Reforms aimed at fostering economic growth and improving well-being of nation, are of great interest not only to our citizens, but also to international community. These and other topical issues were discussed at the meeting of Editor-in-chief of the “O‘zbekiston iqtisodiy axborotnomasi” – “Economic Bulletin of Uzbekistan” journal and Kalandar Abdurakhmanov, academician, Doctor of Economics, professor of the chair “Labour Economics and Sociology” at the Tashkent State Economic University, rector of the Tashkent branch of the Russian Economic University named after G.V. Plekhanov.
– The current year has been announced as the Year of support of active entrepreneurship, innovative ideas and technologies. Today we are witnessing significant changes initiated by the President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. What steps of the government are of great interest to international community and to Uzbek science community?
– First of all, it is necessary to notice that all present socio-economic and political processes in Uzbekistan are broad-based. Reforms implemented in recent years are the result of a long-term leadership experience of our President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. They contribute greatly to development of economy and public life and have become object of detailed scientific and scientific-practical research. The reforms are actively discussed both in our country and abroad. Ongoing processes, by all means, boost positive changes in Uzbekistan.
Today our country draws worldwide attention. A number of international institutions have resumed cooperation. Liberalization of economy and currency system, creation of perfect conditions for business have enabled international business community to recognize Uzbekistan as promising partner. I am confident that steps to improve public administration system, strengthen the rule of law and enhance social security of citizens will bring even more positive results in the near future.
Although considerable progress has been made, but much more remains to be done. In his historical Address to members of the Senate and deputies of the lower chamber of the Oliy Majlis on December 22, 2017 the President of our country has paid attention to existing topical issues and proposed concrete measures to solve the problems. Special attention has been given to main meaningful principle: “People should not serve the authorities but the authorities should serve people!” The national Constitution stipulates that the people are the sole source of state power. The state expresses the will of the people and serves their interests. During the past few years these constitutional principles have not been realized to the full when adopting the laws and building institutions of civil society, and also important prerequisites for dialogue and consultations with the people have been not created. Since becoming the President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev has declared unprecedented stepping up political life of the country. It is the most important that first results have been achieved in developing the state institutions and increasing social initiative. Long-neglected problems are being effectively addressed; people look positively towards the future.
Secondly, over many years Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev has headed the Executive power. His experience is not declaratory but practical. This is precisely why practical, affirmative and self-critical approach is applied to reforming in all spheres today. The focus is not on large-scale projects impressing with their scope and huge investments, but on projects which benefit our people and country today and tomorrow.
The economy has its own laws. Unfortunately, mismanagement has led to lop-sided economic development. Alas, aim at getting unreal indexes and desire to dress up utopian plans in the garb of reality were dominating.
Thirdly, and perhaps, the most important, is that any ongoing reform directly depends on the person who has initiated and headed this process, depends on his knowledge and experience gained, his profound way of thinking and focus on implementing changes. Today the people of Uzbekistan are grateful to the Creator for such a generous, strong-willed President as Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
The head of the country puts interests of the people at the top of priorities: legislative and executive power should serve the people. Shavkat Mirziyoyev has correctly noted that you cannot supervise the progress made in ongoing reforms just sitting in your office. Let us recall cases with greatly exaggerated economic indexes. Why did that happen? It was caused by activity of officials who have watched ongoing reforms without leaving their offices, and found out about the reforming process only from paper reports. Since his first days in office, the President has urged to cease any such practice and highlighted that performance of authorities at all levels should be assessed exclusively basing on successfully solved problems of concrete people and business and that we should stop rushing toward figures.
– In your opinion, how long does it take for Uzbekistan to become among the top 50 most developed countries?
Today Uzbekistan has reached a new level of economic reforming. Enhancement of economic growth achieved is an overarching goal now. Considerable foreign investments are required for this purpose. Therefore, development of favourable conditions for functioning of foreign capital in the country is one of the priorities at this stage.
The economy of Uzbekistan should be transparent and liberal, i.e. its development should be provided with international economic relations. Globalization is a feature of developed market economy; economic development is not possible without regular interstate cooperation. This means not only trade. The interstate cooperation should be multifaceted, i.e. provide free floating of capital. Capital penetration promotes introduction of advanced technologies, materials and management technique.
