By Sarvarbek Abdullaev

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“Initiative budget” is one of the best projects of recent years in Uzbekistan. It is solving the problems that have plagued the population for several years and reawakening their hope for reforms. The article discusses the achievements and shortcomings of this system.

How did it all begin?

It is a characteristic of a democratic country that the citizens of the country decide how to use the budget funds gathered from the taxes they pay. Over the past two years, Uzbeks have had the opportunity to participate in the allocation of the budget within the framework of the funds allocated from the budget through the “Initiative Budget” project. Now, there is no need for them to ask for the local government to pave the roads of the neighborhood or to reconstruct schools where their children study. More clarifying, it is enough for them to insert their proposals on the site and collect more votes than others. Of course, not every initiative is accepted and allocated funds, but still Uzbek citizens can vote for the projects which they consider the most important for them and compete with other projects for the allocation of funds.

On August 24, 2018, the Presidential Decree on “Measures to ensure openness of budget information and active participation of citizens in the budget process” came into force. According to this decree, the Ministry of Finance, together with the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications Development, became ensuring the launch and operation of the “Open Budget” information portal by January 1, 2019.

157 billion soums were allocated to the “Initiative Budget” held for the first time in 2021, and even then many people said that our people were not ready for it. But no. The active participation of the population was much higher than expected, they came up with tireless initiatives to allocate funds to the family polyclinic, school and other socially important objects. As a result, the amount of this fund was increased to 521 billion soums. The most gratifying thing was that the Uzbek people were able to show how proactive they are. People of Uzbekistan submitted more than 41 thousand proposals in the first year.

The best project of recent years

Later, in 2022, the amount of funds allocated for citizens’ initiatives was significantly increased: 1 trillion 26 billion. It is as twice as in 2021. According to the 2022 program, proposals should have the following content:

— drinking water supply;

— repair of internal roads;

— problems with lighting systems;

— repair of schools, kindergartens, medical associations and other social facilities, provision of material and technical equipment;

— repair or equipping of public facilities, etc.

Later, the introduction of “Entrepreneurial Budget Ambassador” competition for students made the situation even better. According to the competition announced by the Ministry of Finance, 50 students who registered on the site and left an initiative, and managed to collect the most votes for their initiative were awarded the special title of “Entrepreneurial Budget Ambassador” and many valuable gifts were announced. Students also became more active and the number of initiatives increased significantly.

All of them created tremendous efficiency: in the second season, the number of initiatives increased by 70,000, and the number of voted citizens  reached to 6 million. The most interesting thing is that the site took the 2nd place among the most visited sites in the Uzbek segment.

Voting for the second season ended on April 1 of this year. Initially, according to the information on the site, 2215 initiatives were declared winners, and later, according to the President’s decision No. 197, additional 85.4 billion soums were allocated for financing 139 projects which received more than 2,000 votes, but were not declared as a winner.


At a glance, everything seems to be going well with these projects. However, there appeared some shortcomings along with achievements.

Firstly, proposals cannot be accepted for the construction of a new building. But what if an old school in a certain area falls into disrepair and cannot be reconstructed without rebuilding it? Or if there is neither a football field for children to play in a neighborhood nor a library to read different books, why should they not apply for the construction of a library or football field? It is true that the cost of the proposed project should not exceed 1 billion soums, however, in my opinion, if the estimate of the useful object proposed to be built is less than 1 billion soums, this proposal should be put to the vote like other proposals.

Secondly, one citizen should have only one vote. That is, it is necessary to ensure that each user can vote only for one project and once. Artificially collecting votes for the project will stop only if such a system is put in place. According to the current system, you can vote as many SIM cards as you have. This means one SIM card – one vote. Any person can buy 10 SIM cards and vote 10 times for the project that interests him. In the current situation, it is impossible to find out whether a citizen is voting for only one project and once. Such problems, of course, should be eliminated, but not in the way proposed by the deputies.

Deputies of the legislative chamber of the Oliy Majlis, such as Gulbakhor Saidganieva and Jakhongir Abdurasulov, started talking about the need to launch the One-id system for voting on the site. In my opinion, this is a negative signal as One-id is a complex system. It takes at least 10 minutes and passport information for the user to register in this system. In the current system, citizens spend only one minute to vote, but in the system proposed by the deputies, voting is bureaucratized. This will undoubtedly lead to a sharp decrease in the number of voters. If the number of voters decreases, the project might be over in short time. We should establish such a system that a citizen can vote only once, but it should not be complicated to register like One-id.

Thirdly, there are certain cases in which officials use this project for their own needs. For example, three projects that received the most votes in the framework of the project in 2021 were directly related to Chilonzor district administration. They are: building a kitchen for the Chilonzor district administration, repairing the sector headquarters of the Chilonzor district, delivering tools to the Chilonzor District Improvement Department. The total cost of the above three projects is 2 billion 99 million soums. In terms of the law, there is no problem here, the project with the most votes is declared the winner and financed. But would it be much viser to finance projects like the above directly from the budget? In my view, the funds from the “Initiative Budget” should be spent on projects that are beneficial for a wide segment of the population. True, after the protests on social networks, money was not allocated to the above projects, but if there were no protests, money would have been allocated to them. From my standpoint, within the framework of the “Initiative Budget”, state bodies should not introduce proposals that are beneficial to them, and such proposals should be rejected at the first stage. For information, submitted proposals are checked for compliance with the established criteria before being put to the vote.


My personal proposal is that, a certain part of the funds allocated to this project (for example, 5 or 3 percent) should be directed to the construction of libraries. After all, before blaming the young generation for not reading books, it would be necessary to build at least one library in one district. It is very important to repair the roads and light the streets, but building facilities that serve for the enlightenment of the nation is an investment for the future. If we can build such libraries today, young generation will grow up to solve other problems in the future.


In conclusion, there is no doubt that “Initiative Budget” has been one of the best public projects of recent years. It has shown how wrong to say that our people are not ready. It turned out that citizens of Uzbekistan are more proactive than we expected, and it is great to see their happiness. Nonetheless, as I articulated above, to run them efficiently, such important initiatives shall be constantly improved by the responsible state authorities.

Cite as:  Sarvarbek Abdullaev, “’Initiative budget’. Is this a perfect project?”, Uzbekistan Law Blog, 04.09.2022.