Uzbekistan: Ensuring Business-Friendly Conditions: Uzbekistan Aims To Enhance Its Position In The "Doing Business Report"

Last Updated: 21 February 2019
Article by Eldor Mannopov and Bobur Shamsiev

Uzbekistan continues to undertake measures to improve its business environment and promote the country's positive image in the international arena. On February 5, 2019, the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, signed Resolution PP-4160 "On Additional Measures to Improve the Ranking of Uzbekistan in the Annual 'Doing Business' Report of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation."

According to the Resolution, Uzbekistan plans to increase its overall ranking from the latest 76th position to 66th by 2020, 33rd by 2021 and 20th by 2022. The Resolution provides for reforms with regard to a number of indicators of the "Doing Business" ranking and approves the "Roadmap" and Benchmarks for improving the country's position in the report.

Key reforms addressing seven indicators:

Starting a business. Current ranking – 12.

From March 1, 2019:

Enabling banks to open bank accounts remotely for legal entities, if their founders are residents of Uzbekistan, and for individual entrepreneurs during their state registration, provided that necessary conditions exist for identifying applicants remotely, as required by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF). By 2022, the country plans to reduce time for starting a business from the current four days to one day.

Dealing with construction permits.

Current ranking – 134.

From March 1, 2019:

Cancellation of the procedure for determining the exclusive designated purpose of land plots when they go through the auction on the electronic trading platform "E-IJRO AUKSION" with an obligatory reference to an exhaustive list of types of objects, construction of which is prohibited or permitted on a specific land plot;

Abolition of the procedure for obtaining a permit for building and installation works with the introduction of a mechanism for the notification of their commencement.

By 2022, Uzbekistan plans to reduce the number of procedures from 17 to 15 and the amount of days required for getting all construction permits from 246 to 120.

Getting electricity.
Current ranking – 35.

From March 1, 2019:

Application of economic sanctions for unauthorized disconnection of consumers from the energy supply.
By 2022, the country plans to reduce time for getting electricity from the current 88 to 33 days.

Registering property.
Current ranking – 71.            

From March 1, 2019:

Application of the principle of extraterritoriality with regard to state registration of immovable property rights and submission of cadastral package.

By 2022, the country plans to reduce the time required for registration of property to two days (currently – 46 days).

Protecting minority investors.
Current ranking – 64.

Introduction of a mechanism for paying accrued dividends on shares through the Central Securities Depository or investment intermediaries.

By 2022, Uzbekistan aims to improve indexes constituting the indicator of protecting minority investors, including the extent of shareholder rights index to 9 (currently – 6) and extent of corporate transparency index to 9 (currently – 7).

Trading across borders.
Current ranking –165.

From March 1, 2019:

Authorization of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Uzbekistan to issue the certificate of origin along with the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan. The certificate is to be issued within 1 business day upon the date of application.

Crrently, the certificate of origin is issued by the JSC "Uzbekexpertiza" and its branches under the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade. From March 1, 2019, the issuance of the certificate of origin is to be carried out by both the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Moreover, forms of cargo declaration are to be simplified based on the international practice.

Enforcing contracts.
Current ranking – 41.

From March 1, 2019:

Introduction of a pre-trial hearing in the economic court as a dispute resolution method. A pre-trial hearing allows specific legal issues of the dispute that facilitates the court hearing to be addressed or helps to settle the dispute at preliminary stage. By 2022, Uzbekistan plans to increase the quality of judicial processes index up to 10 (currently – 6 scores).

Also, it is to be noted that PP-4160 is not the first document aimed at improving Uzbekistan's ranking in the "Doing Business" report. In July 2018, the President of Uzbekistan signed the Resolution PP-3852 "On Measures to Improve the Ranking of Uzbekistan in the Annual "Doing Business" Report of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation." In comparison with the previous Resolution, PP-4160 determines specific measures addressing each indicator and time frames for their implementation. Moreover, PP-4160 reflects Benchmarks for improving both total ranking and the rankings on each indicator specifying ministries and agencies responsible for ensuring these results.

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