On November 28, 2022, within the Initiative for establishment of Business Ombudsman Institution in BiH, representatives of West East Forum for Ethics and Compliance held an online meeting with representatives of The Commissioner for Protection of Rights and Legitimate Interests of Entrepreneurs under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Mirshod Nasullaev and Mrs. Nazima Saidaliyeva in order to talk about their experience in establishment of this institution in Uzbekistan.

Mr. Nasullaev stated that the Institute of the Business Ombudsperson was established in 2017 to protect the rights and legitimate interests of businesses and provide legal support. The institution went through two reforms in 2019 and 2022. Through these two reforms the institution has got additional administrative powers including the right to monitor the legality of inspections of business entities (obtained through second reform).

An interesting fact that sets this model apart from other models of the business ombudsman institution is that The Commissioner for Protection of Rights and Legitimate Interests of Entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan has the right to apply to the courts with statements, claims and complaints in the interests of business entities. They also have the right to visit prisoners who are there because of committing economic crimes – crimes related to business, in general. When the committer of a criminal act related to business goes to prison, prisoner has the right to appeal to their institution in writing. Letters and communication between the Business Ombudsman and prisoners are confidential.

According to Mr. Nasullaev their greatest achievement is numerous legislative proposals that have had a positive impact on the protection and development of business. Also, during the COVID 19 pandemic, when everything was blocked and nobody was working, they made about 100 measures to help businesses. By adopting these measures, the state enabled businesses to survive that period. When the whole world was struggling with the crisis, Uzbekistan had a GDP increase of 2-3% with the help of the measures this Institution proposed for the business community.

Mr. Nasullaev stated that one of the biggest advantages of their Business Ombudsman model are their administrative powers. Their recommendations are binding for government bodies, and Institution have the right to propose new laws, what they did by submitting cca 500 proposals aimed at amending regulation and improvement of investment climate and doing business in Uzbekistan.

The WEFEC team would like to thank Mr. Nasullaev and the The Commissioner for Protection of Rights and Legitimate Interests of Entrepreneurs under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for valuable information and advice, as well as the support they provided for the Business Ombudsman Initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The project “Business Ombudsman Initiative” started in August 2022 with the purpose to collect information on different modes of establishment and operation of institutions for the protection of rights of businesses and entrepreneurs in the world and to analyze possibilities for establishment similar institutions in BiH. Together with stake holders from the business sector, government and international community, WEFEC will discuss potential solutions and define basic principles for the establishment of the Office of Business Ombudsman in BiH. Based on joint conclusions, WEFEC and stake holders will develop a road map for future activities on advocating for protection of legitimate business rights.

 “This project was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily  reflect those of the United States Department of State”.