On December 14, 2011 a meeting of the Executive Committee of the British-Uzbek Society (BUS) was held at the Embassy of Uzbekistan in London.
In his speech, the Ambassador Otabek Akbarov briefed participants on the main provisions of the report of the President of Uzbekistan HE Islam Karimov at the festive meeting dedicated to 19th Anniversary of the Constitution of our country. The historical role and significance of the Main Law in the development and achievements of our country were underlined. The commitment to continue the chosen path of building a democratic state with market economy was also stressed. The Concept for the further deepening of democratic reforms and the development of civil society is a strategic basis for the above.
The members of BUS Executive Committee were also informed about main results of implementation of the state program “2011 – Year of small business and entrepreneurship”, including the growth of export of small businesses to $2 billion in 2011, the creation of 610 thousand new jobs and increase in the share of small business in GDP up to 54%. There were also highlighted the priorities of the state program “2012 - Year of the Family”.
Regarding the International Symposium “The national model of maternal and child health in Uzbekistan: Healthy mother – healthy child” recently held in Tashkent, the attention of members of the Executive Committee were attracted to the main content of speeches of the President of Uzbekistan and Director General of the World Health Organization Margaret Chan. It was stressed that the resolution, adopted by participants of the forum, recognizes spectacular achievements of our country in the field of maternal and child health, which contribute to the UN Millennium Development Goals. It was noted that “Save the Children” previously published report titled “Health Workers Reach Index”, in which Uzbekistan was placed on the 9th position in the world.
The members of BUS perceived this information with a great interest and made their comments. In particular, the Chairman of the British-Uzbek Society Dr. Hartley Booth OBE positively assessed step-by-step nature and consistency of economic and social reforms in Uzbekistan. He congratulated with achievement of sustainable GDP growth, which in recent years has been on average of 8.5%, and the results of the “2011 – Year of small business and entrepreneurship”. At the same time, Dr. Booth shared the view about importance of state support for small and medium-sized businesses, in particular noting the usefulness of measures to provide incentives and preferences, reduction of the rates of single tax and frequency of tax inspections. He pointed the conformity of these measures that led to a significant increase in the share of SME in GDP and exports of our country. “I will definitely use this information in discussions with potential British investors. I believe that these achievements should also be of interest to the wider international community, including the serious-minded circles, wishing to cooperate with Uzbekistan”.
Senior fellow of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum Dr. Shirin Akiner noted that “as a person, often visiting Uzbekistan, I can state with confidence that the country has done a terrific job in the field of social and economic development. Your achievements are recognized by international organizations, as confirmed by the recent report of «Save the Children» and the resolution of the Tashkent International Symposium on the Protection of Mother and Child Health. However, there is a need to intensify efforts to attract more attention in the world to these changes and developments, and the British-Uzbek Society could play their role in this”.
In this connection, member of the BUS Executive Committee Ms. Geliya Chukmarova noted that Uzbekistan does have a lot to be proud of, both in terms of cultural-historical perspective and maintaining adequate living standards, achievements in the field of economy and trade, health and social services during the years of Independence. Therefore, it is important to effectively apprise about these issues through development of multilateral dialogue and enhancing cooperation, both at official and public levels.
Head of BUS Youth Division Mr. Alrauf Kasymhodjaev stressed the importance of the principles of the Constitution of Uzbekistan in supporting the young generation of our country. Another confirmation of the progressive policy of Uzbekistan in this direction is the announcement of the “2012 – Year of the Family”, which will undoubtedly lead to the adoption of additional large-scale measures to promote youth. A.Kasymhodzhaev emphasized that the Uzbek students abroad, especially in Britain, are not only proud of their country, but also actively developing links with youth from other countries, promoting better awareness about Uzbekistan. He called for further strengthening of the BUS youth wing by attracting new members and expand the range of ongoing cultural and social activities.
In an interview to the Embassy Lord Fred Ponsonby, President of BUS, noted the growing role of civil society and the parliament in controlling over the activity of the executive authorities in Uzbekistan. “This demonstrates the effectiveness of the reforms in the political life of the country, which is reflected in more active work of local governments, NGOs and the media, for whom tremendous opportunities and conditions are being created”.
Lord emphasized the changes taking place in expanding functions and powers of the parliament of Uzbekistan. According to him, “today parliament needs to be flexible as the political circumstances change. While we may have a 700 year-old parliament, we still change our procedures very regularly as the political circumstances change”.
Press-service of the Embassy London, 1 January 2012