A new milestone in the development of employment strategy in Uzbekistan

The large-scale tasks of economic and social reforms in Uzbekistan reinforce the need to transform the model of public employment policy, and in this matter we rely on the ILO technical and expert support. This was stated by the constituents who discussed the background report for the preparation of the National Employment Strategy at the video conference held on 15 May in Tashkent.

News | 15 May 2020
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (ILO News) – The tripartite discussion was attended by Erkin Mukhitdinov, First Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bakhtyor Makhmadaliev, Vice Chairman of Federation of Trade Unions, Eka Margishvili, Executive Director of the Confederation of Employers of Uzbekistan, a representative group of ILO specialists and national experts.

National employment strategy is one of the featured and demand driven initiative in the Roadmap on deepening cooperation between Uzbekistan and the ILO. It was approved by the Prime Minister as a follow up to the DG’s visit to Uzbekistan in December 2018.

The formulation of the NES in Uzbekistan was logically designed and started with enhancing capacities of the constituents and specialists of the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Finance and Presidential Administration in such areas as designing of effective and inclusive National Employment Policies, the main cycles of the employment policies development based on the tripartite social dialogue, monitoring and evaluating of an effective national employment policy.

As speakers noted, the development of a comprehensive employment strategy, taking into account all possible scenarios, is of particular importance in the current context of the coronavirus pandemic. Within weeks COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the labour market throughout the world. Governments of all countries received a clear signal for accelerated but at the same time balanced decision-making to adapt employment support programmes to the new conditions.

“Today we need new approaches to solving problems of the labour market and we rely on the ILO support in this strategic endeavour. Under the leadership of the Ministry, a working group has been created to develop the National Employment Strategy, whose members are our social partners and national and international ILO experts,” said Erkin Mukhitdinov, First Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. “We need to formulate well-informed and grounded strategic objectives to expand decent employment opportunities in the long term, for the next 5-10 years.”

Today we need new approaches to solving problems of the labour market and we rely on the ILO support in this strategic endeavor."

Erkin Mukhitdinov, First Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Erkin Mukhtitdinov described concrete activities implemented by the Ministry as part of preparation for the development of the strategic document. These include functional assessment of the Public Employment Centers by the ILO experts, phased work to improve the existing mechanisms of employment services, review of the current service regulations, and capacity building of the Ministry staff. With the support of the ILO, training courses are being organized for employees of the Public Employment Centers from all regions of the country. The analysis of macroeconomic policies as well as the analysis of the labour market, employment promotion programmes, national and sectoral employment policies lay a solid ground for formulating the employment strategy.

According to the ILO international experts Duncan Campbell and Per Ronnas, labour market institutions in Uzbekistan develop under conditions of rapid diversification, featured by active involvement of the state and existence of a large public sector that is co-existing  with a growing market economy. Low labour market elasticity is a challenge, and the growth is not providing enough jobs. Well-designed labour market institutions play the paramount role of social protection and security for workers, while ensuring a stable and predictable business climate and  avoiding the extremes of over- or under-regulation.
“This meeting is a milestone that marks the completion of an important stage of our joint work with the Ministry and social partners to identify priority areas of the employment strategy based on the tripartite approach, ILO standards and expertise,” said Mikhail Pouchkin, Senior Employment Specialist, ILO Moscow. “Development of the National Employment Strategy takes stock of ILO efforts, including implementation of various ILO projects and interventions in Uzbekistan.”

As a follow-up step towards formulation of a national employment strategy, Ramiro Pizarro, ILO Moscow official, named finalization of two strategic papers on employment policy – the background paper and the paper containing 5 strategic objectives for employment strategy that were discussed during the video conference. Now the tripartite discussions and the internal discussion with respective national agencies will be held to decide what policy recommendations fit better with the Uzbek national policy objectives and overall economic reform agenda. It is also important to work more closely with the tripartite working group on NES with a sufficient mandate to facilitate the development of the strategy.

In the end, it was noted that the ILO stands ready to support the Government and social partners in formulation of a national employment strategy. The ongoing work is organized within the framework of the ILO Project “Partnerships for Youth Employment in the Commonwealth of Independent States” implemented by ILO Moscow with the financial support of the Russian private company LUKOIL.