Se­nate OKs Na­tional Bud­get and New Bills

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On 13-14 De­cem­ber 2018, dur­ing the sev­en­teenth ple­nary ses­sion of the Se­nate of Oliy Ma­jlis in Tashkent, mem­bers of the up­per house dis­cussed 30 is­sues, in­clud­ing 18 draft laws aimed at in­creas­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of large-scale re­forms im­ple­mented in the coun­try, at de­vel­op­ing in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans be­gan work with a re­view of the is­sue of the State Bud­get of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan, bud­gets of state trust funds and the main direc­tions of tax and bud­get pol­icy for 2019.

In 2019, state bud­get rev­enues are pro­jected at 102.6 tril­lion soums, which means an in­crease of 38% com­pared with 2018, and the to­tal amount of ex­pen­di­tures of the state bud­get is 107.1 tril­lion soums, or 36.4% more than the cur­rent year.

At the same time, the na­tional bud­get ex­pen­di­tures on the so­cial sphere will amount to more than 57.8 tril­lion soums, or 54% of all ex­penses (an in­crease of 34.4% com­pared to 2018). Ex­pen­di­tures on ed­u­ca­tion will in­crease by 25.5% per­cent com­pared with the cur­rent year and amount to 28.4 tril­lion soums, or 49% of all ex­penses. The cost of health care will grow by 30.5 per­cent com­pared to 2018 and amount to 12.1 tril­lion soums, or 11.3% of to­tal ex­pen­di­tures. Ex­pen­di­tures on so­cial ben­e­fits, on ma­te­rial as­sis­tance to low-in­come fam­i­lies and pay­ment of com­pen­sa­tion will amount to 5.2 tril­lion soums, which is 61.8% more than in 2018.

As part of state pro­grams “Obod Qishloq” and “Obod Ma­halla”, 6.3 tril­lion soums will be al­lo­cated to im­prove liv­ing con­di­tions in 478 lo­cal­i­ties from all sources of fi­nanc­ing. The state bud­get deficit for 2019 is pro­jected at 1.1% of GDP.

In ac­cor­dance with the Con­cept of Im­prov­ing Tax Pol­icy, in 2019, the rate of tax on le­gal en­ti­ties is re­duced from 14% to 12%, for com­mer­cial banks from 22% to 20%. The tax bur­den on the wage fund is also re­duced by in­tro­duc­ing a uni­form tax rate for in­di­vid­u­als on all in­di­vid­u­als at a rate of 12%, of which 0.1% goes to in­di­vid­ual sav­ings pen­sion ac­counts. In ad­di­tion, it pro­vides for the abo­li­tion of in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions of ci­ti­zens in the ex­tra-bud­getary Pen­sion Fund, with­held from ci­ti­zens' in­come in the form of wages.

In the na­tional bud­get for the com­ing year, spe­cial at­ten­tion is paid to the is­sues of im­prov­ing the sys­tem of re­mu­ner­a­tion of pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees. In the com­ing year, it was pro­posed to in­crease wages, pen­sions, so­cial ben­e­fits and schol­ar­ships every six months in an amount not lower than the in­fla­tion rate of the pre­vi­ous year. From Jan­uary 1, 2019, it is en­vis­aged to de­ter­mine the size of so­cial ben­e­fits in ab­so­lute amount.

Fol­low­ing the dis­cus­sion, a res­o­lu­tion of the Se­nate of Oliy Ma­jlis on the State Bud­get of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan, bud­gets of state trust funds and the main direc­tions of tax and bud­get pol­icy for 2019 was adopted.

Sen­a­tors re­viewed the Law on the Pro­tec­tion of Vic­tims, Wit­nesses, and Other Par­tic­i­pants in a Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure. It pro­vides for a list of pro­tected per­sons, es­tab­lishes a range of state bod­ies en­sur­ing their pro­tec­tion. It also pro­vides for such se­cu­rity mea­sures as en­sur­ing the con­fi­den­tial­ity of in­for­ma­tion about the pro­tected per­son, per­sonal pro­tec­tion, pro­tec­tion of the home and other prop­erty, is­suance of spe­cial per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment and equip­ment, tem­po­rary place­ment in a safe place, re­lo­ca­tion to an­other place of res­i­dence, change of place of work or study, re­place­ment of doc­u­ments, re­stric­tion of ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion about the pro­tected per­son.

