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22 April 2013 / 06:24

18.04.2013 18:06

On April 17, Tashkent’s Palace of Symposiums hosted an international conference entitled “Modern housing construction as a driving force of comprehensive development and transformation of rural areas, enhancing the living standards of population” organized at the initiative of President Islam Karimov.

The conference has been attended by leaders and representatives of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the Association of South-East Asian Nations, UNESCO and other prominent international organizations, as well as more than 300 scholars, specialists and experts from over 60 countries, including the United States, China, South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, India, Russia.

The forum has been designed for a profound and comprehensive analysis of the results yielded by the execution of programs directed at boosting the welfare of rural population areas and modern housing construction on standard designs, defined in Uzbekistan as a priority policy and an important prerequisite of the cardinal transformation of the village, the integrated socio-economic development of the periphery, the elevation of population incomes and employment, the extensive familiarization of the international community and foreign experts with our country’s successes on this front.

The opening ceremony of the international conference was attended by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov who delivered a keynote speech.

The wide-ranging efforts undertaken during the independent period under the leadership of President Islam Karimov directed at achieving such noble objectives as the prosperity of our Motherland, building a free and affluent life have been demonstrating remarkable results. Ensuring the welfare and prosperity of the nation has been defined as a principal task of the reforms and transformation underway across all spheres of life. People have been making their own homes and the country in general a more comfortable place to live, which is displayed by the changing appearance of our urban and rural areas. The lately emerging new population centers in various regions of our country, the so-called villages of the new century, where kindness, mutual respect, friendship, affluence and abundance reign – constitute a practical embodiment of these gracious aspirations and an important factor in raising the international standing of Uzbekistan.

One of the peculiarities of the “Uzbek Model” of development elaborated by the head of our state is the priority significance attached to the steadfast socio-economic development of our rural areas. After all, as the President Islam Karimov puts it, our roots go back with invisible thread to the rural land, first and foremost. The great and the sacred notion of the Motherland is linked primarily with village. For this very reason, it is impossible to secure the development of the entire country, the wellbeing of the people and the affluence in our households without the development of our villages.

During the old regime, this vital truth was not taken into consideration and the socio-economic development in rural areas, improvement of their residents’ lives used to be taken superficially. Naturally, the rural population in these circumstances practically did not have opportunities to uplift the living conditions, foster the services sector and make the villages a more comfortable place to live and work. Thus, an immense rift emerged between the rural and urban areas in the extent of socio-economic development.

In the wake of independence, Uzbekistan, under the leadership of President Islam Karimov, embarked on a consistent policy of socio-economic development in the village. State programs are being adopted to boost the social infrastructure of rural areas, bolster employment and a range of other directions; vast amounts of funds are being channeled for the erection of modern homes, healthcare, education and sports facilities, and public service complexes in villages.

The announcement of the year 2009 as the one of Rural Development and Welfare at the initiative of the head of state, the elaboration and the consistent implementation of the State Program built on the noble idea “The more the village advances, the higher the quality of our lives and prosperous the country” epitomized a new phase in this given sphere. In accordance with this program, in order to further improve the quality of life among the rural population, wide-scale works have been in progress to perfect the architectural planning of villages and design the housing and social facilities in them. For the past period of time, numerous decrees and resolutions have been approved by the President of Uzbekistan to boost integrated development of rural areas and raise the quality and level of living conditions of the rural population.

Notably, in line with the presidential resolution from 21 January 2009, Design and Survey Institute “Qishloq Qurilish Loyiha” was established. The Institute has worked out standard design for houses, social facilities and public service complexes in rural areas. During the expositions organized in September 2009 and October 2010 in Tashkent, these projects were presented to the wider public and perfected with an eye to general discussion.

Any construction is known to start with a project design. For this very reason, the President of our country has been paying such a remarkable attention to the creation and perfection of standard design of modern housing. During his trips to Uzbekistan’s regions, the head of our state familiarized with first homes, stressed its advantages and came up with proposals and recommendations to further improve those project designs. This vital issue was deliberated time and again under the leadership of President Islam Karimov, and the project designs were analyzed comprehensively and thoroughly. This led to the presidential resolution on “Additional Measures for Expansion of Individual Housing Construction in Rural Areas on Standard Design” signed 17 June 2010, in accordance with which the standard designs of individual housing underwent grave addenda and amendments. In particular, every developer and owner is from then on assigned 6 hundred square meters instead of the previous 4 hundred square meters.

