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Information Digest 13 (January 20, 2015)

FINANCE
A Loan in Demand
 
ELECTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
All political parties to participate in presidential elections
Procedure for accreditation of domestic and foreign journalists covering the election campaign for President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
 
TO THE FIRST SESSION OF SENATE OF OLIY MAJLIS OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
In Central Election Commission
 
TOURISM
Nukus Enters the Telegraph’s List of “Ten Extraordinary Destinations”
 
 
FINANCE
A Loan in Demand
Commercial banks of Uzbekistan have summed up their performance on the support of projects under the national program The Year of the Healthy Child. Last year, they invested more than 3.7 trillion soums of loan funds in the program(currency rates of CB RU from 20.01.2015   1$= 2430.17 soums).
Social projects are always challenged by the issues of their financing. Therefore, the development of national programs and measures for the development of regions or sectors in Uzbekistan is secured by the creation of transparent and effective mechanisms of financial support of each particular initiative. The country’s banking system has been contributing in this process.
Last year, the commercial banks of Uzbekistan were actively involved in the efforts to improve social and living conditions of citizens, facilitation of domestic labor of women and promotion of their entrepreneurial skills. They made a big job in developing family businesses, financial support for young families in improving their living conditions, creation of infrastructure in rural areas, involvement of young people, especially graduates of vocational colleges, in business, ensuring of employment and consistent growth of real incomes through the promotion of small business and entrepreneurship.
Last year, the implementation of projects under the national program envisaged investing of over 4.5 trillion soums and $302.9 million. Of these, 1.8 trillion - by the commercial banks of Uzbekistan, however they allocated more than 3.7 trillion soums.
Besides, banks invested more than 200 billion soums in supporting business plans of graduates of vocational colleges, as well as 2.3 trillion soums in the construction of modern housing in rural areas. They implemented a range of measures on the integrated development and financial support for women’s entrepreneurship. For these purposes they allocated 960.2 billion soums of loans, which is 1.6 times more than the national program had envisaged. The projects of small businesses with a predominance of female labor were a priority.
A project entitled ‘The Support Program for Young Entrepreneurs’ provided training courses on business and proper allocation of financial resources. The project also assisted young families in obtaining loans and grants for the development of the family business.  Branches of banks and colleges established information and advisory centers to involve young people in small business.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
 
ELECTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
All political parties to participate in presidential elections
All political parties of Uzbekistan received permissions to participate in presidential elections, the Central Election Commission of Uzbekistan said.
The CEC said that it held a session on 19 January 2015, which considered participation of political parties in presidential elections and nomination of candidates to the post of the President.
In line with the article 24¹ of the law “On elections of the President of Uzbekistan”, political parties have right to nominate candidates to the President of Uzbekistan. At the same time, the parties can nominate presidential candidates if they registered by the Ministry of Justice of Uzbekistan six months before announcement of presidential elections campaign.
The CEC noted that the movement of entrepreneurs and business people – The Liberal-Democratic party of Uzbekistan (UzLiDeP), Democratic Party of Uzbekistan “Milliy Tiklanish”, People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan and Social Democratic Party of Uzbekistan “Adolat” submitted documents to the Central Election Commission to participate in the presidential elections.
At the session, the CEC adopted decision on allowing all four political parties to participate in presidential elections. The parties received registration certificates and blanks for signatures.
(Source: UzDaily.com)
Procedure for accreditation of domestic and foreign journalists covering the election campaign for President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
The Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan is carrying out accreditation of domestic and foreign journalists covering the election campaign for President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. 
For the accreditation of journalists until March 22 the following documents must be submitted to the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan: 
• a statement on an official letterhead of a media organization for accreditation of journalists to the Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan; 
• two photos of journalist being accredited, size 3,5 x 4,5 cm; 
• copy of the certificate of state registration of media organizations, for electronic media - a copy of the broadcasting license, for foreign journalists - a copy of the accreditation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan. 
Statements that do not contain specified information with or without attached thereto photos of journalist, will not be accepted. 
Telephone: 241 -14 -90 
(Source: IA «Jahon»)
 
