Now along with you we must consider what a name we shall give to the upcoming year 2011.
I think there is no need to speak once more about the essence and significance of a concrete naming each year that unites all of us along the path towards the goal, which we will set before ourselves.
In the whole we all well understand how important this issue is in mobilizing the capacities and funds of the state and society, enterprises, organizations or institutions regardless of their form of ownership, legal and physical entities, sponsors and charity funds in order to achieve the set objectives and jointly tackle the available problems.
One can see a confirmation of this in our practice and on the results of the large-scale work, which is being accomplished starting from 1997, when we began to give each new year a name, which embodies the thoughts and aspirations of the people.
Taking into consideration the aforementioned conclusions and with an aim to taking up to a new level the social and economic development of the country, I propose to announce the upcoming new year 2011 the “Year of small business and entrepreneurship”.
Speaking about entrepreneurship, first and foremost, we mean the private entrepreneurship. It is appropriate to note that from the time immemorial the entrepreneurship occupied a special place in the history of our country. We can say a lot about the traditions of our ancestor’s spirit of enterprise, their respectful and careful treatment of land, property, crafts and business qualities of people.
Here I want to remind once again the wise words of Amir Temur: “One resolute, enterprising, vigilant, courageous and brave man is preferable to thousands of lacking initiative and indifferent people”.
Perhaps, in the past the entrepreneur was named in a different way. But whatever way he was named – the trader or foreman-craftsman, the owner of workshop or enterprise, our ancestors at the expense of such types of economic activity provided the interests not only of their own families, but also the entire country.
In a word, it won’t be an exaggeration if one asserts that the entrepreneurial talent is inherent in our people.
It should be underscored that from the early days of independence in defining the future of the country, political system and social order of the state and society, firstly, in drafting and approving the Constitution the principal issue about ownership and property relations has always remained in the focus of our attention.
It is therefore that recognizing the equality of the state, corporate and private ownership in the make-up of the country’s multiform economy, our Constitution and legislation enshrine the priority of private ownership and ensure reliable constitutional guarantees.
Today the small business and private entrepreneurship with especially important and considerable share in the economy, the role and interaction, and simply speaking, a profound significance, which cannot be replaced by any sphere and direction, take a special place in the development of state and society.
Creating maximum favorable conditions, benefits and preferences, rendering comprehensive support, accelerated development of small business and private entrepreneurship, without which it is impossible to ensure the future of our economy, serve as the most important priority for over a span of the whole period of independent development.
One should not forget that the accelerated development of exactly this sphere is one of the most significant factors of filling the domestic market with competitive and quality products, creating the new jobs, first of all, for the youth, which is one of the today’s outstanding issues, and ensuring on this basis the growth of incomes and well-being of the people.
Speaking about exclusive importance of developing the small business and entrepreneurship, we must realize that while resolving this problem we will directly accomplish the fundamental task, which mostly defines the essence and substance of the ongoing reforms, i.e. creating a middle class of owners as the basis of a democratic society.
Everyone knows that it is this social stratum, i.e. the middle class, who is mostly interested in further deepening the reforms being carried out in the country, as well as the stable and sustainable development.
Shortly speaking, the small business and entrepreneurship now become a guarantor and buttress of the social and political stability in the society, an active moving force along the path of the country’s progress.
For over the last years we have accomplished a lot in terms of creating a favorable business climate and promoting the small business and private entrepreneurship.
I think, not dwelling on this issue in detail, suffice it to make just one example.
If in 2000 the small business produced 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, then after a short period of time, on the outcomes of 2010 this indicator, as it is expected, will amount to 53 percent, which is without any doubt a logical result of our purposeful work.
Touching on this topic, I want to especially draw your attention to the fact that the small business and private entrepreneurship are becoming an important factor of providing employment and the source of a stable income. The particular fact that at the moment over 74 percent out of the total number of the country’s employed population is working in this sphere also witness about the aforementioned.
It is hard to imagine, where these people would look for the jobs now, had we not paid a big and comprehensive attention to this sphere in its own time, had we not created the necessary conditions and not given various preferences.
A vivid confirmation of the aforementioned thought serves the very fact that in 2010 alone thanks to developing the small business and private entrepreneurship we created 480 thousand new jobs. And more than 60 percent of them are in the rural area. Taking into consideration that about 50 percent of the country’s population lives just in the villages, I think it is not difficult to comprehend the social significance of these figures.
Yet one can speak a lot about obvious advantages and big opportunities of the small business and private entrepreneurship. However, if to take into account that at the moment there are many untapped potential and opportunities in Uzbekistan to develop this sphere, and the small business and entrepreneurship occupy a leading, and moreover, a resolute place in the total volume of the gross domestic product in the developed countries of the world, then it will become clear that how a large-scale work we will have to accomplish in this direction.
Proceeding from this, it is necessary to pay a special attention to the following priority directions of the State program, which shall be drafted and adopted in connection with announcement of the Year of small business and entrepreneurship.
Firstly, with an aim of protecting the rights and interests of small business and entrepreneurship, as well as giving the new opportunities for development of this sphere the issues of critical assessment of the current normative and legal basis and adopting the new laws must remain in the focus of our attention.
Speaking about this, it should be emphasized that one cannot tolerate anymore such a state of affairs, when at the local levels instead of giving support to private entrepreneurs the officials put all kinds of obstacles to those, who strive to establish, let it be small, but their own business.
It goes without saying that for over the last years we have accomplished a big work to considerably reduce the interference of state and supervising institutions in the financial and economic activity of enterprises, tangibly expand the economic rights and freedoms of economic and entrepreneurial entities. However, the low qualification of certain officials of supervising bodies still remains to be an acute problem and negatively affects the work in this direction.
Along with this, one cannot deny that in many regions and districts there are displays of corruption, bribery, extortion and abuse of official status. It is high time to fully eliminate such illegal phenomena.
The next priority direction is to create yet more favorable conditions for small business and private entrepreneurship.
For over the last years we have carried out and are still accomplishing a big work to simplify the registration procedure of small businesses, filing reports to the tax, financial and statistical bodies. Nevertheless, it has to be done a lot in this sphere, as well.
Along with this, in the program we need to lay down the concrete measures on resolving the issues of construction and connecting small businesses to engineering and communication networks, i.e. the electrical power and natural gas supplies, as well as water supply and sewerage system. It is necessary to establish a strict control over implementation of these measures.
Another important issue is linked with creation of conditions and benefits on tax and other payments for the sphere of small business and private entrepreneurship.
Everyone knows well that the measures adopted for over the last years to further reduce the tax burden for economic entities from 13 percent in 2005 to 7 percent, or its reduction almost twofold, expanded the opportunities for the development of small business and private entrepreneurship.
Starting from 2011 it is envisaged to reduce this figure from 7 percent to 6 percent, which, no doubt, will become a new benefit given by the state to businessmen and entrepreneurs.
I think that in this direction, not limiting ourselves to the work being accomplished, we must undertake practical measures to further improve the system of allocation of midterm and long-term credits to small businesses and private entrepreneurship for modernization and technological renovation of production and resolving available problems.
It is necessary to attach especially important significance to tackling the issues of participation of small businesses and entrepreneurship in the sphere of foreign economic activity, as well as regional and world markets.
We need to dwell yet on another issue worth a close attention. At the moment, in Uzbekistan the small business and private entrepreneurship are mainly concentrated in the sphere of commerce, services and communication, as well as reprocessing agricultural products. Along with this, it is necessary to create broad opportunities to develop small business and private entrepreneurship in industrial branches, organize modern high technological innovative industries in the spheres of nanotechnologies, pharmacology and pharmaceuticals, information-communication and biotechnologies, apply alternative energy, and in a word, to open up a way for the development of small business and private entrepreneurship based on the advanced achievements of science.
I would like to especially note that here I have dwelled briefly just on certain aspects and priority directions, which must be laid down in the program.
It goes without saying that in order to fill the program with a concrete substance and implement the outstanding tasks it is necessary to create by a governmental resolution a special working commission, deeply and thoroughly elaborate each direction with involvement of leading specialists, above all, the entrepreneurs themselves.
I think that government and non-government organizations, small businesses, farmers and entrepreneurs, in a word, a wider public shall take an active part in this work with their ideas and practical proposals.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to repeat once again: small business and entrepreneurship must become a solid support of our society, its well-being, current and future development of our nation.
I am confident that this very view and this very approach will prove a principal guideline in our further activity and, above all, in addressing important and outstanding tasks before us.
I wish all of you strength and energy, as well as new accomplishments in reaching this goal.
Once again I congratulate all of you on the Constitution Day and wish you a sound health, peace and abundance to your households.