Over the past decades, information and communication technologies have led to significant changes in our world. The development and improvement of global networks, which open up limitless opportunities for direct communication between people in real time, have an increasing impact on the economy, politics, international relations and culture. All these achievements in the information sphere create prerequisites for moving towards a completely new type of society — the information society, the society of knowledge. In order to raise the sphere of information and communication technologies to a new level, Uzbekistan is taking a number of measures necessary for this purpose.
On August 22, 2022, Presidential Decree No. 357 “On measures to raise the sphere of information and communication technologies to a new level in 2022–2023” was adopted. This Decree defined the main tasks for the further development of the field of information and communication technologies in 2022–2023, namely:
· to increase the level of coverage of settlements with a broadband mobile communication network up to 98%, and high-speed mobile Internet along international highways - up to 60%;
· to build 40,000 km of fiber optic communication lines to increase their coverage up to 80%;
· to double the number of users of e-government services by involving the private sector in providing these services;
· to provide annual training for more than 6.5 thousand young people in the field of "information technology";
· to introduce more than 214 information systems and software products in government bodies, including local government authorities and enterprises in the real sector of the economy.
Moreover, from September 1, 2022, it is planned to gradually form centers for the export of remote services using information and communication technologies in all regions of the republic.
In addition, in 2023, the Single Portal Platform of the government of Uzbekistan will be launched, which will include official websites and portals of the relevant state authorities.
In order to support start-up projects in the field of information and communication technologies aimed at the provision of educational IT services, the development of software products and their export, from October 1, 2022, a procedure for allocating grants in the amount of up to 1 billion soums (about $92,000) will be introduced through a competition held by the Ministry of Innovative Development.
The Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade will ensure the allocation of funds in the amount of 60 billion soums at the initial stage at the expense of the Fund for the Support of Young Entrepreneurs.
In order to further support youth start-up projects in the field of information and communication technologies, starting from 2023, a competition for the President's Prize with a total prize fund of $1 million will be held annually.
From January 1, 2023, the Ministry for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications will ensure the development of an electronic system "Digital office", (an automated virtual workplace for employees of state bodies and organizations), including a unified electronic document management system, an information exchange messenger, a calendar of meetings and events, secure e—mail and providing the possibility of videoconferencing, at the first stage - its implementation in the system of the Ministry in a test mode, in the future — in all state bodies.
Since October 1, 2022, the data of state information systems and resources are provided:
• on a gratuitous basis through the Interdepartmental Integration Platform of the Electronic Government system — for use for interdepartmental interaction;
• on a paid basis through the Digital Data Platform of the Electronic Government system — for commercial use.
From October 1, 2022, state information systems and resources will be gradually placed, stored and processed in the Data Processing Center of the Electronic Government system according to the list approved by the Coordination Commission for the Implementation of the Digital Uzbekistan — 2030 Strategy.
The value added tax benefits provided for in section two of paragraph 5 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated June 30, 2017 No. 5099 "On measures to radically improve conditions for the development of the information technology industry in the Republic" are also applied when purchasing information technology services from non-residents of the republic.
The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, the khokimiyats of the regions and the city of Tashkent, together with the Ministry for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications, will ensure the placement of remote services export centers in modern buildings renovated in accordance with the requirements of the Technological Park of Software products and information Technologies and provided with uninterrupted power supply.
The Agency for Youth Affairs will provide remote services export centers with modern computer equipment.
In order to create additional amenities for the population and business entities when using electronic public services from November 1, 2022, it is allowed:
• mobile operators, commercial banks and payment system operators to provide electronic public services on a Single Portal through their mobile applications in compliance with information security requirements;
• to use electronic public services implemented on the mobile application of the Single Portal, using electronic digital signature keys placed on the identification ID card.
At the same time, users of electronic public services are identified through a Single information System for identifying users of the "Electronic Government" system.
Since January 1, 2023, monitoring of projects in the field of information and communication technologies of ministries, departments, local executive authorities, as well as economic entities in whose authorized capital the state share is 50 percent or more, is carried out through an Interdepartmental automated information System "NIS.UZ ", accounting of the funds disbursed for them is conducted in the statistical reporting of the State Statistics Committee. At the same time, state bodies and organizations must display information on the status of project execution and funds disbursed within their framework in an Interdepartmental automated system on a monthly basis until the 5th day of the month following the reporting one. "NIS.UZ " with the attachment of supporting primary documents.
The Ministry for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications based on articles 20, 241, 30 and 69 of the Land Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan will:
• at the end of each quarter to form a list (addresses, coordinates and areas) of the target land plots required for the installation of antenna-mast structures, in accordance with the proposals of mobile operators;
• submit this list to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, the khokimiyats of the regions and the city of Tashkent for allocation to the Ministry of vacant non-agricultural land plots included in the list with the right of permanent use;
• to lease to mobile operators non-agricultural land plots allocated to the Ministry with the right of permanent use for the installation of antenna-mast structures through an open tender. At the same time, special priority is given to popularizing the experience of joint operation of the same land plot or antenna-mast structure;
• ensure the establishment of the right of limited use of someone else's land (easement) between the khokimiyats of districts (cities) or owners, users, tenants of land and telecom operators in accordance with the procedure established by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan No. PP-204 dated April 12, 2022, for the installation and operation of antenna-mast structures on the land included in the list agricultural land plots or allocated to other owners, users, tenants of land.
On October 1, 2022, operators and providers are allowed to carry out construction and installation work in telecommunications facilities from the date of submitting the design and estimate documentation for the installation of technical means for examination, while the examination of design and estimate documentation is carried out within 15 days.
The Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Sanitary and Epidemiological Service will ensure that the conclusions of the state fire-supervision bodies and the sanitary passport are processed through a Single portal of interactive Public Services within a period not exceeding two weeks in order to start the operation of radio-electronic means of mobile communication networks.
The Ministry for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications will be authorized to make mandatory submissions for consideration by the heads of all state bodies and organizations on the elimination of violations of legislation identified in the acts of legislation regulating the digital economy and e-government, including the use (or inefficient use) of existing information systems and software and hardware complexes, as well as the causes and conditions, and also coordinate the implementation of projects in the field of information and communication technologies of deputy heads for digitalization of state bodies and organizations (Chief Digital Officer), as well as quarterly evaluate their work depending on specific results.
The Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Sanitary and Epidemiological Service, together with the ministries and departments concerned, will critically review the current procedure for issuing conclusions of state fire-supervision bodies and sanitary passports within a three-month period and will submit proposals to the Cabinet of Ministers to simplify them, including shortening the deadlines, by optimizing existing procedures.
By July 1, 2023, additional ordinary shares in the amount of up to 10 percent of the authorized fund of Uzbektelecom JSC will be publicly placed (IPO) in order to continue the accelerated development of telecommunications infrastructure.
Finally, this Decree approved:
· "Roadmap" for further improvement of the sphere of information and communication technologies in 2022-2023;
· list of priority projects for the digitalization of public administration in 2022-2023;
· list of priority projects for the digitalization of industries in the real sector of the economy in 2022–2023;
· "Roadmaps" for the comprehensive acceleration of the processes of departmental digital transformation of individual state and economic management bodies in 2022–2023;
· list of priority projects for the digital transformation of regions in 2022–2023.