Dear esteemed compatriots!
The new year of 2017 is coming to our unique land.
I cordially congratulate you, esteemed fathers and mothers, dear sisters and young people and the entire nation on the New Year holiday.
I wish you all good health, happiness and joy.
In the outgoing year 2016, there were many good days, great achievements and successes. And unfortunately, along with these, there were also grief and tests.
However, the people became more united in the face of these tests. Thanks to the steadfastness of our gallant people, we have overcome these tests.
The outgoing year, above all, leaves an indelible mark on our country’s history as the 25th anniversary of our independent Motherland.
Peasants and farmers, workers and builders, teachers and doctors, brave military servicemen, scientists, scholars and artists of the country are proud of achievements that they have made in their spheres in the outgoing year.
Especially, incomparable victories of our land’s sportsmen in the Olympic and Paralympic games again brought international glory to our country.
In a word, we can be content with the outgoing year and say thanks.
We have declared the coming year 2017 The Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests.
The essence of this is the noble goal and task entitled “Human interests are paramount”.
I believe that in this new year, we all, especially officials, will work conscientiously as one to carry out programme tasks in this area.
Effort to strengthen peace and stability, development, mutual respect and kindness in our country will continue to be our main task.
At these joyous moments, I genuinely congratulate you all on the New Year holiday.
I wish every family in our country peace and serenity, happiness and good luck as well as wellbeing.
May the new year 2017 be a good and prosperous year for our Motherland!
Happy New Year!
"The outgoing year has once again demonstrated that our countries share similar or close stances on major international issues.” These words served as an introduction for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Uzbekistan, Vladimir Tyurdenev, to sum up the activities of the embassy in the year 2016.
In 2016, Russia has not only preserved, but also continued to strengthen its positions in Uzbekistan, according to the head of the diplomatic mission, and boosting economic cooperation remains a priority. On this basis, the ambassador focused on the need to make full use of the existing potential of our two nations. "We state with regret that the unfavorable external economic environment has negatively affected the bilateral trade in terms of value. At the same time, and this is very important, while the cost measurable suggests reduction in turnover (by Russian statistical data, it was 7.8% for the 9 months, amounting to $1.98 billion), its physical volumes have grown. Thus, in physical terms (in tons) the total trade turnover in January-September 2016 grew by 0.9% (up to 3,294.7 thousand tons). In the meantime, physical volumes of Russian exports of Uzbekistan declined slightly – by 2.3%, while our imports from Uzbekistan increased by 59% in physical terms and 20% in terms of value.
The fact that we managed to keep the physical volume of bilateral trade shows the great deal of work undertaken by representatives of business circles and officials of ministries and departments of the two countries involved in economic cooperation,” Tyurdenev said.
According to the State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan, for the first 9 months the exports of Uzbek fruit and vegetable products to Russia grew in physical terms threefold – to reach 90 tons. Today, the two countries' experts are working on the possibility of creating a "green corridor" for a significant increase in the deliveries of Uzbek agricultural goods to the Russian Federation.
Listing the visits of the Russian side to facilitate the development of trade, the ambassador expounded on the travel to Uzbekistan by the Deputy Ministers of Industry and Trade V.Evtukhov and A.Morozov, Vice Ministers of Agriculture of the Russian Federation S.Levin and E.Gromyko.
According to the diplomat, special significance is still attached to interregional ties in 2016. Enterprises from 70 regions of the Russian Federation have now been cooperating with economic entities of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Most active contacts are being established by representatives of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tatarstan, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, Ivanovo regions. An important contribution to the development of interregional cooperation is made by the business mission of Russian companies coming to Uzbekistan. This increases both the number and geography of participants: in 2015, a total of 19 business missions took place with the participation of 79 companies from 19 regions, while for 10 months of 2016, we witnessed 16 business missions that attracted 113 companies from 23 regions.
The supplies of Uzbek cotton and textile goods to Russia account for more than 60% of imports from Uzbekistan
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
The countdown of the passing 2016 has started. It is the year of the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan's independence. The year of enormous achievements in all areas of life, tackled problems and upsurge. The year of realized hopes.
Uzbekistan has made confident steps toward the achievement of high goals, which come to raising people's welfare, strengthening of the country’s authority on the international arena, and confident forthcoming to the world’s developed democracies.
A reliable foundation for the future of Uzbekistan is reflected by the beautiful appearance of our towns and villages, construction of hospitals and residential areas, new schools, colleges, modern manufactures. People are encouraged by the tabgible increase in their income, an abundance of goods and products on the shelves of stores and markets.
However, the main achievement of independence, as demonstrated by 2016, is peace and stability, the atmosphere of kindness and humanity, national and civil accord that reign in our country.
Looking back, we once again recollect the highlights of the year. What are its most interesting and significant events? What place will it occupy in the country’s history?