TO THE FIRST SESSION OF SENATE OF OLIY MAJLIS OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
In Central Election Commission
A regular meeting of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan was conducted. Meeting was chaired by the committee chairman M. Abdusalomov. 
At the meeting the question of convening the first meeting of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan was considered. 
In accordance with Article 81 of the Constitution, by the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan" and Article 5 of the Law "On the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan" the first meeting of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan shall be convened by the Central Election Commission. 
The Central Election Commission has decided to convene the first meeting of the upper house of parliament on January 22, 2015 in Tashkent. 
On opening of the first session of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis 
The first meeting of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan was considered opens in Tashkent on January 22, 2015 at 10.00 in the building of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan was considered. 
To the attention of the members of the Senate of Uzbekistan 
Registration of members of the Senate, who arrived at the session of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan was considered, will be January 21, 2015 from 9:00 to 18:00 in the building of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan was considered.
(Source: IA «Jahon»)
 
TOURISM
Nukus Enters the Telegraph’s List of “Ten Extraordinary Destinations”
The city of Nukus and its famed Savitsky Art Museum have entered a list of “ten extraordinary destinations you have probably never heard of”, published on the website of the leading British newspaper The Telegraph.  
The website describes the Savitsky Art Museum in Nukus, a city in the northwest of Uzbekistan, as an “absolute gem” that houses “the world’s foremost collection of 20th-century Russian avant-garde painting”. 
Only after Uzbekistan became an independent country did it become possible to objectively evaluate the efforts and activities of Igor Savitsky and present his collection to the international community. Known as the main chronicler of the Uzbek school of Russian avant-garde art, he saved and conserved thousands of remarkable artworks created by an international group of artists, who came to Uzbekistan in the 1920s and the 1930s. The stunning collection includes pieces created in multifarious styles, from Fauvism and Expressionism to Futurism and Constructivism.  It became the foundation on which on which the museum was created and, after Uzbekistan gained its independence, the museum was given the name of its founder. In line with a decree of President Islam Karimov, Savitsky was posthumously awarded the medal ‘Buyuk Hizmatlari Uchun’ (For Outstanding Services).
Presently, the Savitsky Art Museum is home to over 90,000 artworks. Its department of fine art consists of three sections: ‘Painting of Uzbekistan’, ‘Twentieth-Century Russian Avant-Garde Art’ and ‘The Fine Art of Karakalpakstan’. On display are thousands of paintings, graphic works and sculptures that were saved through the efforts of the founder. The bulk of the exhibits were created in the early 20th century by Uzbek and Russian artists. In Soviet times, these artworks were banned and the artists persecuted, which explains why the gallery is also known as the Museum of Forbidden Art. Meanwhile, it is these creations that are rightfully considered masterpieces of 20th-century Central Asian and Russian art.
These days, the museum is also a major spiritual and cultural hub. At the initiative of President Islam Karimov, a brand new building was created for the museum in 2003.
The government pays close attention to issues related to the further development of the museum. More specifically, in September 2011 the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan decreed the construction of a second part of the museum complex. The decree, adopted in a bid to attract tourists and boost the potential of tourist services, laid out major measures to promote the art museum internationally. 
…The list published by the Telegraph has called up memories of a trip to this wonderful place, which has drawn an increasing number of tourists year after year. This is not the first time that international media outlets such as The Guardian and The New York Times have touted the area as a must-visit tourist destination, which is a treasure trove of culture and tradition. 
LIFE GOES ON… 
Unfortunately, neither I, nor my peers have been destined to see the original Aral Sea. However, I have had the opportunity to meet people, who live in areas close to the shores of what used to be one of the largest seas on the planet.  During journeys to Karakalpakstan as part of my job, I have had to speak with kind-hearted, hospitable people, who live a simple life: they build homes, develop agriculture and industries, create families and bring up children. 
The ministries and agencies have busied themselves working to attain goals set by the President and the Government with regard to the development of the agrarian sector and industry as well as the social, cultural and other spheres. The cities and villages are the site of bustling construction work aimed at creating homes with modern conveniences. Scientists at the Karakalpaki section of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan conduct research aimed at conserving biodiversity and developing technologies for careful use of the resources available. 
A few years ago, no one could even imagine that it would be possible to grow gardens here. These days, Karakalpakstan is developing technologies for growing intensive gardens. The saline land, shortage of irrigation water and the drying up of the Aral Sea have in recent years been the major cause of the decline in land fertility and even the demise of several gardens in the Aral Sea region. However, modern agrarian technologies may help solve this problem too. 
