President of the Republic of Tajikistan

The annual message to the Majlisi Oli of the Republic of Tajikistan

26.04.2013 12:12, Dushanbe city

Distinguished members of Majlisi milli and deputies of Majlisi namoyandagon!
Dear compatriots!

We are living in the time of rapid change of modern world and a new era of socio-economic development of our country.

State policy at present stage is focused on providing adequate living conditions for every citizen of the country through the effectiveness of all public structure and authorities.

To this end, a Strategy on Living Standards Improvement for the years 2013 – 2015 has been adopted last year which was approved by Majlisi namoyandagon (Lower House) Majlisi Oli (Parliament) of the Republic of Tajikistan.

18 billion somoni shall be allotted for an implementation of the Strategy. In addition, there 12 billion somoni will be allocated from the public budget for the purpose of financing of this program. Thus, a total sum of the Strategy amounts to 30 billion somoni.

We are convinced that effective realization of this program document will facilitate growing economic might of the country, foster effective management and implementation of priorities of the Government and will contribute to improving the scale of living of population.

At this juncture, in the time of a progress, efficient use of possibilities which will emerge as a result of Tajikistan’s accession to World Trade Organization and its integration with international trading system is essential.

Tajikistan’s full-fledged membership in this authoritative organization will remarkably promote production of high-quality finished commodities of international standard and competitive goods and would contribute to the increase of foreign trade and profitability of manufacturing of export-oriented local products, will upgrade knowledge of domestic business circles and raise attraction of foreign investment.

Along with this, trends and specific peculiarities of contemporary world evolution require from each of us proven and most responsible vision, thorough assessment and identification of ways of addressing the key challenges of the life.

In terms of modern world, where globalization processes are rapidly moving forward, source of new challenges, like new waves of harsh financial and economic crisis still exist.

Volatility in prices in the world market and difficulties in certain countries, inefficiency of measures taken by these nations and international financial institutions, including consistent extension of a scope of sensitive social issues still expressly or by implication are inflicting negative effect on our economy. 

Despite measures undertaken by developed economies, current situation of the world economy still remains alarming and increment in unemployment rate.

An escalation of other social challenges is observed today in some countries.

In such circumstances, given visible achievements of last years and the experience learnt in an execution of economic reforms, we need to meticulously analyze an economic situation of the country and prepare our national economy to withstand upcoming probable tests and successively continue a socio-economic modernization which we have initiated.  

It means that these factors should necessarily be taken into account in order to sustain a pace of development, to ensure further continued growth of the national economy and on that basis to improve a living standard of the people of the country.

In spite of adverse effect of severe world financial crisis and economic slowdown and other existing problems, the Tajik Government did manage to realize programs endorsed by the Government and secure gradual growth of the national economy over the last seven years.

An aggregate volume of Gross Domestic Product from 9,3 billion somoni in 2006 has grown up to 36,2 billion somoni in 2012, and its average real growth rate accounted for 7%, which clearly testifies sustainable economic development of the country.

Over this period of time, GDP per capita has grown up from 1335 somoni to 4580 somoni or has increased by 3,4 times.

A scale of cash income of the people has been increased by 4,2 times, amount of deposits grown by 4,5 and the average real wage of a worker raised by 5,5 times.

A total volume of state budget income and expenditure during the last seven years was extended from 1,7 billion somoni to 12,2 billion somoni in 2012 that it records a sevenfold increase of an indicator in 2006.  

This indicator exceeds the statistics in 2000 which was 226 million somoni 54 times.

Analyzes and assessment show that if a proportion of public budget revenue compared to GDP in 2000 equaled 12,6%, then this index in 2006 accounted for 19,4% and will reach 22% this year.    

Following a growth of the volume of a public budget, social sector financing will be increased and this year it amounts 6,4 billion somoni or more than half of the state budget. 

If in the year 2006, a total volume of expenditures in social sectors accounted for 903 million somoni, then this indicator in 2013 constitutes a sevenfold increase compared to the statistics in 2006.

Financing of education sector is increased 6,7 times, health sector funding is grown by 8,6 times, social protection of population by 6,8 times and culture, sports and services rose up by 7,1 times.

If an aggregate amount of social sectors financing in the year of 2000 was only 106 million somoni, then it has increased by 60 times this year in comparison with 2000.

Likewise, a salary of the workers of budget sectors, scholarships, allowances and compensatory payments have over the years since 2006 to 2012 been increased in average by 6 times.

Wage scale of workers of social enterprises was increased in 2012, including salaries of employees of preschool institutions and comprehensive secondary schools, homes for the elderly persons and children with disabilities were raised by more than 60%, health care sector by 40%, science by 30% and cultural sector workers as well as scholarship by 50%.

Moreover, during the years of 2006 – 2013, a scale of pension has also been increased by 4,5 times. Its volume has grown from 212 million somoni to 1,6 billion somoni, that means seven and half-fold increase in size. And such policy will be continued in future.

In the aftermath of an execution of given actions, poverty rate in the country has been reduced from 81% in 1991 to 38%, which means reduction by almost 45%. 

Poverty reduction has become possible for the most part because of the outcomes of economic growth and macro-economic and social stability of the country.

Yet another evidence of betterment of socio-economic situation in the country is that living standards improvement and the welfare of the people have become the core reasons for the gradual decline in maternal/child mortality rate, in extension of life expectancy and in the natural growth of population in the country.   

If in the year of 2000 average life-span of citizens of the country was 68,2 years, then in 2012 this indicator has equaled 72,5 years.

Based on researches and studies conducted in this area, maternal mortality rate in 2010 compared to the year of 2005 is declined by 12% and the rate of child mortality is cut down by half.

Alongside with it, if 167 thousand children were born in 2000, then this indicator has raised up to 220 thousand newly-born children in 2012, which is 25% more than the indicator in the past.

As a result, population size of the country from 6,1 million people in 2000, has been increased by 30% and today consists of over 8 million.   

However it should be stated, that taking into account requirements of the times, all these indicated achievements still cannot meet our wishes.

That is, it is important to exercise additional effective measures to reinforce an economic might and upgrade the indicators of the country and on that basis to create auspicious living conditions of the people. 

Dear friends!

Strategic and ongoing objectives of an economic policy and mechanisms of their performance are clearly set forth in a sequence of program documents and legal instruments, which are being implemented well.

Along with it, it has also be noted, that our common goal is – to consistently promote sustainable growth of Tajikistan’s economy and based on that improve the scale of living of the people, particularly through securing energy independence, food security and overcoming the country’s communication deadlock, at the same time, via a rapid pace of development in constructive sectors with reliance on the private sector and business that ensures continued economic growth of the country in a transition period.

I’d like to reiterate that there are enormous resources and tremendous potential to put identified priorities in practice and stimulate our country’s further development.

Studies and analyzes on the prospect of the national economy’s growth in mid-term and long-term periods indicate that a scale of living of the people is gradually improving and a proportion of the middle class is increasing.

Tajikistan from among low-profit states now upgrades to the group of medium-income nations.

