As part of the EU Central Asia Invest programme, the European Union, together with the OECD and the government of Tajikistan, organised a webinar on 29 May. Participants discussed the COVID-19 policy responses in Tajikistan, shared experiences from OECD countries with a focus on investment and private sector development, and introduced long-term priorities for the country from the current work on the legal environment for business supported by the EU.
The webinar was opened by First Vice-Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan Ashurboy Solehzoda, Mr Stefano Ellero, Head of Co-operation at the EU Delegation to Tajikistan, and Mr William Tompson, Head of the OECD Eurasia Division. They acknowledged the need for experience sharing to design effective policies, and welcomed Tajikistan’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Going forward, economic consequences need to be addressed, and the low resilience of Tajikistan’s private sector might prove the principal obstacle to a sustainable recovery. First Vice-Minister Solehzoda presented the economic support measures taken by the government to respond to the impacts of the pandemic on its economy, in particular for small businesses and households. Mr Ellero reviewed the range of EU support to Tajikistan and confirmed its commitment to continued support, especially in the difficult task of recovery planning, also tackling the issue of digitalisation through a new EU-led project.
Looking first at foreign direct investment policies and promotion, Ms Peline Atamer (OECD) acknowledged the reforms taken by Tajikistan to improve its investment attractiveness. She presented Tajikistan’s score in the OECD FDI Regulatory Restrictiveness Index and the results of a recent OECD Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) survey that included Tajikistan, and highlighted that reforming further the regulatory framework for investments and pursuing the digitalisation of Tajikistan’s IPA services will be key to increase investment attractiveness of the country.
Mr Luke Mackle (OECD) presented fiscal measures used in OECD countries to supporting private sector and entrepreneurship during the COVID-19 pandemic, and discussed possible applications to Tajikistan, to strengthen businesses during the post-crisis period. On the Tajik side, government representatives presented additional measures planned to support private sector development and investment attraction, while the private sector was represented by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tajikistan.
First Vice-Minister Solehzoda concluded the webinar by reaffirming his interest in continued cooperation, in particular focusing on SME recovery and development. Going forward, additional initiatives and events focusing on Tajikistan will be developed until the end of the year, including on the legal environment for business.