Agency for Strategic Reforms, World Bank hold talks
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- For the World Bank, the implementation of programs in Uzbekistan is considered one of the three most important areas of activity in the Europe and Central Asia regions. These programs are aimed primarily at macroeconomic reforms and modernization of agriculture, water management, improvement of water supply and irrigation services, development of urban and rural infrastructure, energy, transport, health systems, education, and social protection of the population. They also cover such projects as innovation, tax administration, statistics, finance and other areas. This was reported by the Press Service of the Agency for Strategic Reforms.
For example, the World Bank project “Rural Infrastructure Development” aims to improve the quality of basic infrastructure for the rural population and improve the quality of services that ensure the livelihoods of the project in rural areas.
More than 300 villages of Andijan, Ferghana, Namangan, Jizzakh and Syrdarya regions will take part in the project, with the possibility of financing programs to improve the quality of basic social infrastructure in the settlements of these regions. The project is being implemented with the financial support of the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). At the same time, the World Bank loan is US$100 million, the loan of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is US$82 million. For these purposes, the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan allocated US$1.6 million, with a total project cost of US$183.6 million.
The effective implementation of such projects requires experts from the World Bank to assess the infrastructure system of our country and its management issues. To this end, from 31 October 2022, a World Bank team of experts has been working with a mission on the Uzbekistan Infrastructure System Governance Assessment (InfraGov). From 31 October to 4 November 2022 in Tashkent, the World Bank mission, led by Senior Management Expert Ian Hawksworth, conducted its preliminary assessment work to determine the current state of Uzbekistan’s infrastructure management system. During the evaluation process, the main tasks of the mission were to collect data in accordance with its methodology, present and discuss the initial results of the mission.
In order to discuss the preliminary results of the evaluation, members of the World Bank InfraGov mission met with the First Deputy Director General of the Agency for Strategic Reforms, Abdulla Abdukadirov.
During the meeting, Elena Timusheva, Public-Private Partnerships Expert at the World Bank, gave a brief overview of the seven key areas of infrastructure management selected for evaluation and which will form the basis of the final report:
- project life cycle;
- public private partnership;
– resilience to climate change;
- state enterprises;
- water resources;
- digital technologies.
During the meeting, Abdulla Abdukadirov suggested adding an assessment of digitalization processes to the selected areas, in which Uzbekistan has achieved significant results over the past few years. As noted, technology is constantly evolving and the job market is increasingly demanding innovative digital skills. Efficient and innovative public administration must provide mobile and quality services to citizens. Digitization in each chosen direction means rethinking, redistributing public services and maximizing the provision of civil society with free access to information and services.
During the meeting, they noted the following, along with achievements in many areas of our country, experts also identified individual problems.
In particular, Uzbekistan has made some progress in the area of public-private partnerships, but problems remain such as fragmentation and duplication of the public investment management function.
At the same time, Abdulla Abdukadirov noted that today special attention was paid to strengthening public-private partnerships within the framework of the administrative reform implemented at the initiative of the President. It was also mentioned that the Agency for Strategic Reforms, in accordance with the instruction of the Head of State, is analyzing the duplication of managerial functions in order to develop further proposals.
With regard to one of the areas identified by the mission - increasing transparency, the World Bank evaluation report showed that although Uzbekistan has made clear progress in terms of budget transparency on the example of the Open Budget portal, it is still proposed to further improve the portal system, for a more detailed presentation information about the state budget to the population.
The “open budget” portal, which has been operating since 2019, covers the main aspects of the budget process in our country, annually publishes information on the main parameters of the state budget, the composition of income and expenses. In 2021, the portal was modernized and its functionality was significantly expanded to provide information on the execution of local budgets. Data on debt obligations, including debts of large state-owned enterprises, are not yet publicly available.
Also during the meeting, the parties discussed the issue of water resources and agreed that the approach to the management and use of water resources in the agro-industrial complex requires the use of resource-saving technologies.
At the end of the meeting, representatives of the Agency for Strategic Reforms and the World Bank’s Infrastructure Management Assessment of Uzbekistan (InfraGov) mission agreed on close cooperation in this area.