A pace of an average annual economic growth is estimated at 7% - 9% and the Gross Domestic Product of the country in 2020 will be on the increase at 80% against indicators of 2013.

Furthermore, we suppose a population of the country will gradually be increased and constitute 10 million people over this period.

In this connection, a great deal of emphasis will be put on the realization of national priorities through strengthening public administration, diversification of economy, improvement of investment climate, private sector development and human resources capacity building which in aggregate pave the way for economic resilience and the overall progress of the country.

With this end in view, it is necessary to increase export potential of the country by means of industrial manufacturing development and deep processing of domestic raw materials, betterment of an infrastructure which is focused on advancement of industrial sectors’ progress, not least in extraction and processing of mineral resources, nonferrous-metals industry, as well as in light and food industries.   

Production of local competitive goods should be broadly established in the real sectors of economy by the use of state-of-the-art technology and best world practices.

Necessary drastic steps should also be undertaken to bolster firm macro-economic indices and sustain acceptable inflation rate.

By 2020, we need to bring specific weight of a current public budget revenue and expenditure to 24 – 25% of Gross Domestic Product.     

Social sectors financing will be brought from 12% up to 16% of the GDP by 2020.  

It will enable over this period of time to increase wages of budget-funded sectors workers, pension rate and scholarship from two and half times to three-fold.   

With regard to the fulfillment of this commitment, at the first phase, the wages of budget-funded sectors’ employees will be increased, including salaries of workers of preschool institutions and comprehensive secondary schools in average by 30%, employees of other public budget-funded organizations and departments, such as science, culture, health, sports and social protection sectors, civil servants, law-enforcement and military structures personnel, as well as all pension and scholarship shall be raised by 20%.  

During an annual address in 2011, we have posed a task before ourselves to raise a salary of budget-funded sectors’ personnel in a mid-term period by more than twice.

We have already fulfilled this commitment during the years of 2011 – 2012 and given the increase of wage scale this year it will be grown three-fold, although, this commitment had to be executed by 2014.

In whole, real income of population over the next seven years will be grown by 4 times.

As a result of an implementation of these measures and in accordance with the Strategy on Living Standards Improvement for the period 2013 – 2015, a poverty rate will be declined and brought down to 30%.

National economy’s growth depends on an increase of financing and on floating assets and this index which at the same time indicates a liquidity of economy, has over the last seven years been increased from 14% to 23% of the Gross Domestic Product.

World practice shows that this indicator in developed nations constitutes not less than 30% and we have to undertake specific measures in this direction to achieve this rate.

An amount of loans provided by national credit organizations in 2012 is increased by 3,4 times in comparison with 2006, their assets to 4,4 times, capital balance was extended six-fold, a size of small credits has been raised by six times and the volume of foreign investment increased four-fold.

Prevention of rise in inflation and conduct of flexible monetary and credit policy in compliance with tax and customs policy has allowed over the last 6-7 years to bring inflation rate down from 19,7% to 6,4%, that means three-fold shrinkage.

Although, back in 1995, inflation rate had been equaled to 1000% and the external public debt amounted 130% of the Gross Domestic Product and the inflation in the year of 2000 constituted nearly 61%.

Given the macro-economic situation, first of all, reduction of bank interest rates, revitalization of credit markets, reinforcement of currency and equity markets, effective pursuance of monetary and credit policy, upgrade in liquidity rate of economy and the increase of international reserves have played a pivotal role in this process.   

A volume of turnover in interbank currency market is increased 836 times during the last seven years and amount of exchange reserves is raised 4,3 times.

Today public fund of golden, metals and precious stones’ reserves consists of nearly 4 billion somoni, although there was absolutely no precious metals reserve in the state treasury till 1995. However, a volume of only gold reserves of the country at present accounts for more than 13 tones.

Along with this, it is necessary to continue reforms in the banking system of the country, and to reinforce a monitoring of banks and financial control with the view of a broad introduction of electronic services and transparency of operations.

It will contribute to the involvement of all business entities to economy, and will furthermore reduce shadow economy and curb corruption in society.   

Along with a pursuance of monetary, tax and budget policies it is also important to effectively carry out coherent and coordinated macro-economic policy.

At the same time, necessary measures should also be undertaken to increase a number of branches and subsidiary offices of credit organizations, to enlarge amount of loans, including long-term credits and to upgrade a quality of banking services throughout the country.

I’d like to note that particular attention has to be given to issues related to support of business entities and entrepreneurs from remote mountainous areas, especially those engaged in manufacturing business and as well as to increase a volume of preferential small-loans to those businesses in future.  

Distinguished audience!

It should be mentioned, that our ultimate goal is to create a life of dignity for every citizen of the country and we do strongly believe that we will step-by-step achieve this lofty objective.

In view of the fact that a population of the country will reach nearly 13 million people by 2030, GDP growth rate against this year will be increased by 3,5 times and its per-capita indicator will be raised two and half times.

Therefore, taking into account unstable, erratic economy of modern world, abatement of financial management mechanisms and a slackness of financial system in the world market, we need to take specific steps in order to ensure economic stability, and on that basis to improve the living standards of the people and increase medium-income segment of population.

I, in this connection, would like to reiterate that every citizen of the country should as patriot make a contribution to our shared commitment towards achievement of strategic goals and national priorities.

At the current stage of development and the time of long-term progress, this lofty objective will be successfully implemented in the following areas:

First, reinforcement and improvement of institutional and sectoral structure of the country’s economy

The fulfillment of this task will only be possible if we carry out modernization and the renovation of national economy’s sectors by comprehensive use of scientific and technological achievements, by industrial innovation and “know-how” and high intellectual power.  

Raw processing and manufacturing of final product in the real sectors of national economy, realization of sectoral programs in the promising fields of economy, not least in industry and agriculture, building and commissioning new manufacturing capacities with the use of cutting-edge technology are essential in this process.

Over 2200 new enterprises and factories are established and put in commission with 58 thousand jobs over the years of independence in the country in different areas, including in light industry, engineering, chemical industry, mineral and metals processing, construction materials and food industry.

If a volume of industrial production in the country in the year of 2000 was 1,4 billion somoni, then last year this indicator equaled 9,7 billion somoni.

In accordance with the resolution of the Government of Tajikistan, establishment of more than 200 new industrial factories worth of 4 billion somoni is scheduled in the mid-term period.

Consumers’ market of the country should first and foremost be supplied via continued and steadfast development of agricultural sector through an application of advanced technologies, processing factories capacity building, increase of water and land resources efficiency, seed farming sector development and livestock breeding.

We need to undertake more specific and drastic measures in order to provide the people of the country with agricultural products and in general with locally produced commodities.  

It has to be mentioned that we nowadays observe an abundance of food commodities in the consumers’ market of the country.

Analyzes and studies testify that real demand of the people for basic foodstuff in 2012, including for meat and meat products 80%, eggs 75%, grain crops and flour 50%, rice 80%, potato, and fruits and vegetables 100% was supplied mainly by domestically produced commodities.

However we still are not satisfied of such circumstance, since Tajikistan can supply foodstuff not only to its people, but it has enormous opportunities and potential to enhance an export of its agricultural products.  