Three-, four- and five-room spacious, bright, comfortable houses with latest engineering communications are being built currently in all regions of our country taking into account the lifestyle of the people and local natural-climatic conditions and based on approved standard designs. All versions of standard designs take into consideration insignificant, for the first sight, yet enormously important nuances of the national way of life.

The Qishloq Qurilish Bank joint-stock commercial bank, founded in line with the 30 March 2009 presidential resolution, has been effectively funding the works on modernization and further improvement of villages, on perfection of household conditions of the rural population, and on the provision of longer-term loans for this process.

The 3 August 2009 resolution of the head of state on “Additional Measures on the Expansion of Housing Construction Scales in Rural Areas” led to the creation of mass privileges and conveniences for citizens willing to improve their household environment, to the formation of a mechanism of swift and quality execution of construction works based on approved standard designs. In accordance with this document, a specialized subsidiary engineering company of the aforementioned bank – Qishloq Qurilish Invest – was established. The entity, assigned with turnkey commissioning of individual homes and social facilities and allocated with branches in every region of the country, is instrumental in the practical implementation of standard designs.

This unique, well-thought-out system has been facilitating in fact the realization of dreams and hopes of our people on robust, comfortable and modern housing. The rural population wishing to attain new homes has currently been participating in the construction process with their own funds alone. In other words, the potential owner initially pays 25 percent of the cost of the house in advance, and then what he/she is expected to do is control the progress of construction. The greater part of expenses is covered with a longer-term soft loan assigned by the Qishloq Qurilish Bank. The mortgage payments are carried out during fifteen years. The arrangement of funding the construction of new homes and the technical control of the progress of building, the transfer of housing erected on standard designs based on final calculation for soft loans provided by the bank are also assigned to the specialized subsidiary engineering company Qishloq Qurilish Invest.

Within this system, 23.6 thousand modern houses have been erected in 2009-2012 in the Republic of Karakalpakstan and provinces. In the current year – the Year of Wellbeing and Prosperity – it is projected to further enhance the scope of undertaken works; notably, 10 thousand homes are being constructed. 1 trillion 400 billion soums, that is, an increase by 54 percent from the previous year funds, is to be allocated for these purposes by the end of this year.

Such wide-scale works is feasible only in those nations with a dynamically advancing economy where the individual and his/her interests are considered the highest value. In terms of gross domestic product growth, Uzbekistan is in the list of the most dynamically developing countries of the world. The ongoing grave problems in the world economy notwithstanding, Uzbekistan’s economy continued to grow in 2012 with steady pace to demonstrate an 8.2 percent increase.

Noteworthy as it is, the modern houses are built in Uzbekistan from domestically produced construction materials. Cement, metal-roll, baked brick, heating systems, windows and many other goods manufactured at the enterprises of the joint-stock company Uzqurilishmateriallari, the joint-stock association Uzmetkombinat, the association Uzmontajmaxsusqurilish, the engineering company Qishloq Qurilish Invest – are supplied to construction workers in time and on soft pricing. For instance, more than 410 thousand tons of cement was used in construction works in 2012.

Expansion of construction work scales naturally raises the demand in construction materials. New enterprises specialized in construction material production are being constantly commissioned across provinces to serve that demand. In excess of 800 enterprises are currently operating in Uzbekistan to produce in sum total 3 billion bricks a year. Some 450 million pieces of brick are used in the construction of housing in new projects.

It is worth noting in particular that the quality of materials used in construction is under a permanent control. In building new homes, special significance is attached to the employment of ecologically clean, durable, power-saving materials. For example, construction mixtures are efficiently used as connecting materials along with cement, lime and gypsum. Today, the number of local enterprises producing such goods has exceeded forty. In lieu of the metal tubes previously used in communication networks, pipes made of modern polymers are being applied, while plastic panels are utilized for walls and ceilings, cast-iron and aluminum radiators are employed for heating. The roofing is made of metal tiles. All this produce is supplied by domestic manufacturers.