At the same time, in ac­cor­dance with the law, the pro­tected per­sons are obliged to ful­fill the le­gal re­quire­ments of the body en­sur­ing their safety, im­me­di­ately in­form them about each case of threat or un­law­ful ac­tions against them­selves, pro­tect the prop­erty is­sued for safety, not dis­close in­for­ma­tion about the se­cu­rity mea­sures taken against them­selves. The law was ap­proved by the sen­a­tors.

The par­lia­men­tar­i­ans also con­sid­ered the Law “On in­tro­duc­ing amend­ments and ad­denda to some leg­isla­tive acts of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan aimed at im­prov­ing the mech­a­nisms for en­sur­ing pub­lic or­der”.

Changes and ad­di­tions to crim­i­nal and ad­min­is­tra­tive leg­is­la­tion re­late to spe­cific mea­sures to strengthen pub­lic or­der in the coun­try and are aimed at es­tab­lish­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­gag­ing in beg­ging, in­volv­ing mi­nors and the el­derly, peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness and dis­abil­i­ties in this process. The changes also af­fected la­bor laws, sim­pli­fied some pro­vi­sions con­cern­ing

the pro­ce­dure for hir­ing and em­ployer's re­spon­si­bil­ity in this process.

It was noted that the law will help pre­vent cases of beg­ging us­ing in­fants and chil­dren, mi­nors, per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties and the el­derly, pro­tect the moral foun­da­tions of so­ci­ety, pre­vent ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion or abuse of en­ergy drinks, as well as pro­tect the health of ci­ti­zens, pro­mote a healthy lifestyle among the pop­u­la­tion.

Ap­proved the Law “On in­tro­duc­ing amend­ments and ad­denda to some leg­isla­tive acts of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan aimed at im­prov­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties of in­di­vid­ual state bod­ies”. The doc­u­ment pro­vides for the in­tro­duc­tion of amend­ments and ad­di­tions to 17 laws and six codes of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan, which are aimed at fur­ther en­sur­ing op­ti­mal con­di­tions for the state bod­ies to ful­fill the tasks set be­fore them, im­prov­ing the mech­a­nism of pub­lic con­trol over their ac­tiv­i­ties.

For ex­am­ple, the law in­tro­duces an or­der ac­cord­ing to which adult in­di­vid­u­als who are con­stantly regis­tered at the ad­dress of the hous­ing ob­ject are jointly and sev­er­ally li­able for obli­ga­tions to pay for the elec­tric­ity, gas sup­ply, wa­ter sup­ply and waste­water (sewage) ser­vices ren­dered.

The mem­bers of the Se­nate heard the in­for­ma­tion of the Min­istry of In­ter­nal Af­fairs on the ac­tiv­i­ties of the bod­ies of in­ter­nal af­fairs in the field of com­bat­ing crime and pre­vent­ing crime.

It was noted that as a re­sult of the re­forms be­ing car­ried out, the struc­ture of the in­ter­nal af­fairs agen­cies was rad­i­cally re­or­ga­nized, op­er­a­tional ser­vice ac­tiv­i­ties, the work­ers in this sphere are now com­pletely dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments so that they truly serve the peo­ple and are close to it. At the same time, spe­cial at­ten­tion is paid to the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of the work of rel­e­vant struc­tures in re­mote set­tle­ments. To this end, of­fices and sup­port points of in­ter­nal af­fairs were ad­di­tion­ally or­ga­nized; the num­ber of pre­ven­tion in­spec­tors was in­creased.

