Free Economic Zones

A Powerful tool for Regional Development

5-6/2023

 
     According to experts, free economic zones (FEZs) have now become an integral part of the world economy. Currently, more than 120 countries around the world have free economic zones, which play an important role in increasing a country’s export potential, employment and welfare indicators. According to global forecasts, by 2025 FEZs will account for 20-25% of global trade turnover, and their role and importance as a driver of economic, social and technological development will continue to grow.
     In our country, free and special economic zones were first established in Navoi, Tashkent (Angren) and Jizzakh regions in 2009-2013 on the initiative of the Government of Uzbekistan. As of January 2023, the number of free economic zones in our country has reached 19, more than 400 small industrial zones have been launched, and 10 trillion soums have been spent to provide them with infrastructure. Today, thousands of people work and contribute to the welfare of the country and its population in these economic zones, where promising projects in textile, chemical, construction materials and other sectors have been implemented.
     In fact, over the past short period of time, FEZs have proved to be an effective tool for developing the economy of individual regions, establishing new integrated business processes, and creating value chains of co-operative relations. Industrial zones, which provide convenient opportunities for business entities, include engineering, communication and infrastructure facilities, a certain land plot or production area, make a significant contribution to increasing the investment attractiveness of the territories in which they are located, socio-economic development not only of the region, but also of the entire country.
     This is well illustrated by the example of Jizzakh oblast, which in a very short time became one of the leading industrial regions of the country due to FEZ development.
 
     FEZ “Jizzakh” is a territory of successful projects
 
     Jizzakh region, as we said above, is one of the regions where the first economic zone was created. According to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated 18 March 2013, the activity of the special industrial zone “Jizzakh” was established here, for which 414.8 hectares of land plot was allocated from Jizzakh city. By the way, in accordance with the Decree of the Head of our state Shavkat Mirziyoyev “On additional measures to intensify and expand the activities of free economic zones” adopted on 26 October 2016, the free industrial-economic zone was given the name “Navoi”. The special industrial zones “Angren” and “Jizzakh” were decided to be called free economic zones “Navoi”, “Angren” and “Jizzakh” for the purpose of unification.
     Thus, the sphere of influence of FEZ “Jizzakh” is expanding in terms of creating new high-tech industries, attracting entrepreneurs and investors to master the production of competitive, export-oriented modern industrial products, attracting foreign direct investment.
     If in 2015 the number of enterprises participating in FEZ “Jizzakh” was only 8, by 2022 this number has reached 35. As of November 2023, 28 projects worth USD 264 million have been implemented in FEZ “Jizzakh”. As of November 2023, 28 projects worth 264 million USD have been implemented in FEZ “Jizzakh”, of which: the amount of foreign direct investment is 87.9 million USD, the company’s own funds – 96.2 million USD, bank loans – 79.9 million USD. The amount of foreign direct investment is 87.9 million USD. It is important to note that thanks to these projects, hundreds of unemployed citizens annually receive a permanent source of income. Another notable aspect is that a significant part of them are young people.
     In total, more than 7,300 jobs were created within the framework of these projects.
     Moreover, according to the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On measures to support the development of entrepreneurship and expansion of industrial production in Jizzakh region”, the territorial composition of FEZ “Jizzakh” included: from Sharaf Rashidov district – 154.4 hectares of land, from Pakhtakor district – 13.8 hectares, from Arnasay district – 7.9 hectares and 6 hectares from Zaamin district, totaling 182.1 hectares of land.
     Their productivity has increased accordingly: if in 2022 FEZ enterprises produced products worth UZS 3,604.7 billion and exported products worth 41 million USD, in 2023 they will produce industrial products worth 9.445 trillion UZS and export products worth 43.5 million USD. In 2023, industrial products worth 9.445 trillion UZS will be produced and exported for 43.5 million UZS.
 
 
Shavkat TOKHIROV, Correspondent of “EVU” magazine
 
 
You can read the whole article in the printed version of the magazine.

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