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World Bank Group Helps Improve Business Environment in Uzbekistan

September 17, 2010

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, September 17, 2010 — The Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group has successfully completed its Uzbekistan Investment Climate project and today released the results of its nine-year program on improving the business environment in the country.

Since 2001, the project has been working with the government of Uzbekistan to improve the business environment in the country, including reforms in business registration, voluntary liquidation, permit issuing, inspections, and the tax reporting system.

On the basis of annual surveys of small and medium businesses, IFC’s experts developed more than 200 recommendations for the government of Uzbekistan on further improvement of the business climate in the country.

From 2008 to 2010, the project also worked closely with the government to introduce an evidence-based policy assessment methodology for improving the process of regulatory decision making in the country and supporting a favorable and sustainable business environment.

Zafar Khashimov, IFC Country Officer in Uzbekistan, said, "The Uzbekistan Investment Climate project is the most successful one among IFC’s advisory services in Europe and Central Asia. The total impact of the project’s work on regulatory simplification is estimated to result in savings of at least $47 million in direct and indirect costs for Uzbek businesses."

During the last two years, the project focused on helping the Uzbek government in its efforts to improve tax administration and reporting. As part of that work, the project conducted a full-scale tax compliance cost survey and provided the government with recommendations on further improvement of local tax administrations. According to the report, there is an outstanding potential for further improvements, which could lead to annual savings of about $200 million to the business.

"It is not a secret that we still have room for improvement in tax administration in the country. We are open to discussions and will carefully consider the recommendations presented in this report." said Alisher Shaykhov, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

In 2001-2008, the project was implemented in partnership with the Swiss government through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs or SECO, which is the Swiss Confederation's competence center for all the core issues related to economic policy.

The Tax Compliance and Reporting Costs for Businesses in Uzbekistan report is available on-line.

About the Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group The Investment Climate

Advisory Services of the World Bank Group helps governments implement reforms to improve their business environment, and encourage and retain investment, thus fostering competitive markets, growth and job creation. Funding is provided by the World Bank Group (IFC, MIGA, and the World Bank) and over 15 donor partners working through the multidonor FIAS platform.

About SECO

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs is the Swiss Confederation's competence center for all the core issues related to economic policy. Its aim is to create basic regulatory and economic policy conditions to enable business to flourish and benefit all. SECO also represents Switzerland in large multilateral trade organizations and international negotiations, and is involved in efforts to reduce poverty and help developing countries with transition economies build sustainable democratic societies and viable market economies. Each year, Switzerland spends about 1.9 billion Swiss francs on development cooperation and transition assistance to countries.

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