Therefore, it is necessary to complete structural reforms as soon as possible, and in the mid-term period to bring agricultural sector’s engagement in compliance with the present-day requirements.

Furthermore, all-out and timely implementation of programs adopted by the Government of the country is one of the key tasks in a conduct of reforms in agricultural field and promotion of this sector.

It is at the same time important to devote an utmost attention to such issues as land ownership culture, use of high-quality seeds, reclamation of idle and derelict pieces of land for agricultural purposes, development of new irrigated lands, development of new gardens and vineyards, raising the level of crop yield and comprehensive introduction of two-time crops seeding system.

In this process, additional package of effective measures and firm steps should be undertaken and put in place with the aim of enlarging varieties and the volume of export commodities of the country and identification of new regional and world trade markets.

Allocation of 75 thousand hectares of land played a life-saving role. Given population growth factor, there is a need to increase domestic food products.

Principal objective in continuing transformations and realization of abovementioned actions is to bolster economic development, increase of new jobs, solution of social challenges, and improvement of the people’s well-being and intensification of fruitful, strong partnership relations with foreign countries.

That’s why, we are committed to continue our staunch and all-round cooperation with development partners and international financial institutions and organizations to reinvigorate reforms in diverse economic sectors, attract much more foreign investment and implement investment projects.

Republic of Tajikistan on March 2, 2013 has become the 159th full-fledged member-state of the World Trade Organization. It has thus concluded a long process of the country’s accession to authoritative international organizations and institutions.

Membership in this organization poses important tasks and commitments ahead of us.

First, we have to take most pro-active part in the work of the World Trade Organization and defend the interests of our country.

For that purpose we need highly-qualified experts in economics and skilled lawyers with a broad knowledge and high level of professionalism.

Alongside with this, integration of the country with international trading system motivates us all to continue improvement of legislation in the relevant fields in order to derive benefits of those enormous opportunities which this acknowledged organization has.

We to this end are preparing a program on bringing the country’s economy in compliance with a new condition.

It is important in this regard to establish Interdepartmental Commission in charge of an execution of this program at the earliest possible dates.

Second, rapid development of hydro-energy sector

Progress in this sector facilitates continued and steadfast development of national economy, remarkably strengthens overall economic potential of the country, and eventually, helps to address socio-economic needs and challenges.  

As I mentioned it several times, present and the future development of all sectors of national economy to a large extent depends on the utilization of a major wealth of the country, which is a hydro-power resource.   

As none of the nations in the world can develop and prosper without energy sector development and modern communication.

We therefore consider construction of hydro-power plants as the key for the elimination of socio-economic obstacles and the increase of export capability of the country.

Tajikistan has tremendous renewable hydro-energy and endless safe drinking water resources. Utilization of these resources would not only meet the needs of the people of our country, but will also serve the interests of entire region.

With this view in mind, only during the last seven years, nearly 12 billion somoni has been allocated for building new power-generating capacity, for renovation and rehabilitation of existing capabilities and for the development of energy sector at large.

For the time being, 10 investment projects worth nearly 6 billion somoni are currently being implemented in the energy sector of the country.

It should be emphasized, that hydro-power plants’ dams and water reservoirs regulate seasonal process of water flowage in the rivers, and play an important role in a prevention of natural disasters, like mudflow and floods, and in a mitigation of an adverse effect of drought years.

A sum of more than 400 million somoni was assigned for these purposes over the last seven years.  

Likewise, laying high-voltage power transmission lines and construction of oil and gas pipelines will notably upgrade economic and transit significance of the country.

In recent years, based on plans of actions and strategic measures, such crucial energy projects, as “Sangtuda-1” HPP, power transmission lines “South – North” and “Lolazor – Khatlon”, Tajikistan – Afghanistan power transmission line, restoration works in “Roghun” hydro-power dam, reconstruction and renovation of operating facilities of “Nurek”, “Kayrakkum”, “Sarband”, “Pamir” and “Varzob” hydro-power stations are under implementation by means of domestic and foreign investments.

Along with these projects, we now with our development partners, including with the World Bank are continuing the feasibility study of “Roghun” Dam project, as well as work on the implementation of international power transmission line project called “CASA-1000”.

“Sangtuda-2” hydro-power plant will be put in commission in the first half of the year and construction of the first phase of heat electro-power station “Dushanbe-2” with the capacity of 50 megawatt will be completed by the end of this year.

As a result of construction of small and medium-scale hydro-power stations and the reconstruction and renovation of existing power-generating capacities over the past ten years, energy capability of the country has been grown by one thousand megawatt.

More than that, construction of high-voltage power transmission line “South – North” has enabled to establish an integrated power grid network in Tajikistan.

A reform in a production and power transmission system is one of the critical issues.

Pursuance of such reform would improve financial situation of energy sector and will bring an activity of all its branches in compliance with market economy principles.

Complete satisfaction of the country’s need for energy and heating in autumn and winter seasons by means of restoration of existing capacities and utilization of alternative sources of energy production and an application of new facilities, as well as through conduct of efficient energy – saving policy, power loss reduction, engineering and building of heat electro-power stations, and on that basis ensuring energy independence is among our primary tasks which we need to carry on.  

Third, continuation of economic reforms and sustainable development of regions of the country

Successful introduction of reforms in a majority of sectors over the years of independence has facilitated systematic, smooth socio-economic growth of the country.

Taking into account the national interests, development and an overall growth of cities and districts is one of the ways which determines economic policy of the country.

Therefore, it is necessary within implementation of national strategy papers to elaborate and exercise inclusive programs on socio-economic development of regions.

During the years of independence, special priority is accorded to rural areas development and a great number of public investment projects implemented in the fields of energy, transport, road-building, agriculture, water-supply, education and health care sectors in all cities and rural districts of the country clearly indicate its importance.

42,5 billion somoni has been assigned so far for these purposes, 82% of which was allotted from the public budget.

To date, almost 90% of state investment projects are being implemented within the scales of cities and districts of the country.

Notable amount of funds was allocated for the development of cities and districts over this period of time, including 4,8 billion somoni to Badakhshan Mountainous Autonomous Region, 10,7 billion somoni to Khatlon region, 12 billion somoni to Sughd region, 7 billion somoni to Dushanbe city and 8 billion somoni to districts of republican subordination. 

Nonetheless, it is quite important to draft programs on socio-economic development of cities and districts given the necessity of most effective and purposeful use of all reserves and opportunities in these directions.

With the view of raising a responsibility of heads of public authorities towards support and development of private sector, necessary measures should be undertaken at the level of state local executive bodies. This step would create friendly environment for the most efficient use of untapped opportunities in an employment of a population and thus will foster the improvement of the living standards of the people residing in cities and districts throughout the country.

Allocation of labor force and the natural growth of a population in cities and rural areas of the country urge us to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs every year.

In this regard, specific measures and concrete actions should be undertaken for the establishment of new manufacturing enterprises, introduction of state-of-the-art technologies and the creation of new jobs by means of domestic and foreign investments.  

