President of the Republic of Tajikistan

Speech at the Investment and Economic Forum "Business-Engien of Economy", Dushanbe 2014

15.10.2014 15:48, Dushanbe city

Distinguished Participants of the Economic and Investment Forum!
Ladies and Gentlemen!

First and foremost, on behalf of the noble people of Tajikistan, I would like to welcome all distinguished entrepreneurs and investors, representatives from reputable international financial institutions, scholars and experts and guests to the Economic and Investment Forum of Dushanbe 2014 being held under the slogan of “Entrepreneurship – Engine of Economy”.

It is a great pleasure and honor for us to see you all in today’s event in Dushanbe – capital of our Motherland.

I believe that this Forum will be an important event in the economic life of our country for beneficial dialogue among the local and foreign investors and businesses, representatives from international financial institutions and local and international experts.

Strengthening and enhancing foreign economic relations with all friendly and partner countries is the most important objective of our foreign economic policy in reducing negative impact of the global threats, including post-crisis financial and economic consequences, risk of increase in the poverty rate, access of people to safe water, food, electricity and other basic commodities and services, outburst of transmissible deceases, climate change and rapidly changing regional and global trends.

We fully believe that strengthening constructive cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral levels is the most important means to address economic and social, security and environmental issues and resist the contemporary global threats and risks fully meets the interests of the whole world community and every country of the world.

Within today’s Forum, we would like to exchange in opinion and experience in the private sector development, includng small and medium business and encouragement of investment as the main factor to overcome negative consequences of crises and growth of national economy.

It is obvious that our country has certain experience in the development of business and investment activities during its 23 years of independence.

Alongside with this, we are really interested in studying the experience of developed and developing countries, where the private sector’s share accounts for 80% of their GDP and not less than 70% of their employment accordingly.

Your participation in today’s event, your speeches and presentations in the plenary as well as sectorial sessions, communication, exchange in opinion with your tajik counterparts would give a new impetus and I believe that local businesses will find out reliable trade partners with mutual interests and you will also achieve your objectives.

Dear Friends!

The main issues to be discussed today at the Forum, relate to different aspects of the development of business and investment in the country.

 The goal from discussion of these topics is to focus on the importance of development of business, which is recognized as the economy engine throughout the world. Because, entrepreneurship makes it possible to ensure first and foremost public employment, increase in competitive production, sustainable economic development and improvement of people’s living standards.

At the same time, business development is the major source of income and means for creative and intellectual development of people and it established the middle class, which is the main power for economic development.

The Government of Tajikistan, in its long-term development strategy, identified the development of private sector and investment as one of the top priorities of its economic policy and has been paying an utmost attention to its development regularly.

Over the recent years, a series of reforms in doing business aimed at reducing administrative barriers and state interference in the activities of businesses were implemented in the country.

Thus, with a view to establishing a platform of free dialogue between the public and private sectors and thereby accelerating economic reforms a high level Consultative Council on improvement of investment climate is established, which makes it possible for businesses and investors to propose their ideas on improvement of the investment climate and business environment directly to the country’s President and participate in the major processes of adoption and implementation of economic reforms.

Up to present, important reforms have been conducted in various sectors of economy, including simplification of business registration procedures, protection and support of businesses and investors, simplification of business activities inspection, permit and licensing systems, taxation system, establishment of legal and economic system of public private partnership and development of other sectors.

One of the priority areas of economic reforms on improvement of investment climate and business environment is the business registration simplification.

Given this factor, the system of “Single Window” for state registration of legal and individual entities is introduced, which is aimed at simplifying the business registration procedures, ensuring transparency, overcoming various barriers in establishment of conducive environment for business operations.

In terms of protection and support of businesses and investors, we adopted legal and regulatory documents reflecting the interests of businesses.

With regard to the taxation system reforms, we adopted new Tax Code of Tajikistan, which became effective in 2013.

Based on this reform, we reduced the list of taxes and the number of tax declarations.

We introduced electronic tax reporting, which first and foremost makes it possible to simplify tax payment.

In addition to this, during 23 years of independence, with a view to achieving energy sufficiency and ensuring country’s connectivity to the wider region the Government steadily implemented important projects on energy and transport, which directly or indirectly promote the development of private sector via improvement of access to power, easing and reducing the cost of use of roads and bridges and giving access to international trade ports and markets.

Distinguished Participants!

This year we adopted a working plan on doing business procedures simplification, including on business registration, obtaining permit for starting construction activities, connection to power supply network, property registration, access to loans, taxation, international trade, ensuring implementation of resolutions and addressing solvency of businesses, effective implementation of which will make it possible to further improve the investment climate and business environment in the country.

Similar initiatives will also be implemented on improvement of the investment climate in tourism sector.

With a view to establishing conducive environment for investment and business in the insurance sector, a thorough analysis of the sector was conducted and specific recommendations are developed to strengthen fair competition, improve the control system and legislation in this sector.

Tajikistan, as an independent country, is in its sustainable development phase and it has been strengthening its position in the global political and economic arena every day.

Accession of Tajikistan to WTO in 2012 as a vivid sign of this policy will definitely open wider horizons for the integration of our country into the global economy and global trade processes.

Serious measures are undertaken to bring the investment climate in line with international standards requirements, ensure development of the private sector and business and integration into the global economy, fair competition environment is ensured in the country and the same legal protection is ensured for both foreign and local legal and individual entities.

Tajikistan continues reforms in recognition of foreign public documents and establishment of the country’s sovereign credit rating within its approved agenda, which is aimed at simplifying the process of operation of investors and businesses.

