President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a meeting on priority tasks in the leather and footwear industry.
This industry occupies an important place in the production of consumer goods. As a result of technological modernization and localization in recent years, the industry has been widely developed. So, if in 2017 leather products and shoes were produced in the amount of 760 billion soums, then in 2021 this figure amounted to 4 trillion 415 billion soums. During the same period, exports increased from US$105 million to US$421 million. Thus, branch production grew almost 6 times, export – 4 times. The share of finished products also increased – from 32 to 78 percent.
At the same time, there are still many untapped opportunities in the industry, it was noted at the meeting. But certain problems complicate the activities of manufacturers. In particular, there is no accounting system for raw materials, insufficiently automated slaughterhouses, which affects the quality of dressing skins. There is a lack of designers, technologists and qualified tailors, modern equipment, chemicals and components.
In Bukhara and Khorezm regions, 2 million skins are harvested annually, but its industrial collection and processing have not been established. In Kashkadarya, Navoi and Tashkent regions, where 1.8 million, 700 thousand and 500 thousand skins of small cattle, respectively, are produced per year, their processing is not carried out at all. Many slaughterhouses operate with low productivity due to their remoteness from the population and lack of interaction with mahallas. In this regard, the meeting discussed measures to address these and other problems, the systemic development of the sphere. It was indicated that, first of all, it is necessary to organize mobile services in the mahallas for slaughtering livestock and collecting skins, to allocate preferential loans for this.
Responsible persons informed about 248 projects totaling US$421 million planned for the current year. The head of state stressed the need for the timely launch of enterprises, as well as the development of new promising projects with an emphasis on the localization of products and the development of modern models. The creation of 16 specialized small industrial zones in Nukus, Altinkul, Shakhrikhan, Dzhandar, Namangan, Urgut, Samarkand, Angor, Akhangaran and Khazorasp regions, the cities of Namangan, Margilan, Kokand, Jizzakh, Karshi and Nurafshan has been determined. 90 billion soums will be allocated from the budget for the creation of appropriate infrastructure in these regions. Entrepreneurs will be given loans for the purchase of equipment for a period of 7 years with a three-year grace period. In general, preferential loans in the amount of US$60 million will be allocated to support the industry this year.
In addition, the task was set to develop, based on the traditions of Kokand and Margilan, a special program to support artisans in mahallas, where furriery is highly developed. They will be provided with concessional loans and tax preferences under family business and housing programs.
This year, it is planned to increase the export of leather and footwear products to US$500 million, and within three years – up to US$1.2 billion, it was noted at the meeting.
– This is a very big goal, – said the President. – There is a market to achieve it, there are large raw materials resources, there is a demand. But it is necessary to create all conditions for entrepreneurs.
In this regard, it is planned to extend the previously granted tax and customs benefits until 2026. Also, compensation of part of the expenses for foreign specialists will be introduced. The importance of creating wholesale warehouses and trading houses abroad was emphasized, for which loans in foreign currency will be allocated at 4 percent per annum for a period of 3 years.
Today, in the total volume of domestic leather products, the share of women’s shoes is only 23 percent, children’s shoes – only 8 percent. Therefore, it was instructed to stimulate this direction through tax incentives.
– The most important issue is the lack of specialists. Therefore, each region should have a specific plan in this regard, it is necessary to establish a system for training personnel on the ground, the President noted.
Tasks were set to create a modern training and production laboratory at the Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry, improve the skills of specialists abroad, and train mid-level workers.
Responsible persons of the industry, khokims and entrepreneurs presented information and made proposals at the meeting.