It was em­pha­sized that re­cently the at­ten­tion of all law en­force­ment agen­cies was di­rected to the early pre­ven­tion of crime di­rectly in the ma­hal­las and the for­ma­tion of an un­com­pro­mis­ing at­ti­tude among the pop­u­la­tion to any types of of­fenses.

As of to­day, at the end of each month, 198 deputy heads of in­ter­nal af­fairs de­part­ments on youth is­sues re­ported to the dis­trict and city Ken­gashes of peo­ple’s deputies and about 7 thou­sand pre­ven­tive in­spec­tors to res­i­dents of com­mu­ni­ties.

De­spite this, it can­not be said that at present the trust of ci­ti­zens in the em­ploy­ees of in­ter­nal af­fairs is at the proper level. Al­though the facts of vi­o­la­tion of ser­vice dis­ci­pline were sharply re­duced, there are still cases of of­fenses, rude­ness in re­la­tions with ci­ti­zens. In this re­gard, the sen­a­tors stressed the need to fur­ther strengthen the work in this di­rec­tion, in­creas­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity of law en­force­ment of­fi­cers.

The par­lia­men­tar­i­ans also heard a re­port by the Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs on the ac­tiv­i­ties of the min­istry in car­ry­ing out the as­signed tasks. It was noted that some work has been done in this di­rec­tion. In par­tic­u­lar, the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs and for­eign in­sti­tu­tions of the coun­try as­sisted in sign­ing more than 80 doc­u­ments in the sphere of trade and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion to­tal­ing more than $ 6 bil­lion be­tween min­istries, de­part­ments, hokimiy­ats and com­pa­nies of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan and for­eign part­ners.

Con­stant work is be­ing done to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment. In par­tic­u­lar, as of the end of Novem­ber 2018, 372 projects for a to­tal of $ 21 bil­lion were un­der study by rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices of Uzbek­istan abroad. Over­seas agen­cies held about 250 pre­sen­ta­tions of the tourism po­ten­tial of Uzbek­istan. Diplo­matic mis­sions took part in more than 50 tourism ex­hi­bi­tions and fairs.

How­ever, the study and anal­y­sis of the ob­tained data shows the pres­ence of sig­nif­i­cant un­tapped po­ten­tial, as well as a num­ber of un­solved prob­lems and short­com­ings.

In par­tic­u­lar, there is still a lack of in­ter­de­part­men­tal co­or­di­na­tion; there is no clear “feed­back” mech­a­nism with min­istries and de­part­ments of the repub­lic on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of de­vel­oped projects or on the out­comes of vis­its, which lim­its ac­cess to the real pic­ture of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion and the prepa­ra­tion of ac­tual rec­om­men­da­tions for its fur­ther de­vel­op­ment.

When in­ter­act­ing with min­istries and de­part­ments on pro­mot­ing the ex­port of do­mes­tic goods, at­tract­ing in­vest­ment and tourists, the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs and diplo­matic mis­sions still face the prob­lem of a lengthy re­view by the rel­e­vant de­part­ments and hokimiy­ats of the ar­eas of pro­pos­als re­ceived from for­eign agen­cies. This causes a forced can­cel­la­tion or post­pone­ment of a num­ber of im­por­tant bi­lat­eral events.

In the work of hokimiy­ats, there is still a lack of in­ter­de­part­men­tal co­or­di­na­tion, a for­mal at­ti­tude to the de­vel­op­ment of spe­cific plans for co­op­er­a­tion with for­eign part­ners. Be­fore the visit, there is no re­mote work with in­vestors; the terms of co­op­er­a­tion, the amount of con­tracts are not ne­go­ti­ated. As a re­sult, meet­ings are lim­ited to sign­ing model mem­o­randa of co­op­er­a­tion in­stead of con­clud­ing spe­cific con­tracts and tar­geted agree­ments.

