Comprehensive development of trade in Turkmenistan and increasing the role of the private sector through widespread introduction of modern market mechanisms are among the priority areas of the progressive socio-economic policy pursued by President Serdar Berdimuhamedov.
In a keynote speech at Dovlet Maslakhaty, the head of state, focusing on increasing the export potential of domestic producers and improving foreign trade activities, noted that Turkmenistan was elected a member of the UN Commission on International Trade Rights for 2022-2028, and also has the status of an acceding country (“active observer”) in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The number of trading houses of our country abroad is growing. An example of this is the limited liability companies “Trading House of Turkmenistan” in the city of Moscow in the Russian Federation, “Turkmen-Belarusian Trading House” in the Republic of Belarus, “Turkmen-Turkish Trading House” in the city of Istanbul of the Republic of Turkey.
This form of cooperation plays a significant role in strengthening economic relations. As part of the “Program for the Development of Foreign Economic Activity of Turkmenistan for 2020-2025”, in February last year, the “Turkmen Trading House” was opened in the capital of Tatarstan, which is engaged in the wholesale and retail sales of various goods produced in Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation.
In the future, it is planned to open the Trade House of Turkmenistan in Japan. This initiative was put forward during the meetings of the Foreign Minister of our country with the heads of large Japanese business structures held in Tokyo in the last ten days of December 2022. The Turkmen side also suggested that the Japanese partners consider organizing a trade mission of Japan and opening an office of the Japan Foreign Trade Development Organization (JETRO) in Turkmenistan.
The industry development indicators testify to the achievements in these areas. For 11 months of 2022, at the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations, compared to the same period in 2021, the growth rate of trade turnover amounted to 110.8 percent, production - 106.6 percent.
An indicator of the success of Turkmenistan's foreign economic relations, a powerful information and analytical source of data that clearly illustrates the demand for products of the leading sectors of the national economy, is the activity of the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange (SCRME).
For 11 months of 2022, the SCRME held 275 trading sessions, during which 34 thousand 7 contracts were concluded. At present, domestically produced goods exported to dozens of countries are sold at exchange auctions, transformations are being carried out aimed at developing foreign economic cooperation, attracting foreign investment, organizing work in accordance with the requirements of market relations, including expanding the types of exchange services and improving their quality, introducing modern technologies, etc.
The competitiveness of economic entities of Turkmenistan largely depends on the compliance of national mechanisms for regulating trade with international standards and recommendations based on long-term trends in the development of commodity exchange technologies.
In this regard, the introduction of a bar coding system is of particular importance. Today, tens of thousands of names of commercial products manufactured by domestic manufacturers have already been given the appropriate marking.
Our country is known in the international community as a state with great potential in the production of goods and the provision of high-quality services under the brand name “Made in Turkmenistan”.
At the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on April 22, 2022, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov approved the decision to develop a national brand (label) of the Made in Turkmenistan trademark. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with the participation of relevant ministries and departments, announced a competition for the development of a regulation on the national brand.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry plays an important role in the development of foreign economic relations, the formation of market relations, and the stimulation of business initiative. For 11 months of 2022, the growth rate for the work carried out by the CCI amounted to 118.4 percent. During the period under review, 19 exhibitions and 61 forums were held.
Thus, the improvement of the activities of trade organizations is designed to further increase the abundance of goods in our country, and thereby improve the standard of living of the people in the Epoch of the Revival of the new era of powerful state.
In turn, in accordance with the economic strategy of the President of Turkmenistan, the role of one of the system-forming factors in the industrialization of the national economy, the production of products competitive on the world market and maintaining the food security of the Motherland is given to Turkmen entrepreneurship.
These measures are carried out in line with the consistently implemented State Program to support small and medium-sized businesses for the period 2018-2024, aimed at maintaining high rates of economic growth and social progress by enhancing the activities of private producers in Turkmenistan.
As President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted in his speech at a meeting of Dovlet Maslakhaty, “the private sector has a big role to play in solving the tasks we face in producing high-quality and competitive products, ensuring food abundance, building industrial enterprises, modern shopping centers and villages.”
The head of state highlights the activities of individual enterprises of the country in the production of competitive import-substituting and export-oriented products of high quality, the implementation of large projects, in particular, the construction of the Ashgabat-Turkmenabat highway and the new modern administrative center of Akhal velayat.
“Giving tax preferences to small and medium-sized entrepreneurs who create jobs for themselves and are engaged in small-scale production and services, by registering and licensing them on a preferential basis, we must develop a system conducive to enhancing trade and commodity turnover, increasing tax revenues,” emphasizes the head Turkmenistan.
President Serdar Berdimuhamedov pointed out the need to ensure a significant increase in the scale and number of small and medium-sized enterprises, pay special attention to the development and stimulation of private business in a market economy, create new industries in the relevant structures, and increase their power.
The following indicators testify to the growing potential of the small and medium-sized business sector: according to the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (UIET), the growth rate of agricultural and food production for 11 months of 2022 reached 175.4 percent, industrial - 113.4 percent. The volume of services rendered to the population increased by an order of magnitude.