Fourth, conduct of effective financial policy

The Government of the country has to further take necessary actions to concentrate financial policy on the prevention of an impact of external factors to the national economy, specifically towards fluctuation in prices for raw and commodities and food in the world market, as well as on increase of productive efficiency and deepening of international financial relationship.

In this respect, budget funds should effectively be used given a transition to a system of public service financing based on government orders and principles of targeted and per capita financing, transition to a modern way of public investment and timely implementation of mid-term and long-term programs funded by public budget.

Moreover, series of necessary and effective measures should also be initiated with the view of reinvigorating a quality of management and the effectiveness of state assets, further promotion of inter-budgetary connections based on the principles of the fulfillment of obligations among its stakeholders, raising a competence of state local authorities on budget execution and financing commitments which they have taken.

We have to conduct budget policy as one of the most important tools which regulates macro-economic indices and secures economic growth balance, maintains a sustainability of the role of a budget in economic progress and in improvement of the living standards of the people.

Fifth, attraction of large investments and steady growth of entrepreneurship as priority guideline of the country’s development

Constructive works today are in process in the country in a rapid pace. A volume of domestic investments in this direction from only public budget has been grown from 231 million somoni in 2006 up to 2,3 billion somoni in 2013, which indicates ten-fold increase.  

During the past seven years, particular attention has been given to the development of cities and districts of the country, where many thousands of social and economic enterprises worth over 10 billion somoni only from the state budget funds were built and brought into operation.

If 33 investment projects worth 409 million somoni have been implemented in 2006 jointly with international financial institutions, however today 60 state investment projects with the total amount of nearly 10 billion somoni to be realized in the country.       

An aggregate volume of foreign investment to our national economy during the years of 2006 – 2012 accounted for more than 20 billion somoni.

Tourism sector is essential in a promotion of foreign investments to an even greater degree, since Tajikistan has immense opportunities in this field which are clearly obvious by a huge number of historic sites and cultural relics, unique health resorts and recreational facilities, mountaineering and other breathtaking, impressive sites gifted by nature.   

Learning the experience of other nations shows that tourism sector development as one of the sources of enlargement of the people’s income and a state budget revenue and creation of new jobs, remarkably contributes to the socio-economic prosperity of the country. 

We need to create favorable conditions and friendly environment for investors and tourists, propose attractive, promising projects for fruitful cooperation and foster high standard services.

Over the past seven years, auspicious conditions were created in a private sector engagement for private entrepreneurship development, primarily for manufacturing business.

Measures and actions carried out over this period of time, particularly legalization of property and assets of citizens, declaration of moratorium on inspection of business entities and manufacturing enterprises, licensing system reform, intensification of public-private partnership and adoption of State Entrepreneurship Support Program for 2012 – 2020 have given a powerful impetus to business and investment development.

As part of an execution of instructions given at the last year’s annual address, Tax code in a new edition came into force on January 1, this year.

This policy in a mid-term prospective, along with guaranteeing budget revenue, will also facilitate progressive transformation of the national economy, investment growth, introduction of cutting-edge technologies, establishment of new enterprises and factories, creation of thousands of extra jobs and the increase of export capability of the country.

In this connection, more than 240 privileges and preferences are enshrined at the new Tax code of the country essentially for entrepreneurial activity, production of goods and services, establishment of modern manufacturing enterprises and for agricultural farms.

A total sum of preferences only this year will constitute 3,6 billion somoni.

It means that this amount of money will not be injected to the public budget, but will be mobilized at the accounts of enterprises for their financial and economic activity.

By 2017, high-way user tax will be entirely revoked and the income tax rate will be reduced by two percentage points.

Along with this, it should be noted, that some of the regulations of Tax code still need to be thoroughly reviewed and relevant agencies and bodies concerned should undertake necessary actions to revamp and improve those regulations.

Only last year, by means of existing opportunities and conditions created in the country, local entrepreneurs and business community have built and brought into operation 332 new manufacturing enterprises.

209 industrial companies and factories with 8 thousand new jobs will be established and brought into operation in the country in 2013. Out of this estimation, 79 manufacturing enterprises with nearly 1400 new jobs are already created over period of three months of this year.

Over 1600 new industrial factories and 50 thousand new jobs, including mining and raw processing enterprises were built and commissioned during the past seven years. And this process should be accelerated.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to mobilize to even greater extent unused opportunities for the start-up of new manufacturing facilities, production of competitive and export-oriented commodities and for domestic raw materials deep processing inside the country.

Establishment of Entrepreneurship Support Fund will beyond doubt facilitate continued progress and help to create new jobs and raise export capability of the country and on that basis would contribute to achievement of national goals of the country.

The time has become to improve and increase the effectiveness of operations of all financing institutions aimed at business and entrepreneurship support through this Fund, in order to reinvigorate the Fund’s activity and monitor targeted use of money allotted from budget.

Thereupon, transparency and the effectiveness of grants and public funds which are assigned to support entrepreneurial activity and business should be guaranteed and further bold actions have to be taken to raise additional funds from other sources.

Sixth, enhancement of communication facilities of the country

Tajikistan has recently got rid of an inland communication deadlock thanks to inauguration of “Shahriston” road tunnel and has become an integrated country.

It is now important to undertake measures and explore an outlet to the sea and commercial ports.

23 public – funded investment projects worth nearly 3,2 billion somoni have been realized throughout the country over the last ten years for the purpose of breaking a communication isolation and opening routes to world maritime ports.

As a result of an implementation of these projects and actions undertaken in this direction, 1650 kilometers of motor-roads were built and renovated, as well as 109 bridges and 27 kilometers of tunnels have been constructed and brought into operation.  

11 government investment projects totaling 5,5 billion somoni are presently being implemented in the field of transport.

Reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads continue, as well as construction and restoration of Ayni-Panjakent-Tursunzoda-Dushanbe highway, Kulob-Qalai Khumb, construction of a modern terminal at Dushanbe International Airport and the railway line Dushanbe – Kurgantube  (Vahdat – Yovon section) and Kurgantube-Nizhniy Panj should be carried out by 2015.

In addition, construction of alternative roads requires that the Government of the country should expand a scope of economic integration and take necessary measures in the framework of regional organizations to integrate with international communication networks and form new networks which would meet modern standards.

To this end, we continue taking necessary, effective measures related to the implementation of the railway project Tajikistan – Turkmenistan – Afghanistan which may become an important factor in the economic development of Tajikistan and other countries of the region.

A Memorandum of Understanding on Construction of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan Railway was signed on the 21st of March this year, during the visit of the President of the country to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan for the participation in the International Navruz Festival.

The transformations are also implemented in the field of civil aviation, as well as space for free competition and the market for air services for both domestic and foreign airlines is created in the country.

Now we need to continuously take measures to strengthen material and technical base of domestic airlines, to ensure flight safety, and improve the quality of service and competitiveness of domestic companies.

In 2011, the Government has adopted a Targeted Program of Transport Sector Development of the Republic of Tajikistan until 2025. According to this program, more than four thousand kilometers of roads and 576 bridges in the amount of 4,4 billion somoni should be constructed and renovated.

