PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REFORM: BOLD STEP TOWARDS THE THIRD RENAISSANCE

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in his speech at the solemn meeting on the 29th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan, emphasized that nowadays, the expression "New Uzbekistan" has been increasingly used when our republic is mentioned in other countries. This is a recognition of our recent achievements, as we have moved to a completely new stage of development.

Of late, the reforms in all areas of life have started producing fruits. Uzbekistan is laying a new foundation for the third Renaissance.

The renovation is important for its focus on increasing the efficiency of the public administration system. It quite natural that the first area of Uzbekistan’s Action Strategy, which should be programmed for innovative development in the near future, is also focused on reforms in the field of public administration and social construction. The system of democracy-based public administration in the new Uzbekistan is being reformed building upon the sublime concept that "People are not supposed to serve the government bodies, but it is the latter that should serve the former." The analysis of the efforts made in this direction suggests the following important aspects.

1. Uzbekistan has built a completely new system of effective and meaningful dialogue with the people, and prompt solution of human problems. As a result, a number of regulatory acts were adopted to meet the priorities of improving the system of public and social construction. The long-pending problems are being addressed, and the sector is fully regulated.

The Virtual and People’s Receptions of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan were established to protect human interests, ensure dialogue with people, reveal and address their problems and needs. These structures have become the criteria to assess the effectiveness of state authorities and administration, as well as a mechanism for in-depth analysis of local problems and increasing the responsibility of state bodies and officials to society, assessing their activities. The portal of collective appeals ‘Mening Fikrim’ was launched. Now citizens have an opportunity to submit an electronic collective appeal to the chambers of the Oliy Majlis, local parliaments. To further strengthen the legislative basis of the appeal processing system, the Law ‘On Appeals of Individuals and Legal Entities’ was adopted in a new edition. The Virtual Reception of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan was upgraded with additional amenities.

2. The principle of checks and balances, which is a global template, has been reflected in practice. Now, the President approves the candidacies of Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and Chairmen of State Committees of the Legislative Chamber upon the proposal of the Prime Minister.

Along with that, a procedure for presentation by a candidate to the Cabinet of a short-term and long-term action program on the development of the relevant area was introduced. Chambers of the Oliy Majlis and their committees started regularly hearing reports of members of Government on the implementation of their action programs. It is now established that heads of regional district and municipal authorities are approved by the corresponding local parliaments.

The Legislative Chamber has established a tradition of holding the ‘Government Hour’ to hear information from officials of government bodies. The lower house established the State Budget Office to provide professional, independent and balanced information, and analytical and expert support to deputies and senators on state budget, economy, monetary policy issues, as well as to ensure effective parliamentary control over the execution of the state budget.

The Parliament and the executive power have strengthened interaction. The position of the Permanent Representative of the Cabinet of Ministers in the chambers of the Oliy Majlis has been established and its legal status has been determined. The role of local parliaments in addressing urgent problems at the local level has been raised. The system of hearing reports from the heads of local authorities has been built in a new way, taking into account the interests of the people.

3. As part of policy of decentralization, the institutional system of the state apparatus was revised, important reforms were carried out to optimize it, increase its efficiency, based on the fact that “the problem in the regions can be solved, first of all, by people working and living in this region”. Specifically, a completely new system of integrated socio-economic development of regions has been established in the form of sectors. That is, the territories of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, regions, districts, cities were divided into four sectors of integrated socio-economic development, headed, respectively, by the chairman of the Jokargy Kenes of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, governors of regions and the city of Tashkent, districts (cities), prosecutors, heads of internal affairs bodies and the State Tax Service.

To ensure the participation of local authorities in decision-making at the republican level, it has been established that drafts of regulatory and legal acts relating to the socio-economic development of territories and local programs are coordinated with the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, regional administrations and the Tashkent City Administration by making amendments and additions to the Regulations of the Cabinet Ministers. In turn, senators serving on a permanent basis in the Senate have been attached to local parliaments in the regions, respectively.

4. An innovative approach has been implemented in the public services system, big steps have been taken to radically reform bureaucratic censorship and sarcasm towards citizens. Previously, citizens suffered from various informal payments, corruption situations, while now, the reduced human factor in the provision of public services has blocked such problems. Uzbekistan established a separate state body to pursue state policy in this area – the Public Services Agency under the Ministry of Justice, and its territorial divisions.

One-stop shop centers providing public services to business entities have been transformed into Public Services Centers at regional (municipal) Receptions of the President. The one-stop shop principle has been applied in the provision of services not only to business entities, but also directly to citizens. In early 2018, public services centers provided 37 types of public services, while by 2019 their number reached 130 (almost three times as much).

Since 2020, the centers have ensured the provision of 143 public services. In 2017, they provided about 120,000 public services, and after their range was expanded, the number of public services provided amounted to 11.3 million in 2019 (2.3 times more than in 2018).

A new module of Online Consultant was created, which now brings together a total of 94 government organizations and departments. 24 public services were transferred to electronic form, introduced through the Single Portal and multiplied to 157 services. Individuals and legal entities now have the opportunity to receive state services on an extraterritorial basis, that is, regardless of the place of residence of citizens and the postal address of legal entities, in any territory of the republic.

The story covers just a small part of governance reforms. Changes in the public administration system remain the key to the success of reforms in other areas. It is obvious that effective reforms in this area, as the head of state noted, will lay the foundation for a new era in Uzbekistan – the third Renaissance.

Eldor Tulyakov,
Executive Director,
Development Strategy Center

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