Tracking the chronicle of the republic on newspaper’s pages throughout the year, Uzbekistan Today reporters have summed up the answers to these questions.
The path to prosperity
This year marks 25 years of independence. What does a quarter of a century mean for the history? Probably just a moment. What is it for the people of the country?
During this short period of time, Uzbekistan has changed beyond recognition, turning into a powerful state in Central Asia. The republic has entered the top five fastest growing economies in the world, ranks the 44th among 158 countries in ‘Happiness’, has taken the lead in culture and sports, successfully addressing the task of doubling GDP by 2030.
Despite the trials, challenges and problems around the world, the ongoing financial and economic crisis, the downswing in demand for finished products and raw materials, Uzbekistan has been maintaining a stable and sustainable economic growth.
Among the few countries in the world, the economy in Uzbekistan has grown by almost six times, real income per capita increased by more than nine times over the years of independent development.
In recent years, the growth rate of gross domestic product has been stable at the level of more than 8%, ensuring the growth of exports and foreign exchange reserves, while the public external debt does not exceed 18.5% of GDP.
The progress has unrecognizably changed the face of the country, its cities and villages. Industry has been developing at an advanced pace, the structure has been radically renewed, high-tech modern enterprise are being commissioned, the production is upgraded and diversified, the competitiveness of the economy is growing.
The achievements clearly showcase Uzbekistan as a prosperous state, which is capable to effectively address the issues of security, improve the well-being, social protection, cultural and spiritual development. Starting its own independent path in very tough conditions, the republic has achieved virtually the unfeasible. The achievements clearly demonstrate that Uzbekistan - a prosperous state, where effectively addressed the issues of security of citizens, improving the material well-being, social welfare, cultural and spiritual development. The secret is simple: there is a huge industry of the people, creative and historical potential of our great ancestors, who passed their achievements and energy to descendants in the form of knowledge, experience, traditions and customs, national pride.
Uzbekistan ranks among the few, or perhaps, is the only country in the world to increase the population by more than one and a half times - from 20 to 32 million people, in a short period. The significant growth of the population requires huge amounts of food, new housing and more - and the republic has been providing its citizens with all they need, and confidently moving toward the prosperity. The outgoing 2016 has become an important milestone on this path. It has clearly demonstrated that a person has been in focus of all changes since the early days of independence.
Personal interests above all
A program report by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the grand meeting on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan was a very important event in the political life of the country.
At the meeting, the new head of state announced 2017 as the Year of Dialogue with People and Human Interests. The title is unusual, to some extent, but it immediately encouraged the populace.
As it was stressed in the report, in order to protect human interests, one needs to talk to them, enquire into their concerns, hopes and aspirations, problems and needs.
The head of Uzbekistan dwelled on the most pressing problems in this area. First of all, he pointed out to the need to radically revise the approach to relations between public bodies and citizens, develop new mechanisms for the establishment of a permanent feedback with the population, and address people's problems. In particular, starting with 2017, Uzbekistan will introduce a system of reporting to the public by governors of all levels, heads of prosecutor's offices and interior affairs.
At the same time, as it was underscored by the President, ‘people's reception offices’ should be opened in each district and city, and ensure their full-fledged operation. It is advisable that such offices functioned in the system of political parties, because they should always be aware of people's concerns as a power that protects citizens’ interests. It should be a system, in which no appeal to ‘people's reception office’ will be ignored.
With this in mind, there is need to streamline the ‘single window’ system of the most popular public services to the population based on one agency. There is also the need to establish a system of permanent monitoring of the situation in each region, primarily in terms of execution of decrees and regulations, effectiveness of their implementation, development of proposals to enhance the accountability of related public authorities in this field.
It is advisable that MPs and senators of the Oliy Majlis visit one district a month, study, analyze the activities of executive bodies, prosecutors and internal affairs bodies during 10-12 days, and come up with appropriate conclusions.
In the future, the head of state noted, we have to consider and discuss the issue of electing local governors directly by the people. If each region will elect its own governor, it would dramatically increase his/her accountability before the people and society.
The abovementioned priorities require a further improvement of the public administration system based on the requirements of today and tomorrow, the President stressed.
In view of the declaration of 2017 as the Year of Dialogue with People and Human Interests, by the Presidential Decree signed 28 December 2016 it was decided to establish People's Reception Offices and the Virtual Reception of the President of Uzbekistan. They will be primarily focused on the organization of direct dialogue with the population, ensuring the functioning of a new and effective system of consideration of appeals of individuals and corporate entities, which would aim at the full protection of their rights, freedoms and legitimate interests.
Highlights of the national program
More than 7.4 trillion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 02.01.2017, 1$= 3231.48 soums) has been invested this year in the implementation of the national program the Year of Mother and Child Health. A large-scale complex of measures was carried out to raise the living standards in general.
