The contents of this report constitute technical advice provided by the staff of the IMF to the authorities of the Republic of Uzbekistan in response to their request for technical assistance. The main objective of the mission was to assist the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan (CBU) in improving the collection of statistical data on the balance of payments (BOP), including the adoption of an international transactions reporting system, and to assess progress in implementing the medium-term program for further development of External sector statistics. Along with the successes, the mission noted several shortages in the BOP compilation system. The transfer of the BOP compilation function from the Ministry of the Economy to the CBU, and the transition to Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, sixth edition standards, have led to a data gap between the BOP compiled by two institutions. It is recommended to update the methodology for calculating the currency and deposits of households component per the mission’s recommendations, considering all possible inflows and outflows of foreign currency in cash by individuals.
At the request of the Republic of Uzbekistan authorities for technical assistance (TA) on external sector statistics (ESS), and with the support of the Middle East and Central Asia Department (MCD) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a mission from the IMF Statistics Department (STA) visited Tashkent during October 15–26, 2018. This was the first TA mission under the auspices of the Data for Decision Fund and the second since the Republic of Uzbekistan Presidential Order of September 12, 2017, “On Measures to Ensure the Accessibility and Openness of Economic and Financial Data for the Republic of Uzbekistan” was issued.
Mishel Ghassibe, Maximiliano Appendino, and Samir Elsadek Mahmoudi
This paper offers empirical evidence that greater financial inclusion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can promote higher economic growth and employment, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia regions. First, we show that countries with higher SME financial inclusion exhibit more effective monetary policy transmission and tax collection. Second, we find substantial employment and labor productivity growth gains at the firm level from access to credit, gains that are higher for SMEs. We also obtain evidence of a substantial positive impact on SME employment and labor productivity growth from improved credit bureau coverage and insolvency regimes. Finally, cross-country aggregate evidence confirms the employment and growth gains from SME financial inclusion, which appear larger in the Middle East and Central Asia than in other regions.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Uzbekistan’s external position remains strong. External shocks, which began in 2014, lowered exports, commodity prices, and remittances and contributed to a decline in growth from about 8 percent to 5 percent in 2017. Growth of domestic employment remained below one percent. A loosening of fiscal and monetary policies, along with price and foreign exchange liberalization, caused inflation to pick up in late 2017 and was close to 20 percent in early 2018. International reserves were equivalent to 19 months of imports of goods and services at end-2017 and debt is low. GDP is projected to expand by about 5 percent in 2018–19, but domestic job creation will continue to lag.
This paper reviews Uzbekistan’s Interim Welfare Improvement Strategy Paper (I-WISP). I-WISP defines the main directions and measures aimed at improving living standards and reducing poverty among the population of Uzbekistan for 2005–10. The strategy is designed to further expand reforms in all aspects of life in the society based on the national model of economic and social development, the social values of the people of Uzbekistan, and their commitment to the processes of integration into the world community.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the sources of recent growth in Tajikistan. It concludes that economic growth has been mainly driven by the services sector and a surge in remittances that have been mainly used for private consumption and small-scale private investment. The paper summarizes the recently introduced revisions to the Tax Code, which are an evolutionary step in simplifying the tax system and setting the base for better revenue administration. It also examines the likely impact on households of increasing electricity prices to cost-recovery levels.
The paper describes recent macroeconomic and financial developments and highlights a number of important medium- and longer-term policy issues. Empirical estimates of potential output growth for the Kyrgyz economy based on a number of different methodologies are presented. Competitiveness and trade policy, social policy issues, namely poverty alleviation and pension reform, are also taken up for discussion. Developments in the banking system since 1998 are described. Fiscal issues are discussed and also statistical data on economic indices are presented.
This study, another in the series focusing on special issues in transition, reviews the experience of output decline and recovery in the 25 countries of eastern and central Europe and the Baltics, Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Although these countries began the process of economic transformation with similar circumstances of output decline, the extent of decline, its duration, and the sustainability of recovery in growth varied considerably. The authors explore the factors behind this variation and find that the most important policies promoting early and sustained recovery were ones that supported financial stabilization and structural reforms in key areas such as private sector development, the tax system, economic liberalization, and secure property rights.
This paper examines the indirect role the IMF plays in combating corruption in the Baltic and CIS countries by promoting structural reforms that help improve economic governance and thus reduce opportunities for rent-seeking behavior. The analysis draws on examples of actual experience with corruption and outlines some of the structural measures under IMF-supported arrangements, which, if successfully implemented, can be expected to help gradually alleviate corruption. It also summarizes IMF-wide initiatives under way to strengthen public sector transparency and accountability, and highlights the key structural areas likely to receive emphasis in the IMF’s future policy advice to countries in the region.
In the USSR in 1990, social security reforms led to the imposition of a uniform system of benefits in a large and demographically diverse country. This required inter-regional transfers, which are now no longer feasible with the demise of the USSR. Relatively high contribution rates also pose a problem for a nascent commercialized sector. The paper argues that benefit levels in some former Soviet Union countries are now unsustainable. The price shock associated with the “transition” to a market economy should lead to a consideration of a “mix” of policies, including a basic benefit in kind. While funded systems may eventually reduce contribution rates, there are implementation difficulties in the medium term.