Uzbekistan plans to attract $120 billion in investments by 2026

Special correspondent for international markets
The government is going to rely on public-private partnerships and privatization

The government of Uzbekistan is going to attract $120 billion of investments by 2026, said Omonullo Nasritdinhojayev, the country’s first deputy minister of finance, during the second Uzbekistan Economic Forum in Samarkand. According to the official, the government wants to attract direct investments through the privatization of public assets and public-private partnerships.

Akmalkhon Ortikov, head of the State Assets Management Agency of Uzbekistan (SAMA), noted that so far this year the government sold more than one thousand public assets. However, most of them are small. The reason the government hasn’t sold larger assets is that «this is just the beginning of the process,» according to Ortikov.

He also told about the privatization of Farg’onaazot, a chemical manufacturer. The SAMA is expecting all bids to be collected by the end of November. 

Earlier at the opening ceremony of the forum, Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Djamshid Kuchkarov describe the privatization of Ferganaazot as a good example for Uzbekistan. The minister revealed that the initial deadline for bid application was October 28, but some companies asked for more time for consideration. Nevertheless, Kuchkarov believes that the deal will be closed by December 31. The next state company that will go private next year is Dekhanabad Potash Plant. Navoiazot, another chemical product producer, is also preparing to start the same process also next year. 

Earlier this year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) suggested Uzbekistan delay the privatization of Uzbek state banks for at least six months. According to Jürgen Rigterink, the first vice president of the bank, the current geopolitical and economic situation isn’t good for privatization.  To persuade Uzbek banks to wait for six months before going private, EDRD, International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank sent these banks an official letter describing their concerns.

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