• KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09129 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00221 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09129 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

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Uzbekistan to Help Afghanistan Repair Hairaton – Mazar-e-Sharif Railroad

Uzbekistan Temir Yollari (Railways) will help Afghanistan repair a section of the Hairaton - Mazar-e-Sharif railroad connecting the two countries. One-hundred-and-twenty workers workers from Uzbekistan went to Naibabad station to carry out the first stage. Freight cars will also be delivered there, and rehabilitation work will be carried out at Hairaton Station and on the 57th kilometer of the line. Officials from Uzbekistan and Afghanistan agreed to repair the road on favorable terms last November. The Hairaton - Mazar-e-Sharif railroad was built for $129 million in 2010, and is currently maintained by Uzbekistan Temir Yollari's subsidiary, Sogdiana Trans. In April 2022, the Afghan authorities wanted to transfer the management and operation of the line to local companies based on the low cost of their services. However, these plans remained unrealized. Currently, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan are negotiating a trilateral project to build the Trans-Afghan railroad and provide preferential tariff rates for railway transportation. Its launch will speed up cargo delivery between Uzbekistan and Pakistan to 3-5 days, and make it three times cheaper. According to initial calculations made by Uzbekistan Temir Yollari in 2022, the cost of the railway was estimated at $4.6 billion for five years. The Committee on Railway Infrastructure of the Senate of Pakistan then made its own calculations and announced a figure of $8.2 billion. At the end of last year, the Ministry of Transport of Uzbekistan reduced those calculations to $7 billion, and proposed an option to implement a public-private partnership under a format called Build-Operate-Transfer. By the end of last year, trade between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan grew more than sixfold, totaling $266 million annually, with more than 98% of that coming from Uzbek exports.

Uzbekistan’s Upper House of Parliament Undergoes Structural Changes

In April 2023 a new version of Uzbekistan's constitution was adopted following a national referendum. The country's legislation is still being amended, and the composition of government is being molded to these new laws. At the 49th plenary session of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan, senators approved a law that gives the Senate the right of self-dissolution. At the same time, new elections to the Legislative Chamber will be held within two months, and the new Senate will be formed within one month. They also reduced the number of Senate members by a third -- to 65 from 100 previously. Senators will now be elected proportionately from the Republic of Karakalpakstan, the regions and Tashkent city -- four people each -- and nine are appointed by the president himself. Previously, there were six and 16, respectively. The number of deputy speakers of the Legislative Chamber has also been reduced -- now there are only two compared to the previous seven. This was done because many of the powers of the upper house are duplicated. The number of permanent senators hasn't changed; it remains at 25.  From now on, a representative holding the post of speaker must suspend their membership of a political party. One important innovation is that now a bill submitted by a group of 100,000 voters, the Senate, the Ombudsman or the Central Election Commission can be submitted to the Legislative Chamber for consideration. Members of the Legislative Chamber and members of the Senate, as part of a special commission, may conduct a parliamentary inquiry. Representatives also approved a number of exceptional powers for the Senate. Now the upper chamber of the country's parliament, among other things, can cancel the decisions of local representative bodies of state power -- if it concludes that they don't meet the letter of the law. Also, the Senate has the right to strip any of its members of immunity at the request of Uzbekistan's Prosecutor General.

 Uzbekistan Signs $246 Million Loan Agreement With Japanese Agency

Uzbekistan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have signed a loan agreement, this time for lending by the Sustainable Economic and Social Development Support Program in Japan, worth up to ¥37 billion ($246 million). The loan will help the Uzbek government continue its reforms to make the country's economy more market-driven. Its objective is to safeguard social cohesion and stability, encompassing the citizens who are susceptible to fluctuations in financial circumstances. JICA supports enhancing market institutions and the conditions that allow the private sector to flourish -- as well as enhancing state-owned enterprise governance, promoting social inclusion, and promoting sustainability. Moreover, the line of credit contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of poverty eradication, promoting gender equality, work safeguards and economic growth. The Ministry of Economy and Finance is designated as the executive agency of the agreement on the part of Uzbekistan. The loan is provided for a period of 30 years. In January 2022, at a meeting between the Director of the Cultural Heritage Agency of Uzbekistan Shahriyor Nurulloyev and first deputy head of the JICA office in Uzbekistan Yoshimasa Takemura, JICA allocated ¥55.9 million yen ($490,000) to their Uzbek counterparts. Funds were given to preserve and digitize cultural heritage archives and to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the field of cultural heritage preservation.