At the present stage of development, it is necessary to create congenial infrastructure, well-equipped border check-points and logistic services in order to further enhance and reinvigorate cross-border trade. 

Seventh, strengthening coordination system of development policy with the aim of increase of good governance effectiveness

This subject is among the most important issues which, first of all depends on continued growth of the national economy via improving the efficiency of public administration by ensuring transparency, accountability and the improvement of public office work.

That is why public administration structure is prone to a systematic improvement in recent years.

At present, one of the major tasks we are faced with is the most widespread introduction of office-work by means of "electronic government" principles and the increase of an accountability level of public officials.

Training, selection and the assignment of qualified and professional personnel in public administration is amongst the key issues which would help to promote an effective policy for the selection of management staff and improve the performance of public tasks.

In this regard, it is necessary to notably improve the skills of civil service staff through introducing new principles of selection and increase a level of their training in order to build professional management personnel who will be dedicated and prepared to devotedly serve the people and the homeland.

The main criteria in the course of selection process and assignment should include high professional level, extensive contemporary knowledge, good knowledge of official language, foreign languages ​​and modern technology, the high degree of responsibility and patriotism, honesty, and intolerance towards corruption and corrupt practices.

Establishing high-quality public services is one of the most important tasks of the civil service system, and its implementation could help to regulate a wide spectrum of socio-economic issues through the effective functioning of professional, highly-qualified civil servants and strict maintenance of production discipline.

The level and quality of public services, their accessibility and transparency should be brought into line with the requirements of the day and meet expectations and the needs of the people.

As a result, civil society and the private sector will be more actively involved in a development and adoption of strategic decisions those aiming at national economy’s progress, thus increase their incentive and confidence to government administrative bodies. And this factor, in turn, will be one of the tools for improving the living standards of the people.

 

Distinguished members of Majlisi milli and deputies of Majlisi namondagon!

In a very complex, challenging world and rapid changes of recent years, our primary goal is to improve and revitalize the activities of all government agencies and authorities, ensure sustainable socio-economic development and create life of dignity for every member of society.

To achieve this lofty goal, our most important task is to educate well-versed and patriotic people with high social responsibility, with advanced knowledge and vision and, finally, the individual who has the ability to grasp the complex processes of contemporary world.

We therefore have announced a process of training and education as a priority of social policy and are taking all necessary measures in this direction.

The first stage of training and education, which is a long process, is inseparably linked with the activities of pre-school institutions.

However, it should be noted that, despite continued and massive efforts of the Tajik Government to promote new and alternative forms of pre-school education centers such as children skills development centers, home day-care centers, and etc., today merely 10% of preschool children are covered by this level of training.

From this point of view, it is necessary to make good use of all means and possibilities and to consistently take measures for the construction of nursery and daycare facilities and enroll greater number of children in these institutions.

Another step in the formation of the personality of children and adolescents are secondary educational institutions. And the Government of the country is taking all necessary measures in this direction as well.

One of the most important issues is the training of the workforce in compliance with the requirements of internal and external labor market.

Considering the importance of this issue, we since 2010 have announced primary and secondary vocational education as priority.

During this period of time, State Program of Personnel Training and Skills Development Institutions was adopted and curricula and programs of such institutions were revised.

Today we need to seriously improve material and technical base and develop human resources of these institutions and taking into account that the requirements of internal and external labor market are constantly changing, to take timely and effective measures in this direction.

Analyses show that in recent years, thousands of graduates of vocational high schools remained unemployed, and are partially engaged in activities which are not appropriate to their specialties and qualifications.

Thousands of lawyers and economists are prepared every year in our universities and institutions, although, our country today desperately needs engineers, constructors, power engineering specialists, technologists, programming experts and highly qualified doctors.

According to statistics, during the period 2008-2012, 9,300 people have graduated from colleges and high educational institutions of the country as lawyers and more than 40 thousand have graduated from various economic departments and specialties.

Therefore, with the view of ensuring the real needs of various sectors of the national economy for qualified specialists with an advanced knowledge and international skills there is a necessity to prepare a roadmap of training of personnel in the universities of the country and abroad.

At the same time necessary measures should also be undertaken in order within short span of time to bring curricula of high educational institutions of the country in full compliance with modern requirements. Health-care sector of the country is in the spotlight of continuous attention of the Government.

More than 900 million somoni is to be allotted for the health sector financing this year, which indicates increase by 47 times against a volume of financing of this sector in the year of 2000. A salary of health care sector personnel in the last 7 years has increased 12 times.

In order to protect public health, the state and the government of the country will continue in future taking necessary steps to establish an even better performance of activity by health care institutions.

In addition to that, I’d like to stress, that the Government of the country, including the Ministry of health have to be in charge of effective implementation of the National Health Care Strategy of the Republic of Tajikistan for 2010-2020 and other programs adopted and endorsed by the government, construction of new health facilities, rehabilitation and renovation of existing facilities and provision of modern medical equipment, improvement of the level and quality of public health care services, continued promotion of healthy life-style and training of skillful personnel.

Distinguished members of Parliament,

With the view of addressing the challenges youth and adolescents are facing with, the Tajik Government has been taking all necessary measures since very beginning of independence to the present day.

Since healthy and professionally trained young people are the successors of the elder generation, they are a creative force and the real, powerful engine of social progress and they in fact are a future of the nation and the state.

At the same time, young people are now facing the problems, resolution of which in the era of globalization requires in-depth knowledge of our young generation, modern outlook and most importantly, high sense of national self-awareness, self-knowledge and genuine love for their homeland.

In May, on the occasion of the Youth Day we intend to meet with the representatives of the young generation of the country and exchange views upon pressing issues they face and, discuss their duties for the further stages of the country’s development.

During a meeting with representatives of women which was arranged in honor of Mother’s Day, appropriate instructions were given to ministries and departments concerned on a comprehensive support of women's initiatives undertaken by the State and the Government of Tajikistan, as well as further improvement of their social position and the role in society.

I remind that timely execution of those commitments will cause an even greater mobilization of women and girls into public life, will facilitate the progress of society and increase their contribution to the development process of the country.

And I now would like to express my view upon one of the most important issues related to the social protection of the population.

Today Tajikistan is taking decisive steps in order to realize strategic objectives aimed at improving the living standards of the people. In this process, the issue of social protection of the population remains one of the priorities of the Government.

According to the Constitution, Republic of Tajikistan is a social state.

Therefore, the Government of Tajikistan always fulfills its obligations regarding social protection of orphans, homeless children, disabled and low-income people.

If in 2006, the various forms of assistance from the state budget to this segment of population have been amounted 85 million somoni, however this indicator in 2013 reached 170 million somoni. It means that this indicator has doubled in the last 7 years.

In addition to other kinds of concerns for orphan children, who are under the government’s full support and assistance, an amount of 100% of minimum wage rate that is 105 somoni is paid as monthly pension to the deposit account of those children in State Savings Bank “Amonatbonk”.      

Now 3,300 children who have neither father nor mother, as well as 102,000 children without either father or mother are registered in the country.