Present development of world economy may be considered as the result of globalization, as it has been reached by distribution of achievements of different countries via allocation of foreign investments. Thus, our country should become the active participant of globalization processes in order to provide development of national economy by means of innovative factors and take its rightful place among developed countries within next 20-25 years.
– You have noticed that our country has immense potential in terms of social and economic development, and we are rich in natural and labour resources. What do you think, is it necessary to make more intensive use of these benefits for improving well-being of our people?
– The head of our state has underlined the need for innovative evolution both of economy and society. Since gaining independence, indicators of standard of life and country development have been improved. At the same time, unfortunately, there are old and obsolete economic methods of management remained everywhere. This means, that extensive approach to consumption of raw materials and power resources was applied in production in many spheres of economy. The produced product was less relevant, than the profit made. The reason was that its production cost was too high, the quality of product did not correspond with its price, and scientific achievements and innovations were not introduced in production.
Yes, we are rich in minerals, gas and have high human capacity. However, it does not mean that they can be exploited for an infinitely long time. On the contrary, we should appreciate what we have and learn to rationally use available resources, think strategically and introduce innovative ideas and technologies. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in a situation when sitting on a bag of money, we will not know what to do with it.
It is of great importance that the year of 2018 has been announced by the President as the Year of support of active business, innovative ideas and technologies. This year, by using material capacity and spiritual potential of Uzbekistan, we have embarked on a course of innovative development, we try to create new technologies and apply results of scientific research in practice. All our future plans are connected with new ideas. There is a good reason why the head of our state considers that 2018 will be a turning point in development of our country.
Certainly, technological backwardness in production, lack of energy saving technologies and practice of using alternative renewable energy sources – all these are problems accumulated over many years. It is obvious that they will not be solved immediately, during this year. But the most important is that we have evaluated and analyzed current state of the economy and have clearly defined goals. All of us understand that innovative development is the best way forward. Starting from the beginning of 2018 practical steps have been already taken in this regard. Our challenge now is to keep determination and continue hard working.
– Kalandar Khodjaevich, please share with our readers your thoughts on influence of practical implementation of initiatives, specified by the President in his Address to the Parliament, on the business environment?
– First of all, it is necessary to note the validity of initiatives of the head of the state. They have occurred as a result of acute need. Certainly, every initiative deserves special consideration. For example, the President has suggested to suspend audit of financial and economic activity of all enterprises within two years in connection with the announcement of the Year of support of active business, innovative ideas and technologies. According to the legislation, businessmen should have maximum freedom. At the same time, the economic activities require continuous monitoring, analyzing and assessing. In this context today it is extremely important to consider contradictions appeared, maintain the balance between the interests of the state, law and business entities.
In the beginning of this year the head of the state, following the review of execution of the Programme of local content in manufacturing and plan of reduction of import, has criticized mistakes made. Now the programme will include only projects that are of real importance for economy; their implementation will be strictly controlled.
The issue of changes in the Center for Coordination and Development of Securities Market remains open, but it has been highlighted as an urgent priority. Activities are ongoing on transferring idle objects of the state property to private sector on the basis of partnership, creation of uniform procedure of land plot allocation, including by means of Internet, electronic auctions and biddings. New free economic zones with special tax and customs regimes are being established. All these reforms will lead to skyrocketing economic growth.
Certain steps have been already taken towards promoting business development including reduction and optimization of tax burden. Freed-up funds will be used for modernisation of enterprises and ensuring their financial stability in future. The law adopted on April 18, 2018 stipulates a number of amendments and additions of the Tax Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan; they will provide reduction of tax burden for certain business entities. Besides, the Tax Code has been added by the statement declaring that diversified farms that are payers of single land tax, shall be released from payment of single tax on other types of income, which is not connected with agricultural production, for a period of five years. Tax policy, system of privileges and preferences are designed to provide most favourable conditions for realisation of planned programmes and investment projects.
The budgetary system is being changed as well. It is important to maintain transparency of budgetary revenues and expenditures. Under socially oriented market economy these mechanisms play a main role in strengthening mutual trust between the state and people, mindset formation, love for the native land, participation in creation of material and spiritual riches of the country.
– Kalandar Hodjaevich, one of our new Journal concept objectives is facilitating interaction between science, business and the government in innovative process, and also promoting competitiveness of different economic sectors. What do you think, what is the role and mission of the science in implementing programme of technological development and modernization of the domestic market?
