International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Government and the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan issued the following statement (translated from the original statement in Russian) on 13 June 2007 based on the results of the IMF mission’s visit to Tashkent:
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission headed by the Assistant Director in the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department Ms. Sena Eken visited Uzbekistan on 4-13 June 2007.
The task of the mission was to check the latest changes in the economy and country’s economic policy, to confirm the economic forecast for 2007, and to continue constructive dialogue with the Government of Uzbekistan on economic policy issues. The mission expressed its thanks to the official agencies for the cooperation and open exchange of opinions.
After demonstrating positive macroeconomic performance in 2006, Uzbekistan’s economic indicators are expected to remain high in 2007, given high GDP growth rate of over 9% recorded in the first quarter of the year, substantial surplus of current foreign trade balance and further accumulation of foreign currency reserves.
Significant growth of net foreign assets is reflected in the increase in monetary lending rates. On the other hand, there are signs of reduction in the rate of inflation and strengthening of population’s trust in the banking system.
The Government continues to pursue cautious fiscal policy in reducing the tax burden and has achieved substantial progress in Treasury reforms.
In view of the high economic growth and stable balance of payment prospects for 2007, official agencies and the mission have agreed on the fact that Uzbekistan’s priority tasks remain reduction in the level of inflation and development of the financial sector.
The mission emphasized that keeping the inflation rate down should be an important aspect of the monetary, fiscal, exchange rate and trade policies of Uzbekistan.
It positively responded to the message on the Government’s intention to continue to implement strict monetary-credit policy and cautious fiscal policy, to adjust the exchange rate policy depending on the economic situation and further reduce trade barriers, in particular through the adoption of the new tax code and maintenance of full convertibility of foreign currency for import.
Official agencies and the mission have agreed on the importance of developing the efficiency of the financial sector to sustain economic growth in the medium-term perspective.
The mission supports the intention of the official agencies to strengthen the growing trust in the banking system by freeing banks from their role in financial control and the operations of the state treasury, and guaranteeing the regime of fight against money laundering in line with the international standards.
The mission also supports the commitment of official agencies to finding the solutions of the issues relating to the collection of accurate data on national revenue, prices and balance of payment statistics.
The staff of the IMF expressed its preparedness to assist the Government of Uzbekistan in implementation of reforms, particularly through provision of technical assistance, in the financial sector and reforms concerning statistical data collection.