President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on May 15 held a video conference call to discuss poverty reduction and employment. Five days ago, he was briefed on the presentation of measures in this area.

At the event, it was noted that poverty reduction is a complex task aimed at fostering an entrepreneurial spirit among the population, vocational training and increasing the number of jobs.

For example, the government reportedly allocates 200 billion soums annually for vocational training. But these funds are not linked to the real need for specialists among entrepreneurs. Likewise, entrepreneurs have to spend a lot of resources each year to train thousands of specialists for themselves, and they don’t get any support from the government in this process, the president’s press office said.

“The only right solution is to create conditions for entrepreneurs and cooperate with them profitably. At the expense of this we will provide employment and train qualified specialists,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.

For this purpose, a programme “20,000 entrepreneurs — 500,000 qualified specialists” will be launched from June 1. Participation in the programme is voluntary.

A total of $1 billion will be allocated for the programme in 2023−2024. These funds will be used to give the participating entrepreneurs loans at lower interest rates and for a longer period, subject to training and employment of citizens from low-income families. The costs incurred by the entrepreneurs for setting up and equipping a “mono-practice centre” as well as for training will be fully reimbursed.

Entrepreneurs participating in the programme will be granted “special” tax breaks. In particular, businesses where at least 20% of their employees are from poor families and who work during the year will be exempt from property tax and land tax.

The rate of social tax will be halved for entrepreneurs who pay salaries of up to 5 million soums. And a member of a low-income family employed in such an enterprise will be exempt from income tax, the president said.

Tax and customs preferences will also be provided. In particular, the tax authorities will not inspect the work of such entrepreneurs. VAT and overpaid taxes will be returned to them without inspection. The payment of all types of taxes can be postponed for up to 1 year. A “green corridor” will be applied to entrepreneurs in customs clearance.

Entrepreneurs participating in the programme will be granted additional benefits in access to infrastructure, land and buildings. For example, they can get instalment payments for privatised plots, buildings and facilities. Infrastructure costs of projects worth over 50 billion soums will be fully covered by the state.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev said that on the basis of the new system this year 550,000 people could be trained and lifted out of poverty.