The Senate Convenes for Thirteenth General Session
On December 12, 2013, the thirteenth general session of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan opened in the city of Tashkent. It was attended by the invited members of the Cabinet of Ministers, heads of ministries and other government agencies, representatives of other organizations as well as mass media.
On the first day of the general session, members of the Senate of Oliy Majlis deliberated on 9 subject matters, including 5 laws designed to further enhance the socio-economic reforms, protect the rights and interests of citizens, including children and youths, providing for environmental security, along with addressing other issues carrying an important public significance.
During the discussion of issues introduced to the agenda of the general session, senators noted in particular that the approved laws will facilitate realization of tasks outlined in the keynote address of the head of our state delivered at the official meeting occasioned to the 21st anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and those also related to the announcement of the year 2014 as the one of the Health of the Child.
Members of the Senate started with the consideration of the topic on amnesty in connection to the twenty-first anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan. A relevant resolution has been adopted on this matter.
During the discussion of the issue, members of the upper house of parliament stressed that the approval of the act on amnesty timed to the twenty-first anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan constitutes another bright manifestation of the humaneness by our state, where human rights and interests are attached the highest value, the essence and meaning of the democratic, socio-political and socio-economic reforms in progress.
The Resolution of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis stipulates the release of convicted persons fr om punishment (taking into account the envisaged restrictions): of women, of persons who were under 18 years of age at the time of committing crime, of men older than 60 years of age, of citizens of foreign nations, as well as a range of other categories of people. In addition, the Resolution envisions the categories of individuals who will stay past the action range of the resolution on amnesty.
With its decision, the Senate defined the order of application of the Resolution of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan on amnesty in connection to the twenty-first anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, wh ereby a procedure is fixed in the trial investigation of cases and materials with regard to individuals subject to release from criminal liability and punishment under the amnesty act. At the same time, it stipulates the active participation of senators, deputies of the Jokargy Kenes of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, of Kengashes of people’s representatives of regions, of the city of Tashkent, districts and towns, regional representatives of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights in the implementation of public oversight of the application of the resolution on amnesty and of providing for transparency of the procedures of its execution.
A complex of actions is also envisaged to promote social adaptation and protection of persons being freed from punishment, to ensure their full registration and employment, placement of lonely persons and those in need of help in homes for the disabled and custodial institutions, the transfer of underage individuals to the supervision of parents, guardianship bodies and trusteeship, the direction of them to education institutions if and when necessary.
Then the members of the upper house considered and approved the State Budget of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2014. It was noted that amid the ongoing global financial and economic crisis, strategically important are the orientation of the State Budget of the Republic of Uzbekistan towards securing macroeconomic stability and high rates of GDP growth in the country, formation of a diversified and competitive economy, further elevation of the wellbeing and standards of life of the population. The 2014 State Budget was worked out with taking into account the Concept of the Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country, as well as the realization of major priorities of the program for socio-economic development of the nation, defined by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the session of the Government of the country on 18 January 2013.
According to senators, principal priorities in the filed of tax policy continue to be the further reduction of tax burden for economic entities and the population, the simplification of the system of taxation, the elevation of the income segment and the consolidation of local budgets, the reinforcement of measures in tax administering designed to inhibit the cases of diminishing and cover-up of taxation objects.
The most critical measures directed at the further reduction of the tax burden include the stipulation in the decreasing basic tax rate for income of corporate entities from 9 to 8 percent. As a result, corporate bodies will retain the additional more than 130 billion soums. In addition, as regards the income tax for individuals, envisaged is the reduction in the minimal rate of the scale of income taxation from 8 to 7.5 percent with the preservation of the order of transferring the funds extracted as tax for incomes of individuals in the size of one percent for individual pension accumulation accounts of citizens.
During the deliberation, senators drew special attention to the fact that the principal financial document of the country is directed at the preservation of the trend for the multiplication of expenses to the social sphere and social support for the population, boosting the funding for education, healthcare, science, culture and sports, including the funding for construction, reconstruction, cardinal overhaul and equipment of laboratory educational buildings of higher education institutions, gyms and student dormitories. The centralized investments will help assign necessary funds to the construction of facilities in production and social infrastructure, including the construction of motor roads, water supply facilities and other social facilities for the newly created residential quarters in rural areas.
The senators in their speeches especially stressed that the major directions of tax and budget policies, as well as the parameters of the State Budget for 2014 in general meet the priority aspects of the socio-economic development of the country, the strategic program for the further enhancement of reforms across all walks of life of the society. A special attention is paid to measures aimed at the preservation of steadily high rates of economic growth, the continuation in the implementation of proactive investment policy on the acceleration of the development and modernization of the industrial manufacturing sectors, road and transport and communications infrastructure, as well as the further improvement of the business environment, support for small business and private entrepreneurship. The discussion resulted in the senators’ approval of the State Budget of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the year 2014 and adoption of a relevant resolution.
The members of the upper house of the parliament deliberated on the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Introduction of Amendments and Addenda to the Tax Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Connection with the Adoption of Principal Dimensions of Tax and Budget Policy for 2014”, which was prepared in accordance with the concept of tax policy for the year 2014, as part of the execution of some decisions of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and in order to clarify a range of norms of legislation for their uniform application.
