Activities of free economic and small industrial zones are discussed
On February 5, the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis hosted Government Hour.
At the suggestion of deputy associations of the lower house, the issue of organizational and legal regulation within the framework of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On free economic zones” of placing business entities in free economic and small industrial zones and providing them with benefits and preferences was submitted for consideration at the Government Hour.
Minister for Investments and Foreign Trade S.Umurzakov presented detailed information on this issue.
As it was noted, recently, special attention has been paid to creation of free economic zones and development of their activities. For example, if during 2008-2016 only 3 free economic zones were created in the country, then on the basis of relevant decrees and resolutions of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev their number reached 21. Currently there are 10 free industrial zones, 8 pharmaceutical, for development of tourism, fishery and agribusiness.
629 projects worth 3660.5 million USD (of which 1544 million USD are directly foreign investments) were approved in the FEZ. 158 of these projects have been implemented, 431 are being implemented, another 40 are promising projects. Including for the past period, 158 projects worth 1045.5 million USD, approved by the administrative councils, were implemented and as a result 9746 new jobs were created. As of January 1 of the current year, industrial production from the start-up enterprises reached 4.9 trillion UZS and production of 197 types of industrial products has been launched.
The projects include products of light, chemical, food industry, electrical goods, modern building materials, furniture and other finished products that are in demand not only in the domestic, but also in foreign markets. Enterprises exported products worth 194 million USD.
Regional administrative councils are working on the execution of relevant documents on 40 promising projects worth 721 million USD, entitling them to become a member of the FEZ.
According to the decree of the country’s President of October 26, 2016, more comfortable conditions have been created for free economic zones. Their members are exempt from a number of payments.
At the Government Hour, along with the results achieved in this area, attention was paid to shortcomings and miscalculations, existing problems and issues to be solved. In particular, in some free economic zones, activity on connection of engineering and communication networks and construction of production infrastructure facilities has not been completed. Due to unresolved issues related to engineering and communication networks, difficulties arise in attracting investors to the FEZ. The commercial banks assigned to free economic zones do not show a sufficient initiative of submitting proposals on supporting activities of the Directorate and implementation of new investment projects. Placing in the SEZ by some regional administrative councils of projects without exact calculation leads to provision of artificial benefits for certain types of activities, and this, in turn, leads to a disruption of the competitive environment in the market.
In this regard, deputies drew attention of the Minister to the issue of strengthening the institutional and legal framework of additional opportunities, benefits and preferences provided to business entities and entrepreneurs operating in free economic and small industrial zones, as well as pharmaceutical zones in the country that organized production of innovative, high-tech products for export.
Particularly, members of the parliament noted the need for development of normative-legal acts defining a unified integrated approach in formation of investment projects across regions and industries for investors seeking to invest capital aimed at full manifestation of the country’s investment potential in the global business community for attracting foreign investment widely. It was emphasized that on the basis of today’s requirements it is necessary to revise and improve the Law “On free economic zones” of April 25, 1996, which regulates the activities of the FEZ and legal relations.
At the event, the ongoing work on inclusion of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the Global Competitiveness Rating, consistent improvement of the country’s competitiveness was considered in detail.
A number of opinions, judgments and proposals of deputies aimed at cardinal increase in the activity of the ministry, taking into account the demands of the time, further increasing the investment attractiveness of the country, were expressed.
As reported by the Press Service of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, following the event, the committees of the Legislative Chamber were recommended to develop proposals for improvement of existing legislative acts and law enforcement practice. At the same time, it was decided to ensure effective parliamentary control over the activities carried out in these spheres.