It should be reminded that over 27,000 representatives of the domestic business community are currently members of the UIET. The private sector employs more than half of the employed population of Turkmenistan.
As is known, in recent years there has been a positive trend in increasing the share of the business sector in the economy, associated with the process of denationalization of enterprises. At the same time, the task of reducing the state sector of the economy is included in the overall strategy of the President of the country, which provides for the consistent privatization of state property and the organization of joint-stock companies, which helps to strengthen the position of private business.
Members of the UIET make a worthy contribution to the implementation of state programs to increase the production of import-substituting products, increase the volume of exports of domestic goods, and create an electronics industry.
In this context, mention should be made of the annual Exhibition of Achievements of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan, traditionally dedicated to the day of the formation of this organization.
Getting acquainted with the exposition of the review, the range of products and industrial goods produced by representatives of domestic business circles, the President of the country emphasized that practical measures for the development of the private sector in Turkmenistan would be consistently continued.
These measures are necessary, first of all, in the context of the successful solution of the tasks outlined in the Program “Revival of a New Era of Powerful State: National Program for the Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052,” President Serdar Berdimuhamedov stated.
Noting the importance of wide introduction of market methods into the monetary and financial systems, taking effective steps to diversify the economy, the head of state spoke in favor of increasing the share of the business sector and ensuring its active role in the national economic complex.
In this regard, an order was given to continue supporting small, medium and large individual enterprises, expand the lending program for private businesses, and analyze the program for creating new jobs, especially in the velayats. These measures are aimed at maintaining the existing and creating additional jobs by stimulating the activity of representatives of the non-state sector and citizens of the country.
In this context, it is indicative that in June 2022, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov signed a Resolution, according to which entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan received state support: 150 million US dollars were allocated for this.
During the UIET Exhibition of Achievements, private commodity producers of our country signed 63 contracts with foreign partners for a total amount of more than 145 million US dollars. Of these, 16 are export contracts and 47 are import contracts.
Along with this, the members of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs concluded 51 agreements on mutual internal trade for a total amount of more than 36 million manats. They mainly concern trade in food products and means used in production.
The international business contacts of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs have been specified in a number of signed agreements and the establishment of partnerships with world business circles, as well as in the opening of trade missions and trading houses abroad.
The importance of developing international contacts between domestic business circles is also evidenced by the meetings held in 2022 with foreign colleagues on various online and offline platforms.
In this regard, we recall that the visits of the head of state to foreign countries, as a rule, are accompanied by meetings of business circles. Thus, within the framework of the official visit of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov to Moscow in June 2022, representatives of Turkmen entrepreneurship also held a meeting with Russian partners. As a result, a Cooperation Agreement was signed between the trading network of supermarkets “Halk market” (Turkmenistan) and the Agroholding “Rusagro” (Russia), aimed at intensifying bilateral trade and economic contacts, including in the food sector, through business circles.
In July, during the Turkmen-Uzbek interregional forum in Bukhara (Uzbekistan), a number of documents were signed on further enhancing cooperation between entrepreneurs of the two countries, which include export-import trade agreements.
In November, as part of an official visit to the United Arab Emirates, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov took part in the opening ceremony of the business forum “Turkmenistan-UAE”, which specified approaches to further business partnerships with world-famous companies, taking into account the emerging prospects and experience of many years of successful joint work.
As a result of the forum, a number of documents were signed, in particular, agreements were concluded between the business structures of the two countries for the provision of logistics services and various export-import operations.
On November 29, 2022, the Turkmen-Austrian business forum in Ashgabat brought together representatives of the state and business circles of both countries. The event was organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan and the Federal Economic Chamber of the Republic of Austria. During the meetings, agreements of intent were signed between the Balam confectionery enterprise and the Akras Flavors GmbH company, as well as between the Halk market supermarket chain of Turkmenistan and the Austrian-Turkmen society.
On December 5, the Turkmen-American business forum was held at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was attended by heads and leading specialists of government and business structures of the two countries. The delegation, headed by the Executive Director of the Turkmen-American Business Council Eric Stewart, included representatives of large companies. On the sidelines of the forum, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan and the American company Niklaus Companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of a golf club.
On December 14, in the Avaza National Tourist Zone, within the framework of the First Trilateral Summit of the Heads of Turkmenistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Turkey, a business meeting of representatives of business circles of friendly states was held.
A discussion was held on promising areas of mutually beneficial partnership in the context of the existing large trade and economic potential of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, in particular, in the fields of industry, energy, construction, agriculture, transport, etc.
As a result of the business meeting, a Declaration on the development of trilateral relations and mutual understanding between Turkmenistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Turkey was signed.
One of the sectors successfully mastered by Turkmen businessmen is the sphere of construction and production of building materials. Members of the UIET build industrial and social facilities - residential buildings, factories, schools, kindergartens, medical centers, sports facilities, roads, infrastructure facilities, etc.