The senators noted that the Law is designed to further reduce the tax burden on economic entities and on the economy in general, simplify the system of taxation, consolidate the income part of local budgets and perfect the tax administration. The Law has been approved by the senators.
The upper house members considered also and approved the program of job creation and securing population employment for the year 2014 elaborated by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan with an aim of implementation of integrated and mutually connected measures directed at ensuring employment of the population by mobilizing the potential of areas and sectors of the economy, the rational use of labor resources with taking into account of the demographic factors and structural reforms in the economy, the comprehensive assistance for the promotion of effective forms of employment, encouragement of entrepreneurship initiatives of citizens.
It was noted that the Program was worked out with an eye to the Concept of Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country, the current and prospective needs of the labor market in accordance with the requirements of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Population Employment”, with the principles of state policy in the field of population employment, elaboration of appropriate target programs and international standards.
The Program envisions the creation of 983.6 thousand jobs in 2014 owing to the commissioning new major industrial facilities, the reconstruction and expansion of existing enterprises, the realization of programs on socio-economic and industrial development of provinces, programs of development of construction of individual housing in rural areas and contractor construction works, the further promotion of farming enterprises and the modernization of agricultural production, engagement of population to the implementation of infrastructure projects and the works on beautification, securing the preservation and stable functioning of jobs being created, the employment of women, people with disabilities and other categories of persons in need of social support, the further stimulation in the development of small business, private and family entrepreneurship, craftsmanship, services, the expansion of outwork labor and other activities.
A special significance in the implementation of the Program will be attached to the employment of graduates of education institutions. Some 500 thousand graduates of professional colleges are projected to be employed in 2014 in the new jobs being created in accordance with the parameters of the Program as well as the existing vacancies and reserved job positions.
Afterwards, the senators discussed and approved the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Approval of the Budget Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan”. During the meeting it was stressed that the Budget Code constitutes a legislative document of direct action, which secures the uniformity of the legislative base and systems of its enforcement.
The Budget Code envisages the systematization of the entire budget process (formation, approval, execution of the State Budget and the provision for oversight) in a single and holistic legislative document, the application of uniform principles in regulating both the State Budget and extra-budget target funds, the definition of powers of all participants of the budget process and mechanisms of their interaction, as well as the perfection of inter-budget relations with the fixation of revenue sources of local budgets, the distribution of powers and interaction among budgets of all levels.
The Code also identifies a range of additional dimensions and spheres of activities, whose sources and mechanism of implementation are directly linked to the State Budget, including the order of drawing grants and funds of technical assistance, monitoring and control over their use, conduct of state loans and state procurements, the mechanism for securing financial control, as well as accounting and reporting in the system of government finances.
According to senators, the adoption of the Budget Code in conjunction with the functioning Tax Code will allow for the formation of a single, unified legislative base that suits international standards in government finances, for the systematization of budget legal relations, and ensure the application of uniform law norms and approaches at all stages and levels of the budget process, the transparency and stability of the country’s budget system. The Law got approved by the senators.
Members of the upper house of parliament also considered the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Introduction of Amendments and Addenda, and the Recognition of the Staleness of Some Legislative Acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Connection with the Adoption of the Budget Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan”. It was noted that this Law was elaborated in order to further perfect the existing legislation, bring its certain norms into accordance with the Budget Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The Law envisions the introduction of amendments and addenda to the laws “On Local Government”, “On External Loans” and “On Accounting”, and some legislative acts are announced obsolete, including laws “On Budget System” and “On the Treasury Execution of the State Budget”.
Further on, senators discussed the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Environmental Oversight” elaborated by a group of members of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis from the Environmental Movement of Uzbekistan in order to implement tasks defined in the Concept of Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country.
It was underscored that the Law, discussion of which engaged the wider public, entitles the civil society institutions (citizens’ self-government bodies, NNOs) along with other entities and participants of environmental control with powers in the participation in issues related to the protection of the environment, the rational use of natural resources, elaboration and realization of environmental programs, supervision of the state of environment and other rights.
Senators noted in particular that the adoption of this Law will facilitate the elevation in the effectiveness of environmental oversight, coordination of the activities of government bodies and civic institutions in this sphere, as well as the consolidation of the role of citizens’ self-government bodies, NNOs and other public organizations in carrying out an effective environmental control, in addressing the most critical state programs in the sphere of environmental protection and healthcare.
Among the laws discussed by the senators was that “On Guardianship and Trusteeship” worked out for the execution of the State Program “Year of the Family”.
During the session it was stressed that for the past period, an effective, multi-layer system of protecting the rights and legitimate interests of persons in need of guardianship and trusteeship, including orphan children and children left free of parent guardianship and that practical measures are being taken to provide them with state support. Works are underway to reveal children who are in socially detrimental state, to prevent child neglect and juvenile delinquency, to secure the protection of their rights and legitimate interests in courts of trial and other institutions. An integrated normative and legal base has been shaped and is advancing in safeguarding the interests of children left out of parent supervision.
According to senators, the adoption of a single specialized law that unites the provisions of the legislative acts in force in this sphere will facilitate the reinforcement of legal guarantees for the protection of rights and legitimate interests of persons in need of guardianship and trusteeship, first and foremost of orphan children left out of the trusteeship of parents, the elevation of the effectiveness in the activities of guardianship and trusteeship institutions. The law was approved by the senators.
This put an end to the first day of the thirteenth general session of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan.