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Uzbekistan to boost Small Business, Entrepreneurship in 2011

13 December 2010
Uzbekistan to boost Small Business, Entrepreneurship in 2011from Central Asia Newswire

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov has vowed to make 2011 the year of small business and entrepreneurship.

Speaking in the capital Tashkent on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the country's Constitution, the Uzbek leader outlined the current state of the private sector and how his pledge to boost that sector would lift the country's socio-economic development to a new level.

Noting that small private entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the economy, Karimov said such business is projected to produce 53 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), up from 30 percent 10 years ago.

Consequently it provides employment and income for a very large segment of the population. As much as 74 percent of the workforce is employed in the private sector, he said.

Despite playing such a key role in improving the health of the country, some low-skilled government bureaucrats erect barriers to entrepreneurs, the president noted.

Efforts by governing authorities to decrease state interference into the activities of enterprises have sometimes been sabotaged by local officials who he charged with corruption, bribery, extortion and abuse of power.

"Barriers, erected by local officials to entrepreneurs, who want to create own business, should not be tolerated anymore," the UzDaily.com news agency Wednesday cited the president as saying.

Karimov said his priorities will be to implement preferential tax rates for small private businesses. Corporate taxes have already been reduced from 15 percent in 2005 to 7 percent currently. The tax authorities will reduce the rate by another 1 percent in 2011, he said.

The government will also offer better loan facilities to entrepreneurs who need to modernize or upgrade their production assets.

Small-sized private companies are concentrated in the spheres of trade, services, communication and processing agricultural products, President Karimov noted.

He said the governing authorities will encourage small and private businesses to enter industry sectors, particularly in high-tech production spheres, such as nano technologies, pharmaceuticals, information and communication technologies (ICT) and alternative energy.

A version of this article originally appeared at Central Asia Newswire here.