Uzbekistan Plan to Invest $470 Million to Increase Gas Imports From Russia

State natural gas pipeline company, Uztransgaz plans to use loans from international banks to fund upgrades to the country's gas pipelines at a cost of $470 million dollars. The upgraded pipelines are intended to handle increased natural gas imports from Russia. The objective is to boost Uzbekistan's natural gas intake to 32 million cubic meters per day from the current 9 million cubic meters. This plan is in accordance with Decision #92, adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers on February 14th. Following a Moscow event on October 7th, 2023, the presidents of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia began the process of supplying Uzbekistan with Russian gas through Kazakhstan. The group planned the reversal of the "Central Asia-Center" trunk-line gas network in order to make these deliveries. The network was constructed in the 1960s to transport gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to Russia. Uzbekistan's gas trading company, UzGasTrade and Russia's Gazprom Export signed a two-year commercial contract which outlines the purchases.

Five Hundred Uzbek Orphans Will Be Provided With New Homes in 2024

Officials in Uzbekistan held an online meeting under the direction of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on February 20th to discuss the top priorities in the realm of social services. One topic raised at the meeting was that the work of juvenile legal and social-assistance centers needs to be improved. It was stated that these centers ought to be transformed into facilities that deal with childhood issues inherent to those who have challenging upbringings, and that the center should offer complex social services to help children adjust to society. The President directed that institutions like the School of Life be reorganized. It was also underlined how important it is to give orphans land for farming, and also provide training in entrepreneurship and professions in order to help them fulfill their potential. The Cabinet of Ministers was set the task of establishing a system to enable orphans and young people who lack parental guidance and affection to find work in state organizations. To help complete this task, a list of young people in dire need of housing will be compiled by the Inson (People) social-service centers. The value of the housing provided to them is set by region and is based on fair market value. The amount of money set aside for these projects this year will total 140 billion som (~$11.2 million). Officials were instructed to provide housing for 500 orphans who are on the waiting list before June 1st.

Eco-Activists Tackle Dust Storms on Karakalpakstan’s Aral Sea

Forestry workers and ecological activists in Uzbekistan’s northwestern Karakalpakstan region have begun planting desert plants on dried up sections of the Aral Sea.  Salt and dust carried in the wind cause significant damage to areas adjacent to the Aral Sea and their inhabitants. Every year more than 100 million tons of salt, dust and sand are blown from the bottom of the former Aral Sea and mix into the air.  Up until the late-1990s, the land surrounding the Aral Sea was still cotton fields; today, it’s largely an expanse of salinized grey emptiness. The desiccation of the landscape has led to these vast toxic dust-storms that ravage around 1.5 million square kilometers. Spreading nitrates and carcinogens, these storms - visible from space - used to occur once every five years, but now strike ten times a year. Once a thriving agricultural center, Karakalpakstan, home to the remaining section of the so-called Large Aral Sea, is now one of the sickest places on Earth. Respiratory illness, typhoid, tuberculosis and cancers are rife, and the region has the highest infant mortality rate in the former USSR. “This year we plan to create green plantations in the most vulnerable places, where the winds with salt and sand come from,” said Zinovy Novitsky, a project manager from the Research Institute of the State Forestry Committee. “We plan to plant trees on 150-200,000 hectares. The country is introducing an effective policy to combat this problem.”  Between 2018 and 2023, 1.7 million hectares of forests were planted on the bottom of what used to be the Aral Sea. To date, forestry enterprises have collected and prepared for sowing 192 tons of desert plant seeds, including 71 tons of saxaul seeds. Similar plans are being undertaken across the border in Kazakhstan, where, according to the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the so called “Green Aral Sea” being created will make a massive contribution to the process of achieving carbon neutrality. “One saxaul retains up to 4 tons of sand, 1 hectare of four-year-old saxaul absorbs 1,158.2 kg of carbon dioxide and releases 835.4 kg of oxygen per year, [whilst] the shrubby plant, salsola richteri kar absorbs 1,547.8 kg of carbon dioxide and releases 1,116.4 kg of oxygen per hectare. Accordingly, 1.1 million hectares will consume about 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide.”

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