Addressing a festive ceremony devoted to the 16th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, shown live on Uzbek TV on 31 August, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said that one of the priorities of the Uzbek government was to further liberalize economy and raise NGOs’ role.
"Special attention should be paid to further liberalizing political and economic life, expanding the authorities of political parties, public associations and NGOs within the framework of the law, and to practically ensuring human rights and freedoms," he said.
He said that Uzbekistan achieved great successes over the 16 years of independence and that "no-one can ignore our achievements in the process of making our motherland free and prosperous".
Karimov stressed that there should be a critical approach to what the country had achieved and added that one of the priority tasks should be raising the salaries of workers and civil servants and social benefits by two, two-and-a-half times within the next three years.
To ensure peace and stability in the country, we should constantly raise the army’s combat readiness, he said.