The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan convened for an extended session on January 17 to review the socio-economic development in the country in 2013 and work out crucial priorities of the economic program for the year 2014.President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov addressed the meeting with a keynote speech.The head of our state noted in particular that despite the slowdown in the rates of world economic growth and the mounting risks in its development, Uzbekistan has been able to sustain higher economic growth rates and secure a macroeconomic balance and modernization of our economy in the past year as a result of the steadfast implementation of what was approved in the country as a strategy of reforms and development aimed at shaping a modern, competitive and diversified market economy.
President Islam Karimov stressed that the achievements and prospects of Uzbekistan in the realization of its own Uzbek model of development widely acknowledged across the world, and the successful prowess in economic crisis management amid the profound and protracted downturn in the global economy are given a high appraisal by prominent economists and international financial institutions. Notably, the head of International Monetary Fund mission who visited our country in September-October 2013 underscores in a statement that notwithstanding the deterioration in the global economy, Uzbekistan’s robust budget and external posture in the outgoing year, its sustainable banking system and the low level of public debt continue to allow the nation to ensure consistent macroeconomic indicators, while short-term economic development forecasts are favorable.
In the past year 2013, the GDP growth amounted to 8 percent, and manufacturing volumes increased by 8.8 percent, while agricultural goods production enlarged by 6.8 percent. The capacities of construction works enhanced by 16.6 percent, volumes of services by 13.5 percent and the retail goods turnover multiplied by 14.8 percent. The State Budget has been executed with a surplus of 0.3 percent to the GDP. The inflation rate has not exceeded the forecast parameters and made 6.8 percent.
The implementation of proactive investment policy on accelerated development and technological modernization of the manufacturing industry, of social, road-transport and communications infrastructure has facilitated the growth in the volumes of investments into the capital asset by 11.3 percent. The volume of foreign investments exceeded 3 billion US dollars, 72 percent of which were direct foreign investments. As part of the Investment Program, 150 projects in the manufacturing industry totaling some 2.7 billion US dollars have been completed.
The encouragement of domestic exporter manufacturers and their competitive advantages, in spite of the instability in the current state of the global market, has helped secure growth in exports by 10.9 percent and a considerable surplus in foreign trade. The banking system of the country has been displaying steadfast performance, whose self-sufficiency in capital is sustained on a level that exceeds the minimum international standards threefold, while its liquidity is 2.2 times as high as maximum requirements. For the review period, the aggregate capital of commercial banks increased by 25 percent. Around 80 percent of the entire loan portfolio of banks is shaped with the help of internal sources.
The measures being taken in the comprehensive support for, modernization and intensification of agricultural goods production have been facilitating qualitative transformation in the agrarian sector. The adverse weather conditions and shortage of water notwithstanding, a high yield was nurtured and harvested in the past year across all principal agricultural crops, including 3.36 million tons of cotton, 7.8 million tons of grains and 8.4 million tons of vegetables.
The continuation with the realization of systemic measures directed at improving the business environment facilitated the further encouragement of small business. More than 26 thousand new entities of small entrepreneurship have been established, while the sector’s share in the gross domestic product has been rising steadily.
The approved action in the execution of annual program for the promotion of population employment helped provide some 970 thousand people with jobs in 2013, including 60.3 percent in rural areas.
Owing to the sustainable and dynamic development of the country’s economy, the standards and quality of life of the population have been moving upward.
Wages in the public sector, retiree pensions, student scholarships and social allowances increased by 20.8 percent in 2013, while real incomes enlarged by 16 percent.
In his review report, President Islam Karimov came up with a detailed analysis of the existing unaddressed issues and expounded on policy tasks designed to meet the most critical priorities and aspects of the socio-economic development in the country for the year 2014.
At the session, heads of ministries and other government agencies, management associations and local government bodies have been tasked with taking necessary action directed at securing sustainably high economic growth rates in 2014, bolstering and perfecting the investment processes, commissioning critical high-technology and modern facilities and production capacities in the manufacturing industry, ensuring a wider access to world markets and shaping a full-fledged competitive environment in the country instrumental in the technical and technological renewal and modernization of production techniques.
Targeted measures have been identified to perfect the business environment, shore up comprehensive support and stimuli for small business, boost the social sphere, create new jobs, augment housing construction and living conditions, reinforce reforms and improve the educational process and healthcare system.
A special emphasis has been placed on the practical realization of policy actions deriving from the announcement of the current year 2014 as the Year of the Health of the Child, including measures to ensure the protection of maternity and childhood, to uplift the quality of primary education, extensively engage the youth in sports and physical culture, and enhance the role of social organizations in upbringing children.
Heads of ministries and other government agencies, organizations and hokims (governors) of provinces spoke to address certain issues on the agenda. The discussion at the government meeting resulted in a directive that outlines practical measures designed to secure the realization of crucial priorities in the socio-economic development program of the nation for the year 2014.