Reforms are continued in establishment of secondary security market and stock exchange, improvement of the investment climate in the industry, strengthening competitiveness of the local production, establishment and enhancing the system of “Single Window” for registration of businesses in import, export and transit of goods and services, ensuring accessibility of license for construction and registration of immovable property.

Dear Forum Participants!

Despite the negative impact of the global financial and economic crisis and other existing challenges, during the last 17 years sustainable national economic growth at the level of 7% has been ensured in the country.

Today, with a confidence we can state that Tajikistan has established necessary environment and favorable conditions for doing business and making investment.

However, the existence of different issues and challenges in the development of business and investment is a natural phenomena during the transition into the market-based economy.

Despite this, the important thing is that the Government of the country always pays an utmost attention to the existing challenges and issues in the development of business and undertakes regular measures to address them.

Improvement of the investment climate and support of business and bringing them in line with the international norms and thereby encouraging more investments into the economy is one of the priorities in the Government’s economic policy and the Government is firm in its policy set forth.

Alongside with this, Tajikistan has a huge potential in the areas of infrastructure, energy, water, industry, agriculture, tourism, minerals, finance and banking, which can be attractive for you, distinguished investors and businesses.

We believe that as a result of today forum you will find the development of the above-mentioned sectors through real investments to be very important and interesting.

Water resources are the major welfare of Tajikistan. More than 60% of Central Asia’s waters are accumulated in Tajikistan.

Tajikistan has capacity to generate 527bln kWt/H of ecologically purest and the most affordable power per year, 6% of which is being used currently.

Therefore, the hydroenergy development is identified as a priority with a view to achieving energy sufficiency in the country.

Increasing production of power through construction of medium and large hydropower plants would benefit not only Tajikistan, but also all developing neighbor countries and the wider region.

It is not occasional that Tajikistan as included as a pilot country into the United Nations’ Program “Sustainable Energy for All”.

Alongside with this, we pay an utmost attention to the development of processing of light industry commodities, including garment industry products, cotton made textile, clothes, drinking water and so on by encouraging foreign investment and use of the latest technologies, because Tajkistan has huge resources of cotton fiber and drinking water, which is used as a raw material in these sectors.

Tajikistan has a great potential for development of agricultural and agribusiness sectors. Our country has a very favorable climate for growing a number of biologically clean fruits and vegetables since we have 300 sunny days in a year.

We also have good opportunities for development of the agribusiness via production of meat and milk, fresh and dried fruits and vegetables and similar products.Therefore, we identified the development of these sectors as another priority to achieve our strategic goal, i.e. ensuring food security.

The use of minerals another important sector for reliable development of our country. We have vast opportunities in processing of metals.

There are more than 600 natural metal and nonmetal deposits identified and explored in our country, which is ready for extraction. Almost 40 types of metal is extracted in about 100 deposits. All types of precious stones and metals and necessary raw material are available in our country, extraction and processing of which would be another aspect of economically beneficial cooperation.

Also, energy development, which is the main factor for development of industry, particularly metallurgy and processing of metals, offers a wide space for cooperation.

Another area, to which I would like to draw your attention, is small and large projects on infrastructure, transport and communication, which is considered to be very important in achieving one of our strategic objectives – ensuring coutry’s connectivity. Tajikistan’s geographic location provides a good opportunity to become a transit country.

 All of these projects are of regional importance like our hydroenergy programs and are profitable from the investment perspective.

Thanks to its rich historical and cultural heritage, high mountains, beautiful nature, flora and fauna and unique lakes Tajikistan has the best investment opportunities for the development of tourism, including mountaineering and recreational tourism, which is not fully explored yet.

Given the potential of investors and businesses, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries can be another promising area for encouragement of investment and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Currently, four free economic zones of “Soughd”, “Panj”, “Danghara” and “Ishkoshim” operate in Tajikistan. Necessary preferential terms for economic, financial, trade, information and services and other activities are ensured in these zones.

Existing legislation of Tajikistan foresees guarantees and preferences to investors, including preferences on taxation and customs procedures. Special additional preferences are foreseen in the priority sectors of the economy – the energy and production sectors, including full processing of aluminium, cotton and other agricultural products with a view to encouraging more investments into these sectors.

Distinguished Partners!

We definitely need huge investments to fully and effectively use the outlined resources and potential. There is no doubt that foreign investors and businesses have long-standing experience in the rational and effective use of investment.

Therefore, the local businesses need to avail this opportunity of your visit and establish mutually beneficial cooperation to identify priority areas in the development of production and expansion of export of final products to overseas.

In this way, Tajikistan can become one of the important hubs for production and export of various products to overseas.

Alongside with this, foreign investors can avail this opportunity to get familiar with investment potential of our country and establish cooperation with their Tajik partners.

Today the Tajik side will present to you projects attractive from economic and investment point of view in the priority sectors of our economy and I hope those projects will be effectively implemented in cooperation with you.

I believe that all participants of this Forum proactively participate in presentations and exchange in opinion and make all possible efforts to strengthen constructive cooperation.

We stand ready to ensure all favorable conditions to strengthen cooperation between the local businesses and foreign investors and fully support good intentions and endeavors of  local and foreign companies, businesses and investors.

I would like to emphasize that all your ideas and proposals outlined in this Forum, will be taken into account and relevant measures will be undertaken to address them.

Dear Friends!

I would like to declare the Economic and Investment Forum Dushanbe 2014, which is being held under the slogan of “Entrepreneurship – Engine of Economy” and once again welcome our distinguished guests to the historical Tajikistan and wish you all good luck in boosting mutually beneficial cooperation.

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