Namangan Punjab Connection – Time to Tap the Potential -by Tazeen Akhtar Islamabad

    New Uzbekistan is Constructing New Namangan for New Collaborations Worldwide
    Punjab has already Worked out the Prospects of JVs in Cotton, Textile Sectors
    Joint Medical University project can Pave the Way to Exemplary Relations & Cooperation
    Tazeen Akhtar / Islamabad
    Pakistan and Uzbekistan enjoy very cordial relations in all spheres and sectors including trade, investment, economy,agriculture, industry, culture, education in general and  in connectivity in particular, not only at federal level but both countries are promoting cooperation among their provinces as well. Example is Pakistani Punjab and Uzbek Namangan.
    President Shavkat Mirziyoyev recently visited Namangan and viewed the ongoing work on the basic infrastructure projects there. “Namangan New City” project is near to completion that has been designed to facilitate the foreign investors. Uzbekistan is attracting foreign direct investments in Namangan region and for that state of the art infrastructure is being provided.
    Namangan Punjab Connection
    We have selected this topic here for our readers and police makers only because , in the recent past , Pakistani officials from Punjab had visits to Namangan, Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara regions to develop joint ventures and regional level cooperation in various sectors. The then Governor of Punjab Mohammad Sarwar visited Namangan in Feb 2022 and the then Care taker CM Punjab, incumbent Interior Minister Pakistan Muhsin Naqvi visited Uzbekistan in Aug 2023.
    Sarwar is not in the official scene now but Muhsin Naqvi is in more influential position and he can refer his experiences and observations with the officials who are currently working on the agreed points during his visit to Uzbekistan.
    CM Punjab Maryam’s Legacy in Uzbekistan
    Chief Minister Punjab Maryam Nawaz hails from a family who have the credit of very first develop relations and cooperation with Central Asia including Uzbekistan. When CARs secured their independence from USSR , Nawaz Sharif was Prime Minister in Pakistan who took initiative to connect Pakistan with CARs and established diplomatic ties with these countries.
    Uzbekistan among CARs stands tall in a sense that Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Tirmiz are well known in Pakistan just like Lahore, Multan, Peshawar. Both countries have centuries old historical relations. The Moghal dynasty in sub continent is the main example. There are many other connections between the two countries that brings both closer to each other than any other country.
    Nawaz Sharif has visited and hosted Uzbekistan leaders including incumbent President many times. PM Shehbaz Sharif has close interactions with Uzbek leadership. Therefore, CM Punjab Maryam Nawaz can maintain and promote this legacy of her father by implementing the already agreed projects and explore avenues of bilateral cooperation between the two provinces of brotherly countries.
    Namangan -Punjab Already Agreed Projects
    Governor Sarwar visited with a delegation of traders. Both sides agreed to formulate a strategy for promotion of investment.
    Joint Medical University; For the first time in history, joint medical university to be opened in Namangan with Punjab province cooperation. The foundation stone was laid by both Governors. This project can pave the way to exemplary bilateral cooperation. This scribe personally visited Samarkand State Medical University and met with Pakistan students studying there. Another Medical University in Namangan and that in collaboration with Pakistan will be a flagship project for both countries and for Pakistani students as well.
    Uzbek Help in Punjab Cotton Program; Uzbekistan agreed to provide increased technical assistance to improve and increase Cotton production in Punjab province. Ch Sarwar in Namangan and Muhsin Naqvi in Bukhara discussed cooperation in cotton production. Cotton farmers and Textile manufacturers, experts can be invited to benefit from their experience of production of better quality cotton and textile than Pakistan.
    Punjab Textile Sector; The leaders in Textile Sector of Namangan announced that they would be visiting Punjab province very soon for analyzing investment opportunities among various sectors. Cotton is basic ingredient of Textile industry. Pakistan once had bumper crop of cotton and large scale production of Textile but it is now part of the past.
    Agri-Tech Exchange; Mohsin Naqvi, in his visit, said that Punjab and Uzbekistan have immense opportunities for agricultural technology exchange and investment. He termed his visit of great importance for the agro-economy of Pakistan.He pledged, we will focus fully on the practical implementation of the measures and recommendations discussed during the visit. Our teams will maintain the best coordination in agricultural development.
    Mohsin visited Agro Cluster and Bukhara Cotton Textile Unit in Bukhara. The delegation was briefed on cotton production, processing and value added textiles in Bukhara Agro Cluster. He observed the process of preparing the garments inspected printing, dyeing, pressing and other sectors and the high yielding cotton plants.
    Now when Pakistan is in deep economic crisis while cotton and textile were our main export items, the incumbent government , that itself is seeking stability in economy , can see into what has already been agreed upon and how much of that has been implemented so far.
    Uzbek Success Story in Textile
    In recent years, complete processing of raw materials has been established in the textile industry, which has led to an increase in export volumes from 1 billion to 4 billion dollars.
    President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Namangan
    President visited Namangan on 25-26 March 2024 to have familiarization with ongoing projects in various sectors of the economy, the launch ceremony of the construction of extensive energy facilities, and expansion of the airport.