Much has been done to streamline the legislation. In particular, the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan ‘On state youth policy’ in the new edition was approved. The act has helped to regulate the issues related to the youth in need of special measures of social protection through the creation of additional jobs and specialized enterprises, the organization of special education programs, retraining and advanced tratining, and reservation of minimum number of jobs at enterprises for their employment.
Much attention has been paid to the improvement of living standards of the population, especially in remote rural areas. In particular, the Federation of Trade Unions provided free household appliances for women of low-income families to facilitate their housework. The program covered a total of more than three thousand beneficiaries.
The report spotlighted the issues of improving the healthcare system. The introduction of modern high-tech diagnosis and treatment technologies was carried out along with strengthening the logistical capacity of medical institutions. In particular, the application of vitamin K for the prevention of hemorrhagic disease in preterm infants was introduced in line with international standards.
Other important thrusts of the national program included the promotion of physical culture and sports, involvement of youth, especially rural girls, in regular exercise. Gyms were built in 217 schools. The authorities launched a program which envisages the establishment of at least one modern well-equipped junior sports school in each district. Much attention was paid to the expansion of the network of swimming pools: 11 new pools have been built this year.
The program attached importance to the establishment of girls, the future mothers, as physically healthy and intellectually developed personalities by means of compulsory education in academic lyceums and vocational colleges, their comprehension of contemporary knowledge and vocations. The measures taken have contributed to shaping their persistent attitude and independent thinking as key factors for taking a decent place in life, and establishment of healthy and strong families in the future. Crucially, the work has acquired a permanent status.
The education system has been streamlined on a consistent basis. The priority was given to pre-school educational institutions as a foundation of intellectual development of each child. 1,620 nursery schools were equipped with furniture sets, playgrounds and sports areas, teaching and fiction stuff.
The employment system of vocational college was improved for their graduates. Previously, a tripartite agreement was signed between the employer, the student and the institution, under which a graduating student was provided with practical training with subsequent employment. As of 2016, the contract is signed by a district governor as a guarantee of the terms for the implementation of this very agreement. This step has strengthened the targeted training system.
It is worth to note the further strengthening of cooperation and collaboration in addressing the program-related issues between local authorities and citizens' self-government bodies (mahallas), women's and youth organizations, veterans’ organizations, and active involvement of the respected and authoritative representatives of the senior generation.
The passing 2016 can be called a period of strategic breakthrough of the Uzbek economy. It was conditioned by the fact that the country adopted some important laws to liberalize economic relations and support small business, development programs for certain industries. Major projects have been completed. Their importance can hardly be overestimated.
More than a hundred major industrial projects totaling $3.7 billion have been completed as part of the Investment Program since the beginning of the year. They include the expansion of a cement plant in Jizzakh region, establishment of serial production of T-250 passenger cars, the construction of two combined cycle gas turbines with a capacity of 450 MW each at Talimarjan thermal power plant and a 150 MW high-ash coal incineration plant in the Angren TPP, the manufacture of sterile syringes at Guliston Med Texnika in Syrdarya region, and many others.
Nearly 22,000 projects have been implemented in the reported period under territorial programs of socioeconomic development in regions, including 4,274 industrial projects with the introduction of new production capacities in 3,195 enterprises, development of new activities at 162 enterprises, upgrade of 264 and expansion of 653 enterprises. $2.65 billion of foreign investments and loans was disbursed for the implementation of these projects since the beginning of the current year with 11.2 percent growth YOY, including over $1.8 billion of direct foreign investments. As a result, the share of foreign investments in the total utilized investments has increased from 21.1% to 22.3%.
Exports have been boosting as well. Since the beginning of the year, 835 new businesses have been involved in exports with new 246 kinds of goods. The map of foreign supplies of domestic products has expanded by 52 new markets.
The transport sector occupies a special place in these accomplishments. This year has marked the completion of the construction of a new electrified railway line Angren-Pap and electrification of Pap-Kokand-Andijan section, which has allowed to connect the entire territory of the republic by railway for the first time in the history of the independent state. Moreover, high-speed passenger traffic was launched on the Samarkand-Bukhara line. Civil aviation was distinguished by successful reception and launch of the two of the world’s most advanced aircraft, Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner.
This is just a small mention of the progress of the national economy, which, as estimated by many international analysts and leading financial institutions, will show the significant growth in the coming years.
Raising the image in the international arena
In the passing year, Uzbekistan has continued the systemic efforts on ensuring the steady growth of the country's role in the international arena.
The SCO summit and the session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers were the main events in this context.
Noting the advantages of presidency, experts emphasize the contribution of the Uzbek side to the further strengthening of the authority and capacity of the organization, particularly in terms of practical progress on the expansion of the SCO by India and Pakistan.
