The Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businessmen — Liberal Democratic Party (UzLiDeP) announced on May 30 at its 11th congress had endorsed Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the incumbent president of Uzbekistan, as its candidate. This was announced by the party’s press service.
The President outlined the five key priorities of his election campaign in a speech that was reported by Istochnik, a Telegram channel with close ties to the presidential administration.
Education and healthcare
The president announced plans to launch 50 joint education programmes and a “dual degree system” with top-ranked universities worldwide.
In addition, he also said that the state would fund 500 scholarships for talented youth to study abroad in fields such as biotechnology and artificial intelligence.
He pledged to attract foreign language teachers from overseas for all schools in the country to create conditions in the sphere of mastering foreign languages within the next 7 years and allocate 200 billion soums annually for this initiative.
He said that science and innovation would receive 1 billion soums in funding over the next seven years.
In 2023, 390,000 students graduated from school, and 700,000 children will go to the first grade. In the next few years, that number will increase to 1 million.
“This, of course, requires us to mobilise more energy and resources. Therefore, we will be launching new programmes to bring pre-school and school education to a higher level. First, by 2030, the need for pre-school education will be fully covered and coverage will reach 100%. At the same time, the cost of building kindergartens will be completely tax-deductible for manufacturing companies. Also, a 10-year loan at the rate of 7% will be provided for this purpose. As a result, an additional 2,000 kindergartens will be built by 2030,” he said.
The cost of kindergarten for children from low-income families will be covered by the state. This benefit will apply even if the child attends a private kindergarten.
“Our kindergartens and schools will be fully supplied with filtered drinking water. Bread products enriched with protein, vitamins and minerals, milk and iodine will be provided in pre-school educational institutions. In order to accustom our children to modern technologies from an early age, each kindergarten will be equipped with a computer class,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
The president said that 2.5 million more school places would be created and the education quality would be improved drastically in the next seven years. He said that this would be achieved through the “500,000-student places per year” programme.
He stressed that knowledge, education and upbringing would be the main priorities of New Uzbekistan. He promised to provide all the necessary conditions and opportunities for the youth to realise their potential and talents.
He recalled that six or seven years ago, thousands of patients were waiting for months to access hemodialysis and oncohematology services, and thousands of children with hearing impairment, heart defects and genetic diseases were not getting timely special medical care.
“We have initiated major medical reforms. As a result, the situation has changed dramatically. Now we have enough modern hospitals, qualified specialists and funds to treat these patients. However, we still have a lot of work to do to make our people satisfied with the healthcare system,” he said.
The candidate promised to raise life expectancy in Uzbekistan from the current 73 to 78 in the future.
For this purpose, he said that by 2030, maternal and infant mortality and genetic diseases among children would be halved, and premature deaths from cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory and infectious diseases would be reduced by 2.5 times.
He said that medical care would reach 120,000 cancer patients, 350,000 diabetes patients and 1.5 million cardiovascular patients.
“We will establish 100% treatment of hepatitis C at the expense of the state. We will achieve a sharp decline in the incidence of tuberculosis from the current 34 per 100,000 population (it was 43 in 2016). At the same time, starting next year, the population will be provided with a guaranteed medical package consisting of treatment for the 10 most common diseases and six medical services free of charge,” he said.
To save the lives of cancer patients, stem cell transplantation will be launched in the country for the first time, the cost for treatment of children from low-income families will be fully covered by the state, the incumbent president said.
“In the coming years, we will continue to provide 7 types of vitamins, iodine and folic acid free of charge to pregnant women and women of child-bearing age. Another important innovation is that the healthcare system will be completely digitalised and a health insurance system will be introduced,” he assured.
He said the state would commit to treating 5,000 children with heart defects and 10,000 infants with high risk of visual impairment free of charge each year.
The annual medical budget is to be doubled to $6 billion by 2030.
The share of funds allocated to social welfare in GDP has been increased by a factor of 2.5, from 0.9% in 2016 to 2.2% in 2022.
“However, social protection is limited to handing out money. In fact, the task of the system should be to help people get out of difficult situations and secure their place in society. For example, we have 9 million people in 30 categories who are in a difficult situation. These are people with disabilities, elderly people living alone, people who have lost their breadwinner, women who are victims of domestic violence. Therefore, we will completely revise the social services,” he said.
The president announced plans to reform the social sector by consolidating all the social services that are currently scattered among six ministries. He said that a National Social Protection Agency would be created and that at least 10% of its staff would be people with disabilities.
He also said that professional social workers would be deployed in each mahalla to provide targeted social services.
“A separate 'social file' will be opened for each family who is in a difficult situation or at high risk. For these families, social services such as improvement of conditions, treatment, delivery of medicines, placement of children in kindergarten and school, and financial assistance will be provided. Families in more difficult situations will also receive psychological support. “The social file will be closed only after the quality of life of such families has really changed for the better,” the UzLiDEP candidate assured.
The president set the second goal of doubling the country’s GDP to $160 billion by 2030. He said that GDP per capita would rise from $2,200 to $4,000 and that Uzbekistan would become an “upper middle-income country”. He said that the main focus would be on developing a technology-based industry and increasing labour productivity from $12,500 to $25,000 per employee.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced that four prestigious foreign companies would start their projects by 2030 and that car production would reach 1 million units per year, including 300,000 electric cars.
