As pandemic-related restrictions are gradually eased and the economy recovers, the role of government remains a key factor. The reforms adopted by the government create positive impetus/impulses to the economy. In his Speech to the Parliament, the President of Uzbekistan announced new measures, including business support, extension of the moratorium on inspections of business entities for another year, tax incentives, abolition of excise taxes on 73 products in the food, oil and electricity industries and increased healthcare costs were announced.
The Center for Economic Research and Reforms (CERR) conducted a survey in December 2020 among entrepreneurs to assess the business climate/environment in Uzbekistan. More than 1000 enterprises took part in the survey throughout the republic. The experts asked entrepreneurs about the prospects for their business development.
The survey was conducted in two directions:
- qualitative assessment of the current state of the business;
- expectation of entrepreneurs for the next 2-3 months.
The analysis of the business climate in Uzbekistan showed that the current state of business increased by 6 points compared to the previous month and made up 33 points, which characterizes the moderately positive sentiment of entrepreneurs regarding the current state of their business.
In particular, the indicator of the current state in the industry rose by 10 points, compared to November, in the construction and services sectors, an increase was recorded by 14 and 24 points respectively. In the agricultural sector, on the contrary, there was a decrease of 24 points.
Out of the 1003 enterprises that took part in the survey, 41% assessed the current state of business as “good”, 41% as “satisfactory” and 18% as “bad”.
36% of enterprises reported the demand for goods / services as “increased”, 45% answered “unchanged”, and 19% as “worsened”. The number of employees increased for 18% of enterprises, "did not change" - 73%, "decreased" - 9%.
The indicator of business development expectations increased for the next 3 months by 22 points, compared to the previous month and reached 73 points, which means that entrepreneurs have positive expectations about the prospects for the development of their business in the next 3 months.
In particular, expectations rate in the agricultural sector increased by 29 points, industry - by 21 points, construction - by 39 points, services - by 14 points, respectively.
Out of 1003 enterprises that took part in the survey, 73% assessed the prospects of their business as "improving", 23% - "will not change" and only 4% believe that it will "deteriorate."
The analysis revealed that the demand for goods / services will “improve” in 60% of enterprises, “will not change” - 32%, “worsen” - 8%. It is expected that 59% of enterprises will have an “increase” in the number of employees, “will not change” - 39%, “decrease” - 1%.
About 27% believe that the cost of their products “will not change”, 54% answered that they “do not know”, 16% of enterprises expect a “rise” in prices for their goods / services, and only 3% - “will decrease”.
The business climate indicator was 39 points, 13 points higher than previous month, i.e. the state of the business climate in the country is assessed as “good”.
The relationship between the values of the current situation and expectations means that the positive trend in economic development will continue in the next 3 months. In particular, in compare to November 2020, the indicator of the business climate in agriculture rose to 1 point, industry - 15, construction - 29, services - 19 points, respectively.
Assessment of similar indicators of the business climate in December of this year for partner countries is located as follows: Turkey (7) and Russia (-7.3), China (1.9), South Korea (-18).
Feruzbek Davletov, Center for Economic Research and Reforms
Translated by Hasan Boboev, Mir Akhmadova Musharraf, Center for Economic Research and Reforms