According to statistics of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population, 180 thousand indigent families are registered in the country so far.

Over the past 4 years, public authorities, businesses and individual entrepreneurs sponsored a conduct of traditional ceremonies of 48,000 children and the wedding parties of 2,800 couples of young people from low-income families. That is because of these good deeds more than 300 thousand households received material and moral support.

I express my profound gratitude and deep appreciation to all honest and noble people, generous businessmen for their kindness and compassion who regularly provide assistance to orphans, and homeless, disabled, and indigent families.

We need to improve regulatory act and simplify procedure of adoption of orphaned and homeless children. It will help to eradicate a heinous phenomenon of trafficking in human beings.

The Tajik Government, despite an impact of global financial crisis and economic slowdown is undertaking all measures to completely fulfill its social commitments.

An implementation of a new order of targeted social benefits assistance to under-privileged families is among the most crucial subjects and aims to improve and increase a transparency of a system of payment of social benefits assistance to poor families.

The population of Tajikistan is growing year after year, and as I mentioned, based on prospective estimations, population of the country will reach 10 million by 2020.

Thereupon, creation of new jobs is one of the major issues of further development of the national economy of the country. In this direction, there almost 100 thousand new jobs were created in budget-funded organizations and enterprises over the last seven years. 

However, it should be noted that, despite steadfast development of the national economy and undertaking of the necessary measures, the number of economically active population in the labor market in recent years, remains invariable and for the time being, it accounts for 50% of able-bodied population.

Governors of regions, mayors of cities and chairpersons of districts are instructed to undertake necessary measures to create new jobs.

A process of creating new jobs is also behind the accelerated and natural growth of the population and labor force, and domestic labor market today is not able to provide job seekers with full-time jobs.

Nearly 150 thousand graduates of secondary and vocational schools come into the labor market every year and today seven job applicants apply for one vacant position registered at the state employment agency.

Therefore, creation of new jobs and assignment of decent wages today has become one of the most primary duties.

Nowadays, over 1 million and 700 thousand pupils are enrolled in primary and secondary comprehensive schools in the country. According to estimations, spending for the purchase of school uniforms accounts for 1 billion somoni every year.

If we establish manufacturing of school uniforms inside the country, then we create 68 thousand jobs and will keep this amount of money in the country. 

I reaffirm that this issue is under the perpetual supervision of the Head of State. Along with creation of new jobs, particular attention should also be given to the aspects of vocational training, especially to the improvement of a system of professional development and revitalization of adults’ vocational training centers.

First and foremost, we must improve a quality of education in order to secure the skills of graduates of vocational training institutions meet the requirements of the modern labor market.

Dear compatriots!

We still are in the beginning of the path towards building a democratic and constitutional state and formation of civil society. Historical experience of developed countries shows that building such state is a long and protracted process.

Although it took a bit of time from the date we have gained our national independence, however, we are witnessing an expansion of the process of political pluralism, the accelerated development of activities of political parties and the various institutions of civil society in our country and in this direction, Tajik State and Government have created suitable conditions for their freedom of action.

That is, we within a relatively short period of time, were able by means of the Constitution and other regulatory acts and legal instruments to declare and provide the fundamental norms of a democratic state, including the basis of democratic state system, its secular and social essence, the sanctity of human rights and freedoms, political pluralism, establish professional parliament, guarantee legal justice and equality before the law and freedom of conscience.

It is reflected in the Constitution of our country that an ideology of any party, public or religious association, movement or group cannot be recognized as a state ideology.

Naturally, each party in accordance with its program of actions has its own specific political and ideological stand. However, in the current circumstances it is necessary that all political parties and public associations consider supreme national interests and values ​​such as national independence, territorial integrity, social stability, national unity and solidarity of all citizens of the country as sacred and strive for protection and promotion of these values.

I reiterate that political parties and other social institutions should be an example of respect and rigid adherence to the laws of democratic state and they should play a role of a school for raising political and legal awareness of the people.

The people in Tajikistan had not yet forgotten dire and horrible consequences of a violation of the Constitution and laws in the country in the years of 1991 – 1992.

As you know, there is an important political campaign this year in our country – the election of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan.

The elections are the most important phenomenon of democracy, an important political event, and the results of these elections will determine the further development of the country.

The Constitution and the legislation of our country, along with the guarantee of political rights and freedoms of citizens, create a favorable legal framework for the conduct of democratic and transparent elections and ensure free participation of people in the political life and public administration.

Precisely for this reason, guarantee of voluntary expression of will by the people during the elections is one of the priorities of a democratization of society in Tajikistan.

Our legislation guarantees that friendly and free atmosphere and equal opportunities should be brought in among the subjects of the electoral process and participants of this important political campaign for constructive debates and dialogues, for productive discussions and for manifestation of their goals and programs.

This work should be well organized in such manner and way that citizens, first of all, be aware of their legal rights, feel their own active participation in this political campaign and recognize the responsibility for the implementation of their constitutional rights.

On this basis, political parties and other participants of elections should organize and put in place their activities exclusively within the Constitution and legislation of the country.

With this view in mind, the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda, as well as all stakeholders in the electoral process during the preparation and conduct of elections should be guided by the regulations of acting legislation of the country and have to also take necessary and drastic measures to establish a better work of electoral commissions, to ensure well-organized, transparent, democratic and free elections.

We as always are strong supporters of a transparent and open election campaigns, and I, as a guarantor of the Constitution, laws, rights and freedoms of citizens, with full responsibility and deep confidence guarantee that the forthcoming elections will be held democratically, freely and fairly.

Distinguished members of Majlisi milli and deputies of Majlisi namoyandagon!

Republic of Tajikistan since the early days of its formation as a democratic, legal and secular state has reflected in the Constitution and other laws the principles of humanism, free life and activity of people and is continuously making efforts to embody these principles in life.

The law, first of all, must recognize and protect the human rights and freedoms as the supreme value.

It means that, it should create favorable conditions for a life of dignity of the people, for efficient activity of public and private organizations and businesses, entrepreneurs and businessmen, for the promotion of economy, for the lasting peace and security, political stability, and comprehensively regulate diverse areas of social life.

The law-making authority of the country and the entities of legislative initiative are undertaking massive works every year to improve the legislation and legislative activity. There is a need to further enhance law-making activity of the Parliament.

With the view to improve the protection of social interests of citizens and to set additional guarantees for the protection of labor and housing, there is a need to prepare and endorse the Labor Code and Housing Code in new editions.

Likewise, in order to bring a regulation system of social relations in compliance with the modern requirements, the Government of Tajikistan has to draft and submit Civil and the Criminal Codes in new editions.

Another pressing issue which needs to be finally decided is a question of treatment of a death penalty. As you know, Tajikistan has suspended an execution of a death sentence since June 2004.

Indeed, human life is the basis of being and a precious gift. The deprivation of life means a termination of existence of mankind, of individual and of member of society.

In human civilization, non-use of the death penalty by state, first of all, is recognized as a sign of humanity, compassion and progress of society.

