International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Uzbekistan embarked on an ambitious reform path in 2017, starting to liberalize its economy after years of state control. Incomes are still relatively low compared to other emerging economies. Uzbekistan entered the COVID-19 crisis with relatively strong macro-economic fundamentals.
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.
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 from September 30 through October 11, 2019. This was the second TA mission under the auspices of the Data for Decisions Fund and the third since the 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.
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 in improving the collection, processing, and dissemination of balance of payments, international investment position, and gross external debt statistical data, including improvement of the International Transactions Reporting System, as well as implementation of a medium-term program for further development. After the Republic of Uzbekistan authorities embarked on a course toward greater openness in the country, Uzbekistan made some progress in improving the production and dissemination of statistical data, but in addition to the gains that were seen, the mission noted a number of deficiencies in the External sector statistics compilation system. It is imperative to correct the methodology for calculating operations involving reinvested income for financial corporations and reflect the results obtained in the balance of payments.
This technical assistance report on the Republic of Uzbekistan states that the mission achieved all its objectives and Uzbekistan’s country page is now ready to be introduced in International Financial Statistics. Uzbekistan has recently intensified its efforts to improve its financial sector statistics. With the ongoing liberalization of the Uzbek economy, availability of granular data for an assessment of risks related to the financial sector is becoming more important. Uzbekistan reports 11 core and one additional financial soundness indicators (FSI) for deposit takers on a quarterly basis for publication on the IMF’s website. The one important improvement needed, particularly for the other depository corporation survey, is the enhancement of the counterparty sector classifications. The mission also assisted the Central Bank of Uzbekistan in establishing an initial framework for the compilation of a quarterly other financial corporation survey using the Standardized Report form 4SR. The Prudential Supervision Department is now ready to report all core and additional FSIs for deposit takers (DT), as well as their underlying financial statements, with the reporting frequency to be increased from quarterly to monthly. In order to support progress in the several areas, the mission recommended a detailed action plan with the priority recommendations summarized.
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 2019 Article IV Consultation highlights that given its bulging working-age population, creating more and better jobs is the country’s overarching priority. Uzbekistan has already implemented a first wave of important economic reforms, including foreign exchange liberalization, tax reform, and a major upgrade in statistics. Faced with a vast structural reform agenda, the authorities want to prioritize reforms that address the economy’s most damaging distortions first. The main short-term macroeconomic stability challenge is to prevent a credit boom that could generate excessive external deficits and aggravate inflation pressures. A tight monetary stance and moderate fiscal deficits need to be maintained to support macroeconomic stability. Credit growth will need to slow significantly to assure the economy’s external and internal balance. The sustainable development goals are anchoring the country’s inclusive growth agenda, especially on education, health, public infrastructure, and financial inclusion. Moreover, the authorities are redesigning labor policies from scratch to help unskilled and other disadvantaged workers find more and better jobs.