank-partners is supported by special programmes aimed at motivating the operator banks towards provision of higher quality international remittance services through the system of Western Union.
The Top Country Teams Programme is an example of such programmes.
This programme based on the principle of intra-national competition has been conducted by Western Union throughout full calendar year and is aimed at raising the quality of services provided by the most active service points of Western Union system of international remittances.
The main function of the programme is to focus the attention on 72 most productive service points, owned by 15 authorised banks functioning on the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan by motivating their operators towards provision of higher quality client service, which in turn would build customer loyalty and expand the client base.
Every year, as a part of this programme Western Union conducts specialized trainings and sends special informational and test materials allowing the operators of service points participating in the programme to notably improve their skills of working with clients using Western Union international remittance services and make their service points distinctive from the rest by paying special attention to the marketing support of the services. In 2007 the company conducted trainings in Tashkent, Samarkand, Ferghana, and Khiva, where it trained about 190 operators.
At the end of each calendar year, the company invites an independent company that carries out an audit by making the so called "secret visits" and "secret calls" to all service points participating in the programme which allows it to make an objective assessment of the quality level of services provided. The winners of the Top Country Teams Programme are identified though the analysis of the results of this independent audit and estimation of the level of service quality, professionalism in management of the service network, the scale of presence of each individual participant bank in the regions of Uzbekistan, and the volume and growth of the volume of factual money remittances conducted in the corresponding calendar year.
Based on the yearly results the Western Union company awards the winners of the programme in the main and additional nominations considering every service point participating in the programme. It is worth mentioning that the Top Country Teams Programme is conducted by the company not only in the Republic of Uzbekistan, but also in the CIS and Eastern Europe.
According to the 2007 results the winners of the Top Country Teams quality assessment and reward programme were identified in the following main nominations: the "Best improvement of service quality" – Kokand division of Capital Bank (the main award of the programme – trip to Malta presented to its representatives); the "Best service point in all categories" – a Shahrihan city division (Andijan region) of the National Bank of Uzbekistan for Foreign Economic Activity; the "Best service point by the volume of factually conducted remittances" – Angren city division of Ipoteka Bank; the "Best service point by the growth of remittances volume" – Yangiyul division of Turon Bank; the "Best service point by the service quality" – Urgench city retail services centre (Khorezm region) of Capital Bank.
This year the Western Union Company introduced two additional nominations for the "Highest scale of presence" (winner People's Bank State Commercial Bank – service provided by its more than 200 divisions) and the "Best management of service points network" presented to the partner-bank that manages its network most rationally and productively, and successfully opens new service points thereby expanding the network (the winner – MicroCredit Bank).
The Western Union Company congratulated winners and awarded valuable prizes.
The Western Union Company is the leader in the field of global services of international money remittances. Together with its divisions Orladi Valuta, Vigo and pago Facil, Western Union provides its clients fast, reliable and convenient money transfer services to different parts of the globe. The company operates through its service network including more than 312,000 agent service points located in more than 200 countries and territories.
The company was founded in 1851 when it was recognized as a pioneer in the field of telegraph communication.
UZBEKISTAN EXPRESS: REMITTANCE SERVICES WITHIN UZBEKISTAN
UzPromStroyBank now provides Uzbekistan Express money remittance services on the territory of Uzbekistan, the bank's press service said.
An Uzbekistan Express remittance service is express transfer of cash to any location within Uzbekistan (where the bank is present) not requiring the opening of a deposit account.
The client making the remittance is charged a fee charged for the service according to the rates approved by the Board of the bank. The funds for transfer are accepted only in the form of cash.
The remittance is paid out to the beneficiary within three banking days. If the remittance is not picked up within the said period the sum is automatically transferred to the demand deposit account.
The minimum sum accepted for remittance is 5,000 soums, and the maximum is not limited. The approved commission rates are: for the transfers of 5,000-250,000 soums – 4% of the sum; for 250,001-500,000 soums – 3.5%; for 500,001-1 million soums – 3%; for 1,000,001-5 million – 2.5%; for 5,000,001 and above – 2% of the sum.
For additional services (notification of the remittance beneficiary about the arrival of the transfer) the bank charges additional commission in the amount of 0.5% of the sum of transfer.
The remittances are accepted and given out through the savings banks at UzPromStroyBank Offices. In order to send a remittance the sender needs to present a passport or another ID and fill in the "remittance application" form.
When receiving a remittance the beneficiary is required to present a passport or another ID and fill in the form on receipt of remittance.
SOCIETY CONSOLIDATES EFFORTS
Human exploitation is a problem, which had experienced any state or society. Uzbekistan, where protection of human rights is raised to the level of state policy, takes one of the most active participation in the fight against human traffic and human exploitation. State structures including the Special Subdivisions on human traffic counteraction created under the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2004 and public organizations work in this direction, Uzbekistan Today newspaper reported.
Interior bodies solved more than three hundred crimes related to human traffic in 2007. The percentage of criminal cases solved increases averagely by 100 cases annually, tells Nadir Kurbanov the Chief Special Investigator of the Head Internal Affairs Department (HIAD) of Tashkent. Participants of the seminar which took place in Tashkent and dedicated to increase of legal literacy of women, their employment and issues of crime prevention consider that general efforts are necessary to solve completely the human traffic issues.
