In connection with the 25th anniversary of Uzbek Independence, school principals in the Uchkuprik district of the Fergana region are extorted to deposit 100 thousand Uzbekistani Som (33,5 USD) to the “Agrobank” to fund benefit payments for pensioners.
The head of the district education department has ordered school principals to make payments of 100 thousand Som either by card or cash at the Agrobank. “This is being implemented on behalf of regional khokim to compliment all elderly and disabled people as well as people who have lost a family breadwinner”, said one of school principals. As bank employees explained, the regional khokim has made this decision to pay off the pensions on time despite the current lack of available cash money in the country.
Only those who make payments of 100 thousand Som in cash, and not by card, will have their money deposited on their account. Once the pensioners have received their benefits, the deposited money shall be returned.
The background to this initiative is the current lack of cash money in Uzbekistan. By demanding people to deposit cash money at a bank, the government avoids printing new cash money and thus causing a higher inflation. People may access use deposited money via cards. The problem, however, is that it is not possible to pay by car erveywhere.
“We do not possess any cash money, even though we are school principals. Nowadays, the only way to withdraw money from our debit card is to give up 18% of interest rates to certain kind of ‘masters of their craft’ and ‘benefactors’.”
One of the bank employees confirmed this information during a conversation with a correspondent of Eltuz. He did not make any comments though about when this situation will change.
The Eltuz correspondent tried to contact the regional branches of “Agrobank” to figure out if this initiative applied to all districts or to Uchkuprik only. However, neither the regional branch, nor the branches in Oltiariq and Kokand could be reached by phone.