Untapped opportunities in the leather footwear industry indicated

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UZBEKISTAN, January 24 – On January 24, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a meeting on priorities in the leather footwear industry.

Industry plays an important role in the production of consumer goods. Due to technological upgrading and localization, the industry has developed extensively in recent years. So, if in 2017 leather products and shoes were produced for 760 billion UZS, then in 2021 this figure amounted to 4 trillion 415 billion UZS. During the same period, exports increased from $105 million to $421 million. Thus, industrial production increased almost 6 times, exports – 4 times. The share of finished products also increased from 32% to 78%.

There are still many untapped opportunities in the industry. But certain problems complicate the activities of manufacturers. In particular, there is no accounting system for raw materials. There are not enough automated slaughterhouses, which affects the quality of skinning. There are not enough skilled designers, technologists and tailors, modern equipment, chemicals and components.

2 million skins are harvested annually in the Bukhara and Khorezm regions, but their industrial collection and processing are not established. In the Kashkadarya, Navoi and Tashkent regions, where 1.8 million, 700,000 and 500,000 short-horned cattle skins respectively are harvested per year, their processing is not carried out at all. Many slaughterhouses operate with low productivity due to their remoteness from the population and lack of interaction with the mahallas.

In this regard, measures to solve these and other problems, the systemic development of the sphere were discussed at the meeting.

It was noted that, in the first place, it is necessary to organize mobile services for the slaughter of cattle and the collection of skins in the mahallas, in order to allocate preferential loans for this purpose.

Responsible officials informed of 248 projects worth $421 million planned for the current year. The head of state noted the need to launch businesses in a timely manner, as well as the development of new promising projects with an emphasis on product localization and the development of modern models.

The creation of 16 small specialized industrial zones in the districts of Nukus, Altynkul, Shakhrikhan, Jandar, Namangan, Urgut, Samarkand, Angor, Akhangaran and Khazorasp, the cities of Namangan, Margilan, Kokand, Jizzakh, Karshi and Nurafshan have been decided. UZS 90 billion will be allocated from the budget to create the appropriate infrastructure in these regions.

Entrepreneurs will receive loans for the purchase of equipment for 7 years with a grace period of three years. Preferential loans of $60 million will be allocated to support the industry this year.

In addition, the task was set to develop a special program to support mahalla craftsmen based on Kokand and Margilan traditions, where fur making is highly developed. Preferential loans and tax advantages will be granted to them within the framework of family entrepreneurship and housing programmes.

This year, it is expected to increase exports of leather products and footwear to $500 million, and within three years to $1.2 billion. “It’s a very big goal,” the president said. – There is a market to achieve this, significant raw materials and demand. But it is necessary to create all the conditions for entrepreneurs.

In this regard, it is planned to extend until 2026 the tax and customs advantages previously granted. Compensation for part of the expenses of foreign specialists will also be introduced. The importance of establishing wholesale warehouses and trading houses abroad was stressed, for which foreign currency loans will be provided at 4% per annum for 3 years.

To date, the share of women’s shoes in the total volume of domestic leather products is only 23%, children’s shoes only 8%. Therefore, he was instructed to stimulate this direction through tax incentives.

“The most important problem is the lack of specialists. Therefore, each region should have a specific plan in this regard, it is necessary to establish a training system for local personnel,” the president noted.

Tasks were set to create a modern educational and production laboratory at the Tashkent Institute of Textiles and Light Industry, to improve the skills of specialists abroad and to train middle-level workers.

Industry officials, hokims and entrepreneurs presented information and made proposals at the meeting.

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