The main outcomes of the jubilee meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in Tashkent stay in the focus of attention of the world's leading media, expert and analytical circles. According to most observers, this event has become a new benchmark in the history of the organization, which might play a greater role in ensuring the long-term security and sustainable development in the vast SCO space.
‘The Echo of India’ sees the historic significance of the Tashkent summit in the launch of the procedure of admitting new SCO members for the first time in 15 years. Uzbekistan has palyed an important role in this process, which as part of its presidency has been strictly adhered to the basic principles of the organization – openness and non-blocking, strongly defended the position that excludes the ideological and confrontational approaches to the major issues of the organization.
Uzbekistan's presidency in the SCO became productive and successful.
Experts believe that, approved at the Tashkent Summit, the Action Plan for 2016-2020 on the Implementation of the SCO Development Strategy for 2025, which envisages the catalization of interaction of member countries in the politics, security, economy, development cultural and humanitarian ties will bring the organization to a drastically new level of cooperation.
The transfer of presidency from the current Chairman, the representative of Kuwait, to the representative of Uzbekistan, which will chair the organization in 2017 up to the 44th session of the Ministerial Council in Côte d'Ivoire, was the central event of the 43rd session of the Ministerial Council. Signing of the Tashkent Declaration that outlines the pivotal tasks of the OIC for the coming year was the main result of the session.
Uzbekistan sees the presidency in the OIC Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs as recognition of its worthwhile contribution to the development of Islamic civilization. In this regard, the Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said that during the presidency the country will be able to achieve significant progress on the issues in the current agenda of the organization, and thereby further strengthen the unity of the Muslim Ummah.
Assessing the work of the session, foreign experts pointed out to the relevance of its subject, put forward by Uzbekistan: ‘Education and Enlightenment as the Path to Peace and Creation’. According to the executive director of the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation Amir Berenga, the proposals of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to stimulate social and economic progress through education of the population, introduction of the latest achievements of science and technology in production, will be actively supported by member states of the organization.
Bright, rich, and interesting
Throughout 2016, the figures of culture continued making the life of the audience brighter, interesting, making them to reflect on the most important things through their works of art.
In 2016, a total of 94 new production lines were staged throughout the country. Music festivals included the traditional jazz festival, which was attended by artists from France, the USA, Turkey, Latvia, and Switzerland. This year, the country has celebrated the birth anniversaries of several eminent personalities - the 100th anniversary of composer Suleyman Yudakov, Mutal Burkhonov, the 70th anniversary of Mustafo Bafoev. The 100th anniversary of the national poet, Hero of Uzbekistan Erkin Vakhidov is broadly celebrated these days. Bukhara has hosted the 15thÂ festival ‘Silk and Spices’, which brought together craftsmen from all regions of the country, as well as representatives of 21 states.
Exhibition halls lived active life too, presenting both the latest works of art by contemporary artists, sculptors, and the works of the ‘golden stock’. The exhibition of contemporary art, which was scheduled as a biennale, ranks among the most anticipated events. Domestic and foreign authors showed a new original look on the world's pressing problems. The organizers promised that the traditional Biennale of Contemporary Art will take place in 2017.
Organization of eventful leisure of the population, the provision of high level cultural services was another focus. 43 culture and leisure centers and nine amusement parks were put into operation.
The Savitsky Karakalpakstan State Museum was completely revamped; two new buildings were commissioned, and are currently being equipped. The characters of fairy tales of the Andijan Regional Puppet Theater have moved into the new home, opening the season in the new building. The repair in Tomosha children's studio in currently underway, as well as the reconstruction of the Academic Russian Drama and the Uzbek State Musical Theaters.
Cultural institutions of the republic have held a record number of events – a total of 110,000 in 2016, thereby contributing to the cultural development of the population, and spiritual enrichment of the youth.
Triumph in rio as pledge of future success
This year, the country exhaulted at the unprecedented accomplishments in major competitions, namely, the Olympic Games. Thirteen medals is an unprecedented progress, but the country is not going to stop at that.
2016 has marked the launch of the program on the counstruction of 14 new higher skill schools in each regional center and in Tashkent, which is an unprecedented step for the development of Olympic sports. The schools will be equipped with the latest exercise tools and provide conditions for holding the highest level competitions in line with international requirements. The location of schools will take into account the sports achievements of certain regions. For instance, the weightlifting school is currently being built in the Khorezm region, a boxing school in Andijan, athletics in Samarkand.
Improvement of outfit at children's sports schools and facilities, which were commissioned in 2004-2014, has been carried out concurrently. They are the main providers of talents for Olympic reserve schools. The schools are equipped with state-of-the-art sports facilities and equipment. The relevant authorities also addressed the issues of providing schools with qualified coaching and teaching staff, and teaching aids.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)