Tashkent, Uzbekistan, MAY 28 — On 27 May, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev got acquainted with the presentation of projects in the fields of tourism and the privatization of state assets.
The coronavirus pandemic negatively affected the tourism industry. According to the forecast of the World Tourism Organization, by the end of 2020, international tourist trips will be reduced by 89 percent, 74 million jobs will be reduced, and the total losses in the industry will amount to US$800 billion.
As you know, from 16 March, our country is closed to foreign and local tourists. As a result, more than 1.5 thousand tour operators and 1.2 thousand hotels have suspended their activities.
This seriously affected the income of more than 250 thousand people, including guides, artisans, workers of architectural monuments and spa facilities, catering facilities, transport and others.
To mitigate the effects of the pandemic, a number of preferences were also provided to the tourism industry. In particular, 1,750 entities were granted privileges on property tax, land and social taxes in the amount of about 60 billion soums. But these benefits and preferences are temporary. For continuous sustainable development, it is necessary to learn how to work in a pandemic.
In this regard, foreign experience has been studied. A system of sanitary and epidemiological safety for tourists “Uzbekistan. Safe travel guaranteed”.
The head of state reviewed the presentation of this project. Information is also provided on plans for the restoration and development of domestic tourism.
The President emphasized that for starters it is necessary to allow domestic tourism between regions with a green status. Instructions are given for organizing recreation centers in mountainous areas and on the coast of lakes using lightweight structures. Together with the khokims, the deployment of recreation centers will be determined, the relevant data will be posted on the electronic portal.
At the second stage, it is necessary to create a list of countries with a stable situation on coronavirus and gradually restore tourist relations with them, the meeting indicated.
– To resume tourism, first of all, there must be a clear answer to a number of fundamental questions. For example, how hotels will work, how will they receive tourists at the airport, how to organize their movement within the country? Defined rules should be simple and at the same time sufficient to prevent the disease. It is necessary to develop a system that does not require quarantine of the entire hotel due to one infection, said Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Tourism entrepreneurs who have suffered losses due to the pandemic are unlikely to cover them in the next 1-2 years. In this regard, the President emphasized the need to provide additional benefits and preferences for this industry.
In particular, the previously granted exemption in the form of exemption from tourist fees will be extended until the end of the year. Also, enterprises of the industry, when calculating income tax, will be allowed to deduct losses incurred in 2020-2021 from the profits of subsequent years.
Hotels will be given subsidies in the amount of 10 percent of the cost of the services they provide. In addition, they will subsidize up to 10 percent of payments on loans allocated to working capital.
Competition is one of the most important conditions for economic development. It provides the quality of goods and services, provides consumers with the opportunity to choose. It is these goals that the measures taken today to reduce the state’s presence in the economy and the fight against monopolies are pursuing.
Specific measures in this direction are defined in the Strategy of Action for Five Priority Directions for the Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021 and the Decree of the President “On measures to radically improve the system of managing state assets, antitrust regulation and the capital market” from 14 January 2019.
Currently, there are 2,965 state-owned enterprises in the country. Most of them work inefficiently, using obsolete methods. More than half of these enterprises are not even able to pay dividends.
At a meeting held on 11 December 2019, the President was instructed to reform these enterprises on the basis of market principles, and to sell them to private investors. In accordance with this, a bulk inventory of such objects was carried out.
Since the beginning of this year, 299 state assets worth 348 billion soums have been sold. New investors invested a total of 3.3 trillion soums in these facilities and pledged to create 4.7 thousand new jobs.
In particular, the former Chorsu Hotel, the Samarkandkimyo enterprise, the state share in the Uzbekistan Hotel and the Kungrad Soda Plant were sold. 425 million dollars will be invested in these facilities; creation of 800 new jobs is envisaged.
During the presentation, information was presented on plans for the privatization of state assets, the identification and effective use of vacant space and land, the implementation of corporate governance in state enterprises.
The President emphasized the need to continue work in this direction, to accelerate the transfer of another 1.4 thousand state assets to private investors. The Cabinet of Ministers is instructed to approve the privatization program.
The State Assets Management Agency and industry leaders are tasked with liquidating 711 inefficient enterprises, reorganizing 262 enterprises, and transferring over 500 markets to the private sector. The importance of introducing a new management system and reforming enterprises that remain at the disposal of the state was emphasized.