Among those implemented today by private construction companies are the largest state orders. This is the construction of the Ashgabat-Turkmenabat highway, the facilities of the new administrative center of the Akhal velayat - the city of Arkadag, Ashgabat City and the next stage of development of the capital, the Makhtumkuli Fragi park complex, and industrial enterprises.
Members of the UIET commissioned a number of socially significant facilities in 2022. Thus, on March 24, the head of state took part in the grand opening in the north of the capital of the next stage of the cottage array named after Myalikguly Berdimuhamedov, intended for employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In April, with the participation of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, a multidisciplinary hospital for 400 beds was put into operation in the city of Turkmenbashi, and in May, a multidisciplinary hospital for 450 beds and an oncology clinic for 150 beds in the Dashoguz velayat.
On August 1, 2022, in the Avaza National Tourist Zone, located on the Caspian coast of Turkmenistan, with the participation of the head of state, the opening of the Rowaç cottage complex took place. As part of this event, ¬Arkadagly Serdar visited an exhibition of dishes of national and foreign cuisine, which was organized by UIET member enterprises specializing in catering, as well as with samples of private sector products.
By the 31st anniversary of the independence of the Motherland, entrepreneurs put into operation new passenger bus stations in the Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap and Mary velayats.
With the participation of the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov and the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, a new recreation park “Tashkent” was opened on October 21, located along the capital's Magtymguly Avenue.
On the eve of the New Year holiday in the western residential area of the capital, with the participation of the President of Turkmenistan, a grand opening of a number of new facilities took place - 62 four-story multi-apartment residential buildings, a complex of buildings for household and cultural purposes, erected by individual construction enterprises by order of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of the country.
The planned opening of a higher educational institution of the UIET testifies to the growing opportunities for private business. In the first ten days of July, the foundation of this university was laid. The commissioning of the facility is scheduled for September 2025.
Clear evidence of the strengthening of market mechanisms of management, the growing opportunities and great potential of entrepreneurs is the growth in the volume of food products and the expansion of its range.
Contributing to the reform of the agro-industrial sector, private producers use innovative methods in their work, increase productivity through the introduction of advanced technologies, the development of new irrigated lands, the organization of additional crops on these lands, as well as greenhouses that allow growing vegetables year-round in a closed soil, which makes it possible to saturate the domestic market and increase export supplies.
It should also be noted that the members of the UIET have developed proposals for the implementation of investment projects for the creation of agricultural, food and industrial enterprises. Including in such areas as the cultivation of vegetables, grapes and fruits using water-saving technologies, the construction of livestock and poultry complexes, modern greenhouses and refrigerated warehouses for storing food products.
Along with agricultural products, the export-oriented segment includes textile products, various food products, and building materials.
Modernization of the private sector of the economy in the country, attraction of investments into it gives positive results. In this context, the example of domestic manufacturers of household appliances - gas and electric stoves, ovens, microwave ovens, smart TVs, is in no way inferior to foreign counterparts and is in great consumer demand. At the same time, the members of the UIET have successfully mastered the production of modern industrial and electronic products, payment terminals, online training programs, and smart home technologies.
Domestic entrepreneurs are actively developing new business areas, including those focused on the use of breakthrough technologies in the mining and processing industries, in the transport sector, and are introducing a digital system.
The state program for the creation and development of free economic zones is directed for the implementation of these works and in general for the implementation of measures defined in the conceptual documents - the Program “Revival of a new era of a powerful state: the National program for the socio-economic development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052” and the “Program of the President of Turkmenistan for the socio-economic development of the country in 2022 –2028”. As the head of state emphasizes, they are an integral part of world economic relations and are among the key factors of rapid economic growth. The draft of this document was discussed at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of the country held on December 23, 2022.
Recall that Turkmen entrepreneurs invest in the development of the service sector and trade, provide the population with a wide range of household, advertising and publishing services.
The work of members of the domestic business community involved in handicrafts, arts and crafts contributes to the popularization of the national cultural heritage.
The participation of the UIET in organizing the annual competition among craftswomen in the art of making a national felt carpet - koshma, the results of which were summed up in early August in the cultural and entertainment center of the UIET should also be mentioned. Also, individual entrepreneurs were among the participants of the International Festival “Handicraft and decorative and applied arts in the heritage of the peoples of the world”, held in the second decade of October in Turkmenabat, and presented products of applied art and samples of national clothes at the exhibition in Avaza, held as part of the First trilateral summit of the heads of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey.
On December 15, 2022, the regular IV Congress of the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan was held in the capital. At the forum that brought together delegates from the capital and all regions of the country, an analysis of the work done was given, priority areas of activity were identified in the era of the Renaissance of the new era of a powerful state.
Domestic entrepreneurship has big plans for the future, including the solution of important tasks set forth by President Serdar Berdimuhamedov in the context of the developed and constantly improved mechanisms for effective public-private partnership, which serve as a reliable guarantee of their successful implementation.