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Tajikistan: Development is the top priority

The recent price increases mentioned in the roundup of Asel take place not only Kyrgyzstan but also in Tajikistan. The government is trying to regulate the prices but there are still no positive changes. According to official reports, the increase of prices for agricultural products is an artificial phenomenon which is made on purpose by the owners of the local markets or it happens due to inefficient management. The mayor of Dushanbe gave an order to dismiss the heads of the major local markets from their positions, but this decision will not solve the problem.

Probably, Andrea Dall'Olio gives the best explanation about what is happening in the private sector now and what the problems are. He reports on business environment in Tajikistan and particularly on the recent IFC report Business Environment in Tajikistan as Seen by Small and Medium Enterprises, 2006. Andrea says that according to the IFC report, doing business in Tajikistan is very complicated. The representatives of SMEs are facing unrealistic challenges caused by taxation, permit system and foreign trade procedures. He hopes that some positive changes will be seen soon.

International donors have a great impact on the development of Tajikistan. However, the resources that they allocate for the development of the country are very often improperly used and in result the goals are not achieved. Anna Nadgrodkiewicz on the CIPE Development blog gives general recommendations for the donors. She points to three important things which donors should have in mind in their relations with local NGOs or other organizations which are responsible for the implementation of development projects:

  • the need for flexibility for the local organizations to design their own programs and strategies
  • the sense of partnership between the donor and recipient organizations is necessary
  • emphasis on working with the young people

Efficiently used resources give birth to such excellent projects as the one Mervyn Fletcher from UNICEF tells us about. Firdavsi Project, implemented in Dushanbe by the Child Rights Center, a UK-based non-governmental organization, provides a community-sentencing alternative for young offenders and prevents them from committing crimes in future.

Ian at Beyond the River links to several articles and posts about Tajik-Afghan border issues – mostly the drug-trafficking issue which has become one of the major problems both for Tajikistan and Afghanistan. He points to the fact that the Afghanistan drug policy on the part of NATO and America is not effective.

Vino links to an article of Henry about the religious reforms in Tajikistan. Though he thinks that the law will restrict religious freedoms in Tajikistan, he argues that the legislation did not come out of a blue and it arose as a result of recent Tajik history where political Islam had a strong impact. He thinks that by enforcing the new legislation on religion the government will curtail political Islam.

Another important event: Steveie Wonder links to an article about the closure of the UNTOP office in Tajikistan. United Nations Tajikistan Office of Peace Building (UNTOP) completed its mission after a 15 years presence in Tajikistan as one of the main contributors to peace building.

Finally, I reported on the new type of transportation in Tajikistan recently (RUS). Chinese minivans are everywhere in Tajikistan. There are many Chinese companies which produce these small vans but people in Dushanbe have found a general name for all of them – Tangem. Tangem is a name of a nurse from Chinese soap opera, which was extremely popular in Tajikistan.

In China this van costs 3,000 USD, and when it is transported to Dushanbe the price rises to 5,000 USD. While the fee for trolleybus equals 30 dirams (10 cents), for bus 40 dirams (14 cents), and for marshrutka 60 dirams (20 cents) in the city of Dushanbe, then for Tangem the passengers pay 1 somoni (35 cents).

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