In the opinion of participants of the seminar, which hosted representatives of law enforcement agencies, state bodies and public organizations, one of the main reasons of that people become victims of labor or sexual exploitation is insufficient legal literacy and social reasons. Statistics show that people with no permanent job usually become slaves.
One of the measures on fight against human exploitation became job employment of citizens of the Republic via labor exchange. According to the information of the senator Farida Abdurakhimova, the Deputy Hokim of Tashkent today there are 30 thousand vacancies in the capital alone.
Agitation and enlightenment work plays an important role in counteraction to recruiting people for labor or sexual exploitation. Participants noted that mass media has a lot to do with it.
“Human traffic is a social issue. It needs to be solved by the forces of the whole society and using all opportunities of the state,” considers Zukhra Pireeva, the Deputy Chief of the interior bodies of the public prosecutor’s office supervision department.
NEW PHASE IN EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT
The succession in the National Program on Personnel Training is one of the priority principles of developing the educational system in Uzbekistan. A clear example of its practice is to establish networks of kindergarten-school complexes in the country. At present 208 of them are successfully developing.
“The first kindergarten-school complexes were set up in 1996 in Uzbekistan”, states Feruza Vahabova, director of the Department for Infant Educational Establishments of the Ministry of Public Education. “They train children under seven in accordance with the State Standards of Infant Education. Then they go to secondary schools. The complexes mainly provide five-year school education but in recent years three of them have obtained the right to offer nine-year school education. The teaching process meets the state educational standards. The difference of the kindergarten-school complexes from kindergartens and schools functioning separately is in that two establishments are in one building and one staff trains children until they graduate from kindergarten. For parents it resolves the problem of their children’s business after classes”.
Each family aspires to create favorable conditions for infant schoolchildren in order they can develop their skills and talents, cognizing the surrounding world. Some of them begin learning the foreign languages and others fines arts. The kindergarten-school complex helps to develop children more successfully. In addition, despite modern pedagogical technologies, initially study in the first grade cause stress because of sharp change of surrounding world for all children. Here trainees get accustomed to school, as a result, they have natural desire and aspiration to study and by the fifth grade they are psychologically ready for pass to another educational establishment for continuing their education.
The Uzbekistan Today has acquainted with the process, paying a visit to the “Kamol-Avlod” kindergarten-school complex in Tashkent.
There are lots of toys and modern games for children’s development in junior groups. Trainees spend their time pleasantly and usefully under supervision of teaching staff. Senior groups prepare children for schools and inject love for education. During the UT’s visit the children of one group were busy with drawing while another group of children were taught counting. The first grade was in the next room. “After classes children have lunch time and one-hour break and then they go in for various circles”, noted the complex’s psychologist Svetlana Abdullaeva. Besides psychologist, the complex has logopedist and speech pathologist. Its medical staff cares for health of trainees By the way, the kindergarten-school complex offers its trainees free preventive treatment in the Republican Scientific Center for Therapy and Medical Rehabilitation.
On way to headmaster’s room, we dropped in music hall decorated with many-colored balloons and posters. Children were celebrating the “Holiday of Primer” there.
“The kindergarten-school is constantly developing”, said headmaster Mamura Kamilova. “Experience exchange with our foreign colleagues plays greater role in it. At present we are preparing with our trainees for a trip to the Global Study, a complex in Moscow area. In 2002 a delegation of two trainers and ten trainees from our institution visited Great Britain where they familiarized with organization of students’ summer rest. Upon their return the trainees asked us to organize a summer camp and summer school which they have seen in England in our complex and of course, we complied with their request.
Here the result is very important for us. Last year 17 graduates having desire to continue their education at gymnasium under the Tashkent Islamic University were admitted. This educational establishment is famous for its high requirements for overall preparation of its entrants. I met our graduates a few months later and most of them expressed their desire to continue their education at academic lyceum under this higher educational institution after finishing the school and then enter this prestigious and unique secular higher educational establishment, Tashkent Islamic University. The school’s teaching staff is satisfied with graduates of the “Kamol-Avlod”.
IN THE CENTRE OF SPECIAL ATTENTION
The foot of a person suffering from diabetics requires special care. For this purpose “diabetic feet” cabinets are created at medical establishments of many countries. Now they also function in all regional endocrinological clinics of Uzbekistan, and the headquarters is located in the Republican Scientific and Practical Endocrinology Center.
- Any foot injury of a person suffering from diabetics can lead to serious consequences, - comments the manager of the department of the Republican Scientific and Practical Endocrinology Center Telman Kamalov. - “Diabetic feet” offices are a sort of trust point for people suffering from diabetics, where they can receive consultations as well as diagnostics and treatment. Here high quality services on cosmetic care of feet are rendered. These subdivisions are equipped with modern equipment; communication is adjusted between them, which promote exchange of experience and the fastest introduction of achievements in modern medicine into the practice of Uzbekistan.
The launch of special footwear manufacture will be a logical ending of formation of this service. Patients’ footwear should be made individually in order to avoid injuries. It is planned that manufacture of such footwear will be adjusted in the nearest future in cooperation of our Republican Scientific and Practical Endocrinology Center and the specialized center of orthopaedic products and supporting means manufacture.