EBRD talks supporting Uzbekistan in transformation of financial sector (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 22

By Fakhri Vakilov - Trend:

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s support to Uzbekistan usually entails bringing in “smart money” – i.e. financing accompanied by tailored technical assistance to banks to build their capacity, foster sustainable growth and increase efficiency of operations, EBRD’s official told Trend in an interview.

Recently, Trend reported that the EBRD put forward conceptual proposals on the systemic transformation of the banking and financial sector of Uzbekistan.

The representative noted that the banking sector in Uzbekistan is dominated by state owned banks (SOBs) which historically enjoyed strong state support.

“As of late 2018, SOBs accounted for about 85 percent of total assets and 89 percent of total loans in the banking system” the official said.

Overall, the reforms in the banking sector aimed at commercialisation and ultimate privatisation of SOBs would allow to:

- Develop a sustainable banking sector that supports inclusive growth, economic stability and spurs private sector job creation

- Create a level playing field between banks and increase competition

- Improve operating environment by increasing transparency to boost investor confidence and encourage foreign direct investments

“Since 2017, the Uzbek authorities have embarked on active implementation of comprehensive reforms, including in the banking sector. The EBRD supports the government’s reform efforts and has offered to share its vast banking experience in the region to further their implementation in close coordination with and alongside other development financial institutions” official added.

The representative noted that the recent meeting with the Ministry of Finance, Central Bank, State Asset Management Agency and the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade is part of the dialogue with the Uzbek authorities aiming to support the banking sector reform efforts.

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Follow author on Twitter:@vakilovfaxri

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