The ef­fec­tive­ness of the work of over­seas in­sti­tu­tions is ad­versely af­fected by their ex­ces­sive work­load on the prepa­ra­tion of nu­mer­ous re­ports. This cir­cum­stance, es­pe­cially in view of the lim­ited num­ber of em­ploy­ees, does not al­low con­cen­trat­ing on work aimed at a spe­cific re­sult. To date, there is still a lack of high­qual­ity and in­for­ma­tive ma­te­ri­als about the in­vest­ment po­ten­tial of Uzbek­istan in for­eign lan­guages. Sen­a­tors made rec­om­men­da­tions to fur­ther im­prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs. Thus, when draw­ing up work plans for 2019 by over­seas agen­cies of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan, it is nec­es­sary to en­sure faster ex­port rates com­pared to im­ports, as well as an in­crease in tourist flow, es­pe­cially from farabroad coun­tries.

It was also noted the need to in­tro­duce into prac­tice the or­ga­ni­za­tion of reg­u­lar study group trips to re­gions of the repub­lic for newly ar­rived em­ploy­ees of diplo­matic mis­sions ac­cred­ited in Uzbek­istan to pro­mote the in­vest­ment and tourism po­ten­tial of the Repub­lic of Karakalpak­stan and re­gions of the coun­try.

Sen­a­tors also con­sid­ered the is­sue of send­ing a par­lia­men­tary in­quiry to the Prime Min­is­ter of Uzbek­istan Ab­dulla Aripov on the state of en­force­ment of leg­is­la­tion on the en­try and pas­sage of mil­i­tary ser­vice un­der the con­tract and law en­force­ment prac­tice in this area. It was noted that as a re­sult of mea­sures taken in this area, the level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism of mil­i­tary per­son­nel, their in­tel­lec­tual and mil­i­tary train­ing in­creased, their le­gal and so­cial pro­tec­tion in­creased, the pres­tige and author­ity of mil­i­tary ser­vice among the pop­u­la­tion, es­pe­cially among young peo­ple, sharply in­creased.

How­ever, field stud­ies, con­tacts with the pub­lic, and fa­mil­iar­iza­tion with their ap­peals showed that there are a num­ber of prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with en­ter­ing mil­i­tary ser­vice un­der a con­tract, ex­ten­sion of the term and dis­missal from ser­vice. The study showed that mil­i­tary ser­vice un­der the con­tract is a com­plex process. There are many bu­reau­cratic ob­sta­cles, more­over, this pro­ce­dure is not trans­par­ent. The dates for the com­ple­tion and com­ple­tion of cer­tain stages, as well as the re­spon­si­bil­ity of of­fi­cials re­lated to this, are not de­fined. In ad­di­tion, there is no uni­form le­gal mech­a­nism for the so­cial adap­ta­tion of for­mer mil­i­tary per­son­nel, es­pe­cially mil­i­tary per­son­nel who do not have se­nior­ity, which gives them the right to re­ceive a pen­sion, by en­sur­ing their em­ploy­ment, train­ing and re­train­ing.

The sen­a­tors con­sid­ered the ques­tion of send­ing a par­lia­men­tary in­quiry on the con­di­tions cre­ated for the ed­u­ca­tion of young peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties to the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan A. Ab­duhaki­mov.

It was noted that at the ini­tia­tive of the head of state in the last two years more than 21.5 thou­sand per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties and so­cially vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies were pro­vided with hous­ing. The sys­tem of state sup­port for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties has been fun­da­men­tally im­proved; the pro­ce­dure for their ad­mis­sion to study at higher ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions on the ba­sis of ad­di­tional state grant quo­tas has been de­vel­oped.

How­ever, de­spite the fact that the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan, the laws “On Ed­u­ca­tion”, “On Guar­an­tees of the Rights of the Child”, “On So­cial Se­cu­rity of Dis­abled Per­sons in the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan” se­cure the right of ev­ery­one to re­ceive knowl­edge, per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties can­not fully use this right. There are still a num­ber of prob­lems that im­pede the re­al­iza­tion of their rights to ed­u­ca­tion.

Other is­sues re­lated to the pow­ers of the Se­nate of Oliy Ma­jlis were also con­sid­ered by mem­bers of the up­per house.

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