UZBEKISTAN SUCCESS STORY

UZBEKISTAN SUCCESS STORY

 

The figures that emanate from the overall performance of Uzbekistan’s economy appear to be coming from another planet. In a period of tremendous tumult all over the world’s markets Uzbekistan crosses the waters of its public finance without difficulty and with impressive self-confidence. Where global financial markets are facing unprecedented challenges and even developed countries are feeling the grips of stagnation and possible collapse the Uzbek economy is progressing profoundly unaffected by the grim international environment. In the year 2008 Uzbekistan’s GDP growth rates made up 9 percent, in 2009 – 8.1 percent, and in 2010 it is expected to be 8.5 percent, and in 2011 it is estimated to be 8.3 percent. Such figures rattle economists’ brains while reviewing what is happening in Europe or even in the USA.

At the same time Uzbekistan does not owe more than 10 percent to foreign lenders while easily can borrow money from international lending institutions. Its various policy projects remain unaffected by the instability of the international banking system while the country exceeds confidence in ist efforts to embark upon a strong course of further development. It is interesting to note that the government of Uzbekistan did not opt for the so-called shock therapy which unsettles violently the economy and pressures unduly the markets. The strategy adopted was a partial and gradual modernization and opening up of the economy by means of the utilization of the mechanism of the state. Although the intention was to liberalize the market and fold back the powers of the public sector it was considered necessary to use the central state authority for consolidating control of the basic raw materials enterprises and design a legal framework which would allow free market to function without obvious distortions.

Based on recent developments it appears that the government has decided that the time is appropriate to initiate further reforms. The timing is correct. With world markets in turmoil Uzbekistan could not any longer rely on a benevolent government machinery. It was imperative to let the market unguided and free enterprise to flourish. So, that the hitherto success to be translated into a dynamic new course of business action. It is obvious that the strategy is bearing fruits. The future looks rosy for a country that emerged from a difficult and economically rigid past.

Opening up of the economy however entails substantial pressures of the political field. You cannot sustain for a long time a liberal economy with a less that a modern and open political system. It is not surprising therefore that the Uzbek government aims at a more flexible, more responsive and radically restructured government machinery. The name of the new political project is further democratization. The steps initiated seem to be in the right direction. The office of the President gives way to Parliament and its elected majorities in deciding the new government and the person of the Prime Minister. Likewise, the new cabinet structure is more representative of regions and of the various sectors of the society. Overall, there is a substantial shift away from an overall powerful executive to a more influential legislative. In other words, the popular vote will decide definitely for the form and the personnel of consecutive governments while the office of the President remains as a bastion of maintaining stability and excluding political anomalies and sustained crises.

A smoothly functioning economy requires representative but stable political procedures. It appears that the government of Uzbekistan is following the correct road. It remains to show persistence and seriousness of purpose in attaining its stated goals. The road ahead is bumpy and full of serious obstacles. The reforms will be judged at times of difficulties. The challenges are waiting. It is up to the people of Uzbekistan and to their elected representatives to raise to the circumstances and fulfill successfully their destiny.