Uzbekistan Is Going to Stop Exporting Its Natural Gas Abroad

What was going on in Central Asia this week

The Kursiv edition has prepared a digest of the latest news in Central Asian countries that happened this week

No Natural Gas Exports 

Uzbekistan is going to stop its exports of natural gas abroad and will process it on its own, according to Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the current president of the country who is going to take a part in the presidential race this year. While meeting with constituents, Mirziyoyev stated that «natural gas is a source of national wealth; we shouldn’t sell it by many contracts.» He noted that the country is ready to buy gas instead to process it into liquid fuel at a new plant. Currently, Uzbekistan exports its natural gas to China and Russia. Some small amounts of the fuel are also exported to Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. 

Precious Gasoline 

Kyrgyzstan has reported higher prices on gasoline this week. According to the country’s Association of Oil Traders if the government doesn’t intervene the gasoline price will go up because oil refineries in Russia are going to continue to increase their prices per ton of fuel. Due to huge demand and poor supply, about 40 gas stations all over Kyrgyzstan were closed. If the situation does not improve the entire industry might be forced to shut down.

The same trend has been observed in neighboring Tajikistan. Because of soaring oil prices, the gasoline and diesel fuel prices have risen by 8.7% and 7.4% respectively. Fuel prices will continue to grow until the end of the first two weeks next month, according to local experts.  

Strengthening of Defense 

Kyrgyzstan is going to beef up its defense capabilities by reopening its old Soviet military plants to produce ammunition the country needs. Also, local authorities want these military plants to repair armored vehicles and weaponry for the army of Kyrgyzstan. This initiative has already been written in the National Program developed for the next five years and split into two stages. Once the first phase of reopening military plans is completed, Kyrgyzstan is going to develop its military industry potential for full, to build new sites for the production of up-to-date weaponry, unmanned aerial vehicles, high precision weapons and new types of ammunition. This is the second stage of the program. The government of Kyrgyzstan believes that more sophisticated weapons if produced domestically will guarantee national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the constitutionally established state order.

Tax Payments by Installment

Uzbekistanis have been allowed to pay their taxes by installment with no bail, surety commitments or banking guarantee. However, the new rule works only for those who did pay taxes on time over the last three years but now face some financial difficulties. Similar amendments have also been put into the Custom Code of Uzbekistan. If a company had no debt on customs payments over the past three years and now needs some break, it can pay custom fees by installment as well. 

Economic State of Emergency

The cabinet of ministries in Kyrgyzstan insists that the country needs to declare a state of emergency in the national economy, according to Dastan Bekeshev, a deputy of the local parliament. As the deputy noted, even though the draft law was amended after criticism from the president, it is basically the same. If approved, the draft law allows the government to change the budget system of the country and to change terms of loans and other obligations by the state. Moreover, if all 12 amendments enter into force, the cabinet will be free to take any decision without public discussions. 

«One day entrepreneurs may wake up and see that game rules have been changed,» he said.

Many in Kyrgyzstan were unhappy to see a draft law on the state of emergency in the economy but most of the deputies had approved it. However, President SadyrZhaparov sent the document back to the parliament to polish it up.

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