He said that major projects worth $115 billion would be launched with foreign partners, especially “strategic megaprojects” in the next few years. In particular, “strategic megaprojects” are to be launched in the coming years. In particular:
- three copper refineries and a new copper smelter in Almalyk;
- a copper processing cluster;
- large chemical-polymer clusters in Navoi, Kungrad and Karakul;
- high-value-added finished product manufacturing facility in Tashkent and Navoi regions;
- iron production complexes in Tebinbulak and Gallyaaral.
As a result, by 2030, copper output would grow by 3.5 times to 500,000 tons, gold by 1.5 times to 155 tons, silver by 3 times to 500 tons and uranium by 3 times to 10,000 tons. He said that aluminium, lithium, steel and graphite production would be launched for the first time in the country’s history.
He said that an Industry Development Fund worth $1 billion would be established to support the export of high-value products.
He also announced plans to create special export zones with 50 foreign brands, to introduce an industrial mortgage system for entrepreneurs and to set up two new industrial zones with at least 1,000 jobs in each district.
He said that IT service exports would increase to $5 billion.
Plans for road transport:
- The number of trips will be quadrupled;
- Additional high-speed rail lines will be added to the Tashkent-Samarkand and Navoi-Bukhara routes;
- The private sector will be involved in the railway sector and the quality of services will be determined on the basis of competitive prices;
- Six major airports would be upgraded and the number of private airlines would be increased to 10.
The president said that new roads would be built on a public-private partnership basis along the Tashkent-Samarkand and Tashkent-Fergana valley routes by 2030.
He also said that 5,500 km of cement-concrete roads would connect every village to district centres and that public transport would cover them fully by 2030.
He pledged to refund half of the VAT to residents who buy new houses starting from 2024 onwards.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev said that by 2030 the annual volume of lending in the banking and financial system will increase from the current $18 billion to $40 billion.
Interest rates on loans for businesses will be reduced from an average of 20% to 10−12%.
To achieve these goals, the President said that the annual lending volume in the banking and financial system would grow from $18 billion to $40 billion by 2030.
He said that interest rates on business loans would be cut from 20% to 10−12%.
Bank deposits would increase by almost four times from 70 trillion soums to 260 trillion soums.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced plans to accelerate bank privatization and keep only three state-owned banks (National Bank, Xalq banki and Agrobank). He also said that at least four large and reputable foreign banks would be allowed to enter the banking market.
The President said that there are plans to create “all conditions for the development of non-banking financial services” and expand the stock market to $10 billion.
He said that a legal framework for a non-state pension system would be established.
Water and environmental protection
The president said that the third goal of his election campaign was to conserve water and protect the environment.
He said that by 2030, field water supply facilities would be transferred to farmers and clusters to switch to water-saving technologies.
Shavkat Mirzoyoyev said that the water supply system would adopt the best practices from countries like Turkey, Spain and China. He said that farmers who use water-saving technologies would receive more incentives.
Rule of law
The president said that the fourth goal of his election programme was to ensure the rule of law and establish a public administration that serves the people.
According to Shavkat Mirziyoyev, public services would be fully digitised and that people would not have to fill out or submit any documents. The government agencies would access the necessary documents from the electronic system.
He announced plans to set up e-service points in every mahalla where all issues could be resolved “in one go”.
In order to enhance the role of parties, to demonstrate their strength and capabilities in practice, there are plans to introduce a mixed, that is, a majoritarian-proportional electoral system. This means that citizens will vote for a specific candidate for 75 of the 150 seats in the Legislative Chamber and for the remaining 75 seats for a political party.
In order to make the local kengash “a genuine voice of the people”, the authority of the hokim to lead the kengash is being abolished. A system will now be introduced in which the hokims will be accountable to the kengash and the people, the President assured.
The mahalla will receive 3 trillion soums a year in property and land tax revenues.
Next year, funds allocated for the Open Budget programme will be tripled to 24 trillion soums.
The term of office of mahalla chairpersons will be increased from 3 to 5 years.
To date, the power to sanction 7 types of investigative actions has been transferred to the courts, and now their powers will be further extended. Henceforth, separate judges will sanction restriction of rights during investigations. “Only then will there be legality in the investigation and impartiality in the court,” said the candidate.
There are also plans to create a possibility of reconciliation without initiating a criminal case on the basis of a victim’s statement. He said that this would prevent minor crimes from leading to criminal cases and lengthy investigations and trials.
“A new Uzbekistan, a safe and peaceful state”
The president said that the fifth goal was “New Uzbekistan, a secure and peaceful state”. He said that this goal involved enhancing cooperation in Central Asia in various areas, such as rational use of water resources, development of transport corridors, support for expatriates and creation of conditions for their active participation in the country’s development.
The programme also includes such initiatives as supplying the national army with latest weapons and military hardware by 2030 to boost the strength, defence and military potential of the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan.
According to the congress, UzLiDeP will request the Central Election Commission to register the party’s presidential candidate, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in accordance with the law.