    ” Investment projects are being successfully implemented in all regions of our country, and the inflow of new capital continues. The basis for this is trust in the New Uzbekistan, President Shavkat shared in his address to the representatives from different walks of life.
    Pakistan in Construction of New Namangan
    In Namangan region, 47 projects with a total value of US$4 billion have also been launched. Of these, 17 projects worth US$2.3 billion were presented to the President on 25 March.
    Investors include companies from Russia, China, Türkiye, the UAE, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Iran, Pakistan and other countries. The projects cover sectors such as construction materials, electrical engineering, chemicals, textiles, food industry, pharmaceuticals, medicine, mining, fish farming, and others.
    For example, there are plans to mine and process copper in cooperation with China in Chust district, to set up production and dyeing of synthetic fabrics in collaboration with the Pakistani investors in Turakurgan district, and provide equipment for a traumatology center in collaboration with an Austrian company.The implementation of these 47 projects is expected to create over 40,000 jobs.
    President’s Vision on New Namangan
    President Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a meeting to discuss the measures for the economic and social development of Namangan Region.Over the past seven years, the region’s economy has doubled, exports have tripled, and per capita income has reached 15.5 million Uzbek soums.
    Thanks to the investments of 65 trillion Uzbek soums, 600 thousand jobs were created.
    However, many opportunities have not been exploited yet. For example, 86% of the region’s exports come from textiles and fruit vegetable production. The level of industrialization in Pap, Chartak, Norin, and Yangikurgan is low. 56 thousand household plots are not used for growing products.
    There are good opportunities for the development of floriculture, fish farming, beekeeping, livestock farming, viticulture, growing strawberries and potatoes in the makhallas. Preferential loans will be allocated for this.
    The region’s industrial potential is also high. In recent years, 72 small and youth industrial zones have been launched.
    100 Tons of Gold Every Year
    There is a lot of potential in the jewelry industry. Every year, 100 tons of gold are mined in Uzbekistan, but only 6 percent of the gold is processed, producing only $78 million in exports.
    the jewelry zones with special conditions for entrepreneurs will be created. The supply chain of raw materials, specialist training, production, and sales system will be completely revised, as well as the proposals for amendments to the legislation will be made.
    Connectivity – Transport
    Other untapped opportunities include roads and tourism. The distance from the city of Angren to Turakurgan is 100 kilometers, and the daily flow of cars exceeds 10 thousand. Entrepreneurs are ready to establish cafes, shopping, and service points along this road, providing permanent employment for 10 thousand people. The task has been set to develop an appropriate master plan and put the land up for auction.
    Solar and Wind Power Plants
    Govs of Pakistan and Punjab are working on a major shift from traditional to alternative power production with mainly solar energy. This is another important area where two countries as well as two provinces can work together. In recent years, 9 solar and wind power plants with a total capacity of 1,6 gigawatts have been connected to the network in Bukhara, Jizzakh, Kashkadarya, Navoi, Samarkand, and Surkhandarya. 6 hydroelectric power stations with a total capacity of 183 megawatts were launched in Andijan, Samarkand, Surkhandarya and Tashkent region.
    Today, Namangan has 913 megawatts of generating capacity. Electricity consumption has increased by 24% over the past three years and will naturally continue to grow.Therefore, three projects were designed for the area, totaling US$1,1 billion and with a total capacity of 1,228 megawatts. This is a cascade of hydroelectric power plants and two solar power plants.
    At the ceremony, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev pressed a symbolic button and launched the construction of these large energy projects.This year, as part of the construction of 14 solar and wind stations, 2,6 gigawatts of power will be connected to the grid.
    Construction of New City
    The President also had a presentation on the construction stages of New Namangan. Construction of the town began two years ago. To date, multi-story buildings for 2,764 apartments have been built and another 648 houses are under construction.
    The city is designed for 200 thousand inhabitants. There will be kindergartens, schools, other social facilities and an industrial zone. The “New Uzbekistan” park will also be created here.
    40 Countries in Namangan Investment Forum
    The investment attractions in Namangan can be viewed with the overwhelming interest of other countries in the development of New Namangan. In June 2019, The Namangan city hosted the International Investment Forum “Doing business with Namangan” organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan and Khokimiyat of Namangan region along with other affiliated ministries and agencies.The forum brought together 500 participants, including the representatives of business circles from 40 countries.
    This is the story of Namangan that carries many lessons for us that if the spirit is there, determination is there and consistency is there , you can do it. But if you have differences bigger than your national interests, you are always lagging behind with no direction where to go.

    Chief Minister Punjab for Promotion of Trade and Economic Cooperation with Uzbekistan


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