In general, the enterprises of this sector have developed the production of more than 30 new types of construction materials within the last few years. Today, only two types of materials – wood and roofing tile – are imported. At the same time, the export potential has been on the rise. Only cement and glass goods used to be exported in 1995, whereas over 30 sorts of production are sold overseas today.

A range of schemes are run at the enterprises of the joint-stock company Uzqurilishmateriallari. A new line has been launched at Bekobodcement joint-stock company. As a result, the volumes of cement production in our country have risen by 1 million tons, and nearly 100 new jobs are created here. An investment project is underway to arrange the production of 350 thousand tons of white cement and 750 thousand tons of Portland cement a year in Jizzakh region. Also, projects are in progress to launch production of facing tiles in Ferghana, of 2.1 million square meters of ceramic tiles a year in the Yukori-Chirchik district of Tashkent region. Relevant works are also underway to organize the manufacturing of bathroom equipment, ceramic-granite and ceramic slabs.

It needs particular mentioning that in accordance with development plan kindergartens, general schools, music and arts schools, sports facilities, healthcare institutions, mahalla centers, trade complexes, services facilities are being built in integrated mode in new rural residential quarters along with housing. The government funding has been helpful in systemic works directed at laying water, natural gas and power supply systems and improving the public utility infrastructure.

The program of housing construction and dynamic development of social infrastructure in rural areas also facilitates solution to the pressing issue concerning employment and the increase incomes of the population. Tens of thousands of our compatriots are currently involved in the construction of individual housing.

A particular emphasis in the new residential quarters is placed on the creation of modern compact enterprises. Ready goods from local raw materials are produced at ventures equipped with cutting-edge technologies and hardware. The rural youth are attaining education and qualification at colleges and comes to those enterprises to work.

All this helps prevent the negative impact of the global financial and economic crisis on the living conditions of our population. While amid the global downturn, the majority of developed countries underwent reduction in jobs and the rise in unemployment, more than half of the 1 million new jobs created in Uzbekistan account for rural areas. This has become the result of the execution of these programs.

The international conference contributors were introduced to the exposition at the Palace of Symposiums that was organized to present the accomplishments made during independence years in modern housing construction, in the social sphere, the promotion of small business and private entrepreneurship in rural areas. A video was demonstrated narrating this topic.

The high-ranking participants of the conference – President of the Islamic Development Bank Ahmad Mohamed Ali and the Vice President of the Asian Development Bank Xiaoyu Zhao noted that Uzbekistan, for its independent period, has achieved a tremendous progress and triumphs worth being proud of. This can also be seen in the sample of considerable outcomes of the steadfast efforts in the construction of individual housing on standard designs in rural areas.

The guests who also took floor at the event included the Deputy Administrator of the UNDP Cihan Sultanoglu, the official of the International Monetry Fund Veronica Bacalu, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN Alicia Dela Rosa Bala, Vice President of China Development Bank Yuan Li, Chief Executive Officer of the California Coalition for Rural Housing Robert Wiener, Director of Central Asia and Caucasus Department of the Japanese Agency for International Cooperation (JICA) Tetsuya Yamada. They and other speakers gave a high appraisal of the effects of wide-ranging reforms in Uzbekistan undertaken in this sphere. It was noted that our country has displayed outstanding results on this front.

The foreign participants of the conference who traveled to Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkent regions and familiarized with houses built on standard design, facilities of social infrastructure, small business and private entrepreneurship in the new residential quarters said they again became convinced of the high outcomes of the respective reforms embarked on in Uzbekistan.

It was underscored at the forum that Uzbekistan’s expertise in the field of integrated development and transformation of rural areas, improvement of the quality of life of the population by building up the modern housing construction can serve as a model for other countries with its effectiveness and promising nature.

During panel discussions, the conference participants deliberated on such subject matters as normative foundations and measures of government support for the housing construction in rural areas on standard designs, the terms and guarantees of housing construction for the population, privileges and preferences in the attraction of investments to the construction of housing and infrastructure facilities, influence of the modern housing construction on the dynamic development of the construction industry and manufacturing sector, its significance in the creation of new jobs and elevation of population incomes.

A summarizing document of the international conference – was approved toward the end of the occasion.