President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev has instructed to allocate an additional 1.3 trillion soums to finance citizens' initiatives within the framework of the Initiative Budget project on the Open Budget portal, the press service of the Ministry of Finance and Economy said.

Voting for the Initiative Budget projects for the first half of the year ended on April 7. The residents of Uzbekistan gave a record 16.13 million votes (about a third of the adult population of the country) for 3,678 of the 5,970 projects proposed.

As a result, 1,666 projects were chosen as winners, and 1.57 trillion soums will be allocated to fund them.

By Presidential decree, 1.3 trillion soums will be allocated to finance 1309 projects, each of which gained more than 2000 votes (totally more than 4.3 million votes in 1182 mahallas), but were not declared as winners during the voting.

In addition, projects that got more than 1,500 votes each but were not declared winners were reviewed for repair and development of facilities in education, health, sports and other areas. In the budget request for 2024 it is planned to include expenses for their repair, equipment and acquisition.

As a result, an additional 304.6 billion soums will be allocated for repairs, equipment and other projects in 164 schools, 30 kindergartens and 32 medical facilities.

From 2023, citizens will be able to distribute 30 per cent of additional revenue to the local budget (until then only the district and municipal budgets), while funds for mahalla infrastructure will only be allocated through the Initiative Budget. As a result, 3.5 times more funds, up to 8 trillion soums, are expected to be allocated in 2023.

Matilda Dimovska, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Uzbekistan, stated in her blog that participatory budgeting can boost increase citizens' sense of ownership of problems and improve quality of life. She also mentioned that it can be an effective tool in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.