From this point of view, it is right time that this issue to be reviewed by relevant authorities and parties concerned, taking into account public opinion, and based on its results submit proposals in order to determine position of the state with regard to a death sentence.

Fight against corruption remains one of the most important issues of the agenda.

Corruption hinders the progress of economy, weakens the foundations of democratic society and inflicts a negative impact on the development of democracy.

Moreover, corruption in society creates the preconditions for non-compliance with the constitutional rights of citizens and is detrimental to the basics of morality.

Therefore, we have identified prevention of corruption and the fight against corrupt practices, as priority guidelines of legal policy of the state, and have strengthened our engagement in this direction over the past few years.

For example, the Presidential Decree "On additional measures on reinforcement of the fight against corruption" and the Anti-Corruption Strategy for the five-year term have been adopted and implemented.

A great number of organizational, economic and legal measures of countering corruption have been undertaken in accordance with the above-mentioned instruments.

For instance, a National Council on Fight against Corruption was established with the view of promoting cooperation between the government agencies and civil society in preclude of corruption.

The process of an implementation of interdepartmental programs aimed at prevention of corruption still continues in the ministries, departments and state local executive bodies.

For this purpose, reshuffle of civil servants has taken place in these departments, special divisions on prevention of corruption offenses have been established and special training programs for the preclude of corrupt practices were implemented.

We have established Chamber of Accounts with the view of promoting efficient, thrifty, and targeted use of budgetary funds.

I am confident that the senior management and staff of this Chamber will help significantly to detect and stave off corrupt practices.

Law on anti-corruption expertise of legal acts has been enacted and draft laws on an abolishment of immunity of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and deputies of local councils are prepared which are now under consideration.

I wish to emphasize that prevention of corruption and the fight against corrupt practices will continue to be a fulcrum in the legal policy of the state.

To this end, the Agency for State Financial Control and Fight against Corruption, Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor General's Office, Chamber of Accounts and other stakeholders in charge of fighting corruption are liable to develop and present a new strategy for the prevention of corruption and the fight against corrupt practices for the period of next 8 years.

I would like to stress that terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and in general, transnational organized crime have been transformed into a serious threat and caused concerns of the international community.

We have proclaimed fight against drug trafficking as a primary direction of our policy. With the view of increasing the effectiveness of our struggle, a Presidential decree on National Counter-Narcotics Strategy of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period of 2013 – 2020 has been approved.  

Ministries and agencies concerned have to regularly take actions towards appropriate assignment of personnel and upgrade a level of their training, stimulate their sense of responsibility and put them on alert.

Actually, it is impossible to imagine a process of evolution of any modern state without the effectiveness of the judiciary system, which is a key element of a social justice.

Such circumstance urges us all to continue carrying out reforms to improve the structure and further develop judicial authorities.

I, at the same time, reaffirm the necessity of compulsory observance of laws “On the regulation of traditions, ceremonials and rites of the Republic of Tajikistan” and “On parental responsibilities in education and upbringing of children”. 

Dear compatriots!

The foreign policy of the Republic of Tajikistan since the very beginning of independence to the present day has been and remains as one of the most important means of an introduction of our country as a state, pursuing "open doors" policy on the international arena, and we will further carry on such policy in conformity with our national interests.

All of you, those are present and all the people of the country know that during an inauguration of the new building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I have met with Tajik diplomatic staff and expressed my view explicitly in details on the major directions of the foreign policy of the Republic of Tajikistan and its future objectives and I think there is no need today to repeat these objectives again.

In order to protect our national independence and ensure continued strong socio-economic development of the country, all of us are entrusted with objective to elaborate and pursue a public policy of our state, taking into account national interests, the real opportunities and resources, experience of national statehood and in accordance with generally accepted international norms and principles.

I in this regard, would like to reiterate my points of view on objectives and guidelines of the current stage of development of our statehood.

Our first and primary goal is to protect and strengthen the national statehood.

Protection of this great achievement, that is, defend of the national state and statehood, strengthening the pillars of the state, particularly in complex and intricate terms of recent years, in terms of daily complication of geopolitical situation in the region and the world, in a condition of escalation of rivalry and conflicts of interests of superpowers, and weakening of independence of the national states under the influence of globalization is gaining in momentum.

From this point of view, it is a major human task and duty in conscience of each of us to be mindful of protection of state and statehood, and remain vigilant in ensuring national security, maintaining stability and promoting endurable peace in the country.

Our second goal is to awaken and strengthen national identity and self-consciousness, foster a sense of patriotism of the people and raise political and legal awareness of the population, not least of adolescents and young generation.

Since, each of us is witnessing such developments in recent years, when some of the parties of international community have brought political and social processes of some countries to the destructive path and an impasse using mass-media and by means of skilful use of unawareness of the people, especially certain groups of young generation.

The people should independently and properly understand and accept the nature of internal and external political processes, to comprehend selfish objectives of alien forces and familiarize with the goals of plan of actions and programs of their own state.

Our community has to clearly understand that the strategic goal of the State and the Government of Tajikistan is to improve the standard of living and the welfare of the people by strengthening the national independence.

Our third goal includes bringing together and to consolidate all groups and segments of society in the country around the idea of “free and independent Tajikistan – our beloved homeland”.

In my opinion, it is this idea ​​being a connecting point and cohesive element of all the people of Tajikistan, regardless of nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion and political positions, at the same time can be considered as the most effective tool of our shared goal in protecting free and independent Tajikistan.

The fourth objective is to promote a culture of peace and reinforcement of an idea of ​​unity and national reconciliation as an invaluable and unique achievement of the Tajik people.

The Tajik people has achieved peace and reconciliation at the cost of great suffering, sacrifices and unquenchable desire to lasting peace, most importantly, it has attained it at the cost of tens of thousands of victims of civil war which was imposed on our people.

Today people are grateful that it lives and works in an atmosphere of political stability and social peace.

Therefore, we need to strengthen a peace-loving culture of the people as an essential component of living culture in order to educate and up-bring the younger generation in the spirit of patriotism, peace and creation, and to leave this sacred and rare achievement as a legacy for generations to come.

The fifth objective covers the aspects of activities of all government institutions and agencies, and the duties of each of us in addressing the challenges which the young generation faces with.

In pursuit of this goal, we must, first of all, create a favorable, solid framework and embody opportunities for improving the conditions of spiritual and ethical development, training and work of the young people.

In this process, we need to educate the younger generation the feelings of high national consciousness, sense of identity and patriotism, good behavior, respect for parents and elders, patience and tolerance, the study of science and knowledge of modern professions, diligence and adherence to the rule of law, so that they in future as our worthy children may continue the work of the present generation and represent our beloved homeland to the global community.

The sixth goal is to protect the national mentality and promote the supreme values ​​of our ancient people in the context of globalization.

The globalization process, along with its positive aspects, today has put humanity in the face of assimilation and the clash of values ​​and variety of cultures. We as ancient and civilized nation in no way confront mutual understanding of different cultures and civilizations.

On the contrary, we support dialogue of civilizations and the use of scientific discoveries and cultural achievements of the peoples of the West and the East in order to strengthen the secular system of our own state.

