|Participatory budgeting (PB) is probably the best-known application of participatory democracy around the world. The World Bank is even an advocate, because it enhances transparency and accountability and reduces government inefficiency. Quite simply it is a process, which enables local people to decide directly how public money should be spent in their communities. Citizen budgeting participation is spreading throughout the democratic world. Uzbekistan is joining this promising experiment.|
Participatory Budgeting Opens Path for Democratic Reform in Uzbekistan
Taskent, Nov.10.– Since his inauguration in 2016, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has paved the way for many policy reforms in Uzbekistan. Four of these reforms stand out as truly consequential.
The first two reforms are economic. The move to a mostly market-based foreign currency regime and the implementation of tax reforms delivered significant positive stimuli for economic growth and helped to open the Uzbek economy to foreign investment.
The third reform put an end to the abhorrent practice of state-sponsored forced and child labor. Possibly more than any other, this reform has earned Uzbekistan international praise.
The Economist named Uzbekistan “country of the year” in 2019, describing it as a country “that abolished slavery.” Although labour rights and state intervention issues persist in cotton production clusters, the reform effort still successfully stigmatised forced labor among top officials, improved many labour conditions, and opened the Uzbek cotton and textile industry to international trade.
The fourth reform has garnered less international attention but is no less significant. The Citizens’ Initiative Budget is a participatory budgeting platform that lets the public decide where they think it is best to spend public money. The policy aims at better redistribution through the decentralization of budget planning.