– Your journal raises one of the most critical questions. It would be rightly said that today the use of existing capacities on the base of modern global scientific achievements is the foundation for the future technological development in Uzbekistan.
But we, scientists, still have much work to do. While the society is only focusing on innovative development, scientists and researchers should stay ten steps ahead. In this case the Academy of Sciences should become the engine that will accelerate development of our society.
In the end of 2017 the President signed two decrees: “On approval of full members of Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan” and “On measures on further encouraging activities of full members and member-correspondents of the former Uzbek Academy of Agricultural Sciences”. Actually Academy membership review took place in 1995 that is 23 years ago. In recent years the number of academicians has fallen by more than half, and only 63 academicians were full members. Worst of all that the prestige of science community has been going down throughout many years. The lack of proper election procedure of the Academy members had negative influence on the development of the science. Achievements of many talented scientists and researchers were not appreciated enough.
According to the adopted decree, 32 new members of the Academy have been approved. I am very proud of being among them. At the same time, such highest rank imposes big responsibility on our shoulders. And we should do the utmost, apply our knowledges in full, use available potential to justify this honorary title.
– Kalandar Hodjaevich, please accept our sincere congratulations on awarding the honorary title of academician. Your scientific researches considerably contribute to the development of national economic science. All new members of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan have presented Roadmap for 2018. Could you please tell us about your priorities?
– The substance of my Roadmap is to research labour relations. This choice is dictated by modern requirements and principles of economic reforms in our country. Do you know that our present life provides a rich research material in all directions of the science, including studying of labour-management? Changes in standards of living and development of society lead to changes in attitude to labour and its role in production. Labour is the most important indicator of change in way of thinking, world outlook, state of mind and mode of life. Today labour is the most important source of income, improving well-being and, accordingly, of improving living conditions, welfare, family happiness, good education for future generation and accomplishment of desires. Modern labour market proposes various options of work and conditions for job-seekers.
Presently our society is coming back to a constructive labour. By new opportunities in business and socio-economic activity many people, especially the younger generation, take their rightful place in life where there is no immorality, indifference, lawlessness, criminal.
Thus, in our country social relations, including labour ones, change radically. There is a large number of creative, innovative, intellectual, technological, scientific, information, virtual and remote types of work. All of them are waiting for job-seeker. I hope that we will succeed to achieve our goals and be worthy of the trust of the President.
– It is well known that prestigious foreign universities have their branches in Uzbekistan. One of them is the Tashkent branch of the Russian Economic University named after G. V. Plekhanov. In your opinion, as the rector of this educational institution, what results have been achieved?
– Indeed, seven foreign universities have established their branches in Uzbekistan. One of them is a branch of the Russian Economic University named after G. V. Plekhanov, it has been already working for 23 years in the country. The branch aims at educating students in new, most demanded and prestigious specializations; sharing experience with foreign educational institutions is being actively developed. Modern technologies and innovations are widely used in our educational process. We focused on quality education that provides current deep knowledge and develops practical skills.
The branch has had over 3000 students with Bachelor’s Degree and almost 1000 students have completed our Master’s Degree programmes. All of them are highly qualified specialists in various industries of economy. University staff is our talent pool. More than 80 % of our teachers are doctors and candidates of science.
The university has developed all conditions for effective educational process. There are modern Internet class-rooms, computer, language laboratories, multimedia lecture-rooms, information resource centre with 25 thousand of copies of books and electronic library. This is not a complete list of all facilities and services we offer to our students and teachers. Previous traditional training provided students only with knowledge that their teachers had. Modern technologies help find information, but students analyze it and make conclusions on their own. Our branch has ensured conditions for the process of creative self-fulfillment for all students.
We aspire to establish partner relations with leading research institutes and educational centres of the Russian Federation, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and other countries. By involving highly skilled foreign specialists, professors and scientists, we strengthen interest of students in the science. We run a number of international conferences and trainings. Thus, our university have created favorable environment for providing our young people with education that meets international standards.
– Kalandar Hodjaevich, on behalf the “O‘zbekiston iqtisodiy axborotnomasi” – “Economic Bulletin of Uzbekistan” journal I thank you for interesting conversation and wish you every success and more power in your future endeavours for the benefit of our country and national science.