Uzbekistan, the heart of the Silk Road

Mr. Ergash R. Shaismatov, Minister of Power Industry and Electrification

Ministry of Power Industry and Electrification

Interview with

Mr. Ergash R. Shaismatov
Minister of Power Industry and Electrification

September 28th, 2000
What are the main responsibilities of the Ministry, and what have been the major changes that your Ministry had to face in the last couple of years?

The activity of our ministry consists of providing permanent electric energy and heating systems to the population and also to the national economy of Uzbekistan. I must say that part of the heat is provided by our ministry and another part is provided by the Ministry of Communal Services. The energetic system in Uzbekistan is very balanced and the produced energy meets the demand of Uzbekistan.

What have been the latest developments in the energy sector? You have become fully self sufficient in electricity. What has been your philosophy to achieve this goal?

I would say that we achieved this goal recently, however I would also like to mention that the energetic system is the largest in Central Asia. Initially it was developed by the construction of electric and power stations and in the 1950's. At that time there was a boom in construction of heating electric stations.

You supply part of the electric energy to Uzbekistan but you also export power. What are the countries you are exporting to, what are your export figures and what are your expectations for the future?

We have electric networks with neighboring countries including Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and the energetic systems in these countries are also developed and self sufficient. Even though those countries have a very big potential there is still not a very high demand.

There are plans to privatize the Syrdarya Power Plant, which is the biggest power plant in the country. At what stage are you within the privatization process?

Based on the Syrdarya Power station a Syrdarya Energy Company has been established. We have decided to form this company as a joint stock company. All the repair, installment and construction organizations as well as the ministries are already transformed into joint stock companies.

How would you compare the electricity prices in Uzbekistan to those in neighbouring Central Asian countries, and what have been the most recent developments in terms of power prices?

If today there was a set price for power that would have meant that it was a fixed price because we are the representatives of the State sector. As I mentioned before, we have power stations and heating power stations and when these companies will be transformed into joint stock companies they would have different costs of power production, and consequently the consumer in the free market will seek for a cheaper product. This is where the healthy competition comes into place.
Are you currently working on new projects for the construction of new power stations and are there any new projects in the pipeline for the next years to come?

A concept has been worked out for the development of the electric energy sector till 2010. This document presumes introduction of new power stations, construction of substations and electric networks taking into account the permanent growth in the demand of the population of Uzbekistan.

These projects certainly need investment and your policy is to attract foreign investors. What are you doing in order to attract and facilitate foreign investment into Uzbekistan?

Being at the initial stage of transforming the Syrdarya Power Plant into a joint stock company, we have some concrete offers from foreign investors. Besides that we are going to construct three sub stations in Tashkent, we have concrete offers from Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Ariston and many others.

As far as your future outlooks are concerned, where do you see the electrification sector in the next 5 years?

The Syrdarya Energetic Company is a pioneer in our industry in terms of transforming into a joint stock company. I think after having done this we will privatize other power stations pulling them out of state owned status.

If we may ask you a more personal question, what have been the major steps in your professional career?

I've been working in this sector since 1972. I started my career as a repairman and stage by stage I was getting promoted. Last year I was assigned as a Minister of Energy of Uzbekistan. All my activities are linked with the energy industry and I've not worked in any other industry.

NOTE: World Investment News Ltd cannot be made responsible for the content of unedited transcriptions.

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© World INvestment NEws, 2001.
This is the electronic edition of the special country report on Uzbekistan published in Forbes Global Magazine.
August 6th, 2001 Issue.
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