One example that confirms big prospects in this area is an intensive garden created in Karakalpakstan’s Kegeili District, a project run in collaboration with the German Organization for Technical Cooperation, or GTZ. In place of a dead garden that was cultivated through traditional technologies, a new one was planted, based on intensive technologies. To these ends, dwarf apple, pear and plum saplings were brought from Siberia. In planting the trees, a drip-irrigation structure was installed, which helps not only to save irrigation water, but also to nourish the plants with fertilizers. In two years, the garden produced its first crops. 
The Uzbek Government has reached agreements with several international finance organizations that plan to continue projects to further develop land farming in the region.
Thus, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Economy of Uzbekistan and the World Bank plan to implement a 160-million-dollar project seeking to boost fruit and vegetable yields in the Aral Sea Region. Another project is being overseen by the Agency for the Restructurization of Agricultural Enterprises in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank. The two organizations plant to channel $87.5 million dollars into the introduction of cutting-edge fruit and vegetable production technologies in the Aral Sea Region. 
The days when the Muynak Fish Cannery went bankrupt have sunk into oblivion as local entrepreneurs have set up new business producing canned fish products and meat delicacies while many have fully switched to cattle and poultry farming. Children, who had spent their summer vacations in Deti Arala (Children of the Aral Sea) summer health camp on the shores of Lake Okhchakol, go to school, attend clubs and do sports. 
The other day I contacted with an old acquaintance, Muhamadamin Sherniyazov, who assumed the helm of Integral Kegeili, a farming household, a year ago. The year 2014 was a prolific year, he said, as the crop yields from cotton, grains and melons were abundant. He had rented a tractor. 
Inspired by experience from the construction of Kungrad Soda Plant, engineering are preparing projects to develop deposits of other minerals, which abound in the area. 
I have had the opportunity to converse with a large number of residents, and none has so far expressed a hint of pessimism that could be attributed to the ecological situation. Everyone is busy and looks at the future with optimism while viewing the “defunct” sea as a phenomenon that exists in parallel with their lives. 
It is this reserved and balanced attitude to the state of affairs that contributes to the growth of regional economy. Implementing state programs for the development of entrepreneurship, agriculture and services has made it possible to set up production of the most sought-after goods. Moreover, the locals have been successfully running projects that have big implications for the industrialization of entire Uzbekistan and Central Asia. This can be exemplified by the construction of Kungrad Soda Plant and Usturt Gas-Chemical Complex. To boot, all conveniences are being created for the training of young personnel here. The construction of the complex was carried out as part of a major program for the revamp of the oil and gas industry. The project is the first of its kind in the petrochemical sphere that is run on the basis of a long-term financing scheme not only in Uzbekistan, but in the entire CIS. Once implemented, it would enable annual production of 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas, 387,000 tons of high-density polyethylene, 83,000 tons of polypropylene, and about 100,000 tons of pyrolysis gasoline along with the creation of over 1,000 new jobs. 
Funding for the project also comes from the Asian Development Bank, Korea Development Bank, Korea Finance Corporation (South Korea), China Development Bank, ING (The Netherlands), KfW, Bayern LB, Siemens Bank (Germany), Credit Suisse (Switzerland), Nordea, SEC (Sweden), as well as South Korean, German and Swedish export and credit agencies. 
In 2012, Project Finance International, a leading source of global project finance intelligence, named a financial agreement under this project “the best project in the petrochemical and gas-chemical sector”. The project has also won international awards ‘Best Deal of 2012’ of Trade Finance Magazine and Global Trade Review. In March last year, another international paper, Infrastructure Journal, honored the project with the 2014 Global Award. 
In the future, Karakalpakstan’ stands to benefit from a 2015-2018 Program for mitigation of the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster and restoration and socio-economic development of the Aral Sea region, being developed at this point, as well as 31 projects, which is an outcome of an international conference, “Development of Cooperation in the Aral Sea Basin for the Mitigation of Consequences of the Ecological Disaster”, held in Urgench on October 28-29 last year. According to agreements reached, a whopping $3 billion dollars, provided by international governmental finance institutions and donor countries, will be used to these ends. Also, concessional long-term credits to the tune of $1.9 billion have been made available along with grants worth $200 million. Among the partners under the projects are 14 organizations. Efforts to create protective belts on the bottom of the Aral Sea are being continued. In addition, the base for the phased implementation of these mechanisms gas been strengthened while water arteries have been purified. In the pipeline are projects seeking to help develop high-yield vegetable growing and gardening. Special attention will go to healthcare services for the local population, namely the development of urological services as well as pre-school and school education institutions. Problems linked with water supply, sewage systems and sanitary purification will be addressed in several cities. Among other major projects are the construction of two steam gas plants at Takhiatosh thermal power station and the development of entrepreneurship. 
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
 
 
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