On 8 November 2023, in the framework of the EU-funded Central Asia Invest programme, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) organised a workshop to assess recent progress in improving the legal environment for business in Turkmenistan. This follows a study that the OECD conducted in 2019-2020 on Improving the Legal Environment for Business and Investment in Central Asia. The event was held in co-operation with the Government of Turkmenistan and the European Union.
During the seminar, the OECD team presented its findings on progress made in Turkmenistan since the previous report in 2020, answered participants’ questions and received their comments on the OECD assessment of three priority areas of reform: the legal and regulatory framework for investment, the operational environment for firms, and business registration.
Ms Renata Wrobel, Deputy Head of Mission at the Delegation of the European Union to Turkmenistan, opened the session by recalling EU support to improving the business environment in all five countries of Central Asia. In Turkmenistan in particular, the EU will provide support for the country’s accession to the WTO.
Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy Bekmyrat Allakbaev also provided opening remarks and highlighted the government’s recent initiatives to improve the business environment. This includes drafting a concept for the development of the digital economy, the simplification of registration procedures, the development of e-government services and investments in large infrastructure projects to improve transport and logistics.
Ms Galina Romanova, Head of the Consolidated Department of Public Finance and Economic Policy at the Ministry of Finance and Economy, provided a comprehensive overview of the government’s programme to support private sector development, addressing such issues as access to concessionary financing for SMEs, regulatory simplification, and the WTO accession agenda.
Ms Céleste Laporte Talamon, Policy Analyst in the Central Asia team of the OECD Eurasia Division, presented the OECD’s first findings and recommendations. Among positive developments, she mentioned that the government is considering drafting a single investment act to unify legislation applicable to domestic and international firms. Business registration processes have been simplified and are now provided under a one-window system. Firms reported some improvement in customs procedures. Areas for further progress include better access to legislation online, withdrawing provisions requiring yearly license renewal and widening the range of financial products available to SMEs, such as leasing, partial guarantees and venture capital funding.
Participants were encouraged to share their inputs on the OECD’s preliminary findings ahead of publication of the final report in December 2023, at the OECD’s regular ministerial event for the region, OECD Eurasia Week, in Paris, France.