It is of recognizing this reality, our national culture, values ​​and mentality need the full support of people and the state.

The seventh goal is honoring and respect of the official language that is a beautiful, elegant, sweet and poetic Tajik language.

For, the Tajik language, along with our other national shrine is a symbol of nationhood, national identity and guarantor of the existence of the world-famous culture and the pride of all Tajik people.

Our language has always played a pivotal role in a sensitive and determining period of the history of our nation and has preserved the legacy of our glorious ancestors from the whirlpool of tragic events of the Middle Ages to the present day.

We therefore have implemented a series of effective measures during the years of independence to revive the status and strengthen our national language.

In addition, we have repeatedly stated that knowledge of other languages, not least Russian and English, for our teenagers and young people is a real need of the present time.

However, this trend should not cause a penetration of needless alien elements into the elegant and magnificent Tajik language. We in this connection will implement in future all necessary measures towards the protection, respect and preservation of purity and strength of the state language.

I take this opportunity to draw your attention to another pressing issue.

As you know, patriotism, self-knowledge, identity and national pride, above all, mean honoring and protection of the nation's history, our traditions and national customs. No nation and no country could preserve its essence and identity without these values. It will gradually be eroded in the maelstrom of history if it ignores historic values and national traditions.

We – the Tajiks have an ancient history and rich culture and proud of this priceless national treasure.

However, unfortunately, there are people who either because of lack of awareness or consciously using the spaces of mass media ignore or cast doubt on our national customs and traditions.

For example, on the threshold of Navruz Day some people of groups claimed that this holiday is alien to our people and Islam does not allow celebrate Navruz.

This is an absolutely wrong opinion and baseless judgment, and it poses a serious threat to the process of national self-consciousness in the spirit of which we intend to educate young generation.

Navruz is a holy celebration and blessed holiday of the Tajiks and all the Aryan peoples. Our ancestors in the most difficult epochs of the history defended its good traditions and rituals.

In fact, Navruz is a holiday, which relies on the space system, in other words, it is a time of convergence of minutes and hours, when the system reaches the highest cosmic equilibrium and this festival is a symbol of the awakening of nature, a symbol of triumph of good over evil.

This great discovery, which is a product of intelligence and observation of our wise ancestors, has emerged more than six thousand years ago.

This benign and creative idea has appeared three thousand years earlier than the emergence of Zoroastrianism and four and half thousand years before the holy religion of Islam.

According to historical sources, even in those ancient times, Navruz used to be celebrated in 23 countries.

Deeply recognizing this obvious truth, glorious and noble sons of the nation selflessly fought for the preservation of Navruz and have protected its mission to date.

One of those man of wisdom was a great Islamic lawyer and theologian Imam A’zam, who from a religious point of view, proved that traditions and ceremonials of Navruz do not contradict Islam and its canons, thereby giving traditions of Navruz legal ground and eternal life.

We therefore always declare with confidence that Navruz is not affiliated with any religion and at the same time does not collide with any religion or persuasion.

In connection with this subject, I wish to remind yet another point.

National independence has brought an opportunity for religious organizations and associations to establish their activities and relationship with the state within legal boundaries.

We later endeavored to engage in bilateral and multilateral cooperation with all international world-known Islamic organizations and aspired to have a voice as a full-fledged member of these organizations.

We in particular have established fruitful cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank and fostered relations with the Islamic countries, which are now benefiting many areas of our national economy.

It should also be recalled that only 17 mosques were functioning in Tajikistan during the 70 years of Soviet era.

Today nearly 4000 mosques are registered officially in our country and Tajikistan has the highest number of mosques per capita among the Central Asian states.

Another example is that a total number of 30 citizens of our country made a pilgrimage (hajj) over the years of Soviet time, however during the 20 years of national independence, more than 200,000 of our citizens have had chance to make a pilgrimage to the holy Kaaba.

In addition, we, along with worship of the highest historical and cultural values, attach great importance to our religious values as well.

In particular, the holy Qur’an was published four times in a literary Tajik language and has been for free distributed to the people of the country.

The books “Saheh” by Imam Bukhari, “Tafsiri Tabari” and “Kimiyoi Saodat” by Imam Muhammad Ghazzoli, translation of “Musnad” by Imam Abu Hanifa, “Hidoyai Sharif” by alloma Margheloni and dozens of other religious books, were published at the expense of public budget which have contributed to raising religious knowledge of our fellow-citizens.

Notably, commemoration of the 1310th anniversary of the founder of the Hanafi mazhab Imam A’zam at the high political and cultural level has expanded religious thinking of our Sunni society and increased the authority and the image of Tajikistan in the Islamic world. 

Today we have Committee for Religious Affairs, Islamic University and established Islamic Studies Center under the President of the country.

Now, owing to our national independence we have created all necessary conditions for the people of our country under the law so that they can freely worship and perform their religious rites.

I at the same time would like to emphasize that the way we have chosen is aimed at building a secular, legal and democratic state. It is set forth by the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan and will remain invariable.

In other words, we, along with honoring our national values, revere secular universal values, and give an unwavering and consistent support to democratic processes.

Freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and pluralism, which are the basic elements of a democratic state should be implemented within the boundaries of legislation, and in no way should undermine stability of the country.

Unfortunately, there are some groups in the Islamic world, whose actions are aimed at incitement and provocation and separatism.

This is contrary to the essence of holy Islam and defames our religion.

We need to be aware of it and avoid any instigations and subversions in society.

Since, for us, genuine peace and stability, mutual understanding, and kind and noble deeds are of paramount importance.

Along with this, protection of national and state interests, recognition of interests and the priorities of the state and the nation above all other interests, continuously strive for the benefit of strengthening the foundations of an independent nation, protection of the independence of homeland, peace and social stability, security of the state and people and the national unity as an invaluable heritage, as well as strengthening of the economic power of the state is a duty of conscience and faith of all of us – members of the Government, deputies, senior leadership and staff of departments, agencies and organizations, civil servants and, in general, it is a human duty of the whole people of Tajikistan.

All of us are entrusted with a task, with a sense of gratitude for the sovereignty and independence of the country to lead and guide laborious, creative, culture-generating and glorious Tajik people towards creation, development and even greater progress of the land of our ancestors, our homeland – Tajikistan.

We know that there are still a mass of unresolved challenges in the life of our people and the country.

But I do firmly believe on a strong will, benign intentions and eternal wisdom of the glorious Tajik people and I declare with confidence that we – the sons of this sacred and ancient land, will eliminate all the difficulties and challenges in the next few years, and will transform Tajikistan to a flourishing and prosperous land and will ensure a life of dignity of its people.

I am convinced that our glorious and proud people, will in the future make untiring efforts to implement strategic goals of independent Tajikistan, and will make a worthy contribution to the embodiment of plans and good commitments of state and government of the country.

In a commitment of ensuring prosperity of our native land, and strengthening the power and of the image of Tajikistan, I wish the glorious people of the country and all of you, distinguished audience, every success and the wellbeing.

I wish you good health, happiness and every bit of luck!

Thank you!

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