Uzbekistan’s response efforts to Covid-19 timely: IMF

Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Feb 18 (IANS) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday that Uzbekistan’s large support package was timely and well-targeted, though the Covid-19 pandemic has had “a marked, but so far relatively short-lived, adverse impact” on the country’s economy.

The Uzbek authorities’ strong policy reaction led to the country being among the few countries that showed positive overall economic growth in 2020, at a rate of 1.6 per cent, the IMF said in a statement following a three-week remote mission in Uzbekistan, the Xinhua news agency reported.

“Growth is expected to pick up further in 2021, but the level of uncertainty remains high and the recovery will depend especially on vaccine rollout,” it said, adding that the Uzbek economy is projected to grow by about 5 percent this year.

The Uzbek authorities faced the challenge of not only supporting the recovery, but also continuing with the country’s transformation to a modern market economy, according to the statement.

Uzbekistan has made significant progress during the last few years in implementing ambitious reforms, focusing mainly on improving overall macro-economic management, foreign exchange, trade liberalization, and major improvements in fiscal and monetary policy frameworks.

“The reform agenda is still large, however, and the pace of reforms has inevitably slowed due to the impact of the pandemic on administrative capacity,” the IMF said, reaffirming its readiness to continue to support Uzbekistan in these efforts with policy advice, technical assistance and financial assistance.

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