17:18 / 18.07.2022
Soup for 130,000 soums, samosa for 70,000 soums – MIFT announces state expenditure in luxury forum

More than 15 billion soums were spent to hold the Tashkent International Investment Forum. The MIFT signed an agreement with “Sky Events” LLC on the purchase of a 1.5-liter Coca-Cola drink for 32,000 soums, and “Sochnaya dolina” juice for 48,000 soums.

Photo: MIFT

It is reported that at least 15 billion soums were spent on organizing the Tashkent International Investment Forum, which took place on March 24-26. The details of these expenses are causing heated discussion on social networks.

On March 15, the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade signed a contract worth about 7.3 billion soums with “Sky Events” LLC. The contract provided for the provision of services for holding the forum, the rental of several buildings and the organization of catering services.

The approved list includes:

  • 200,000 soums per portion of raspberries (230,000 soums including VAT, total 100 portions – 23 million soums);
  • 1 portion of black caviar 6 million 320 thousand soums;
  • one bottle of 0.33 ml “Chortoq” mineral water – 36,800 soums (as of July 16, 500 ml “Chortoq” mineral water is sold in Korzinka supermarkets for 6,490 soums);
  • 32,200 soums per 1.5-liter bottle of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Sprite drinks (estimated retail price in Tashkent is 11,000 soums);
  • 48,300 soums for each bottle of “Viko” and “Sochnaya dolina” fruit juices (the retail market price is between 12,000 and 16,000 soums).

Given that the forum was in March, some fruit prices may have been more expensive than current prices, but the price of the above soft drinks has not changed much over the past 4 months.

On March 24, the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade signed a contract for 2 billion 53 million soums with Lux Taxi LLC.

As part of the agreement, the ministry rented the following vehicles on March 21-28:

  • 155 Mercedes W222 (total amount paid – 759 million 500 thousand soums);
  • 74 Mercedes W221/2 (266.4 million soums);
  • 100 Mercedes W221 (316 million soums);
  • 186 Mercedes Vito (448.2 million soums);
  • 148 Malibu cars (263 million soums).

Also, the ministry concluded an agreement worth 2 billion 585 million soums with the company “Akfa Dream World” (Hilton) to provide food for the visiting guests.

The prices of some of the dishes served at the Forum dining table:

  • 1 piece of samosa – 70 thousand soums;
  • 1 portion of small manti – 50 thousand soums;
  • 1 portion of soup – from 80,000 to 130,000 soums;
  • 1 portion of norin – 130 thousand soums;
  • 1 portion of mastava – 50,000 soums.

Prices are shown without VAT. According to the State Tax Committee, “Akfa Dream World” (Hilton) is exempt or privileged from a number of taxes, including VAT, property tax, social tax, personal income tax and land tax. In 2021, the company’s VAT benefits amounted to 21.9 billion soums.

In an interview in 2019, the governor of Tashkent city, Jahongir Artikkhodjayev, said that after the completion of construction works on the Hilton Hotel and Congress Hall, they would be handed over to the state, and the structures would not be used as a source of income.

It is noteworthy that the above-mentioned companies “Sky Events” LLC and “Akfa Dream World” are registered at almost the same address (Shaykhontakhur district, Islam Karimov street, block 5, buildings 1-2 and 1).

In addition to the above, the following agreements have been concluded:

  • 457 million soums for rent of stage and screens with “Ahadmix-Yastreb” LLC;
  • 798 million 500 thousand soums for the provision of sound devices with the “Republican Special Communication Network” under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of ICT Development;
  • 253 million 200 thousand soums for hall rent and food with “Akfa Dream World”;
  • 1 billion 190 million soums for rent of hall and buffet table for 1,500 seats in “International” hotel;
  • 398 million soums for the flag lease with the “Shorakhmat-Fayz” family enterprise.

Economist Otabek Bakirov writes that the ministry has not paid the money to some organizations that helped in the organization of the forum and is still in debt. In particular, it is said that Webmedia Information, which provides advertising and PR services, was not paid for its services.

According to Article 56 of the Law “On State Procurement”, if by the presidential decrees or the decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers the right to make purchases is given to the public customers without holding a tender, the procurement procedure is carried out by selection, regardless of the amount of the public purchase.

In cases where the value of goods (works, services) exceeds 25 thousand (six thousand for budget customers, 1.8 billion soums at current prices) times of the BCA, technical assignments for state procurement are submitted to the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction for examination in accordance with the law. It will be included in the center of a comprehensive examination of projects and import contracts.

Therefore, the above purchases made by MIFT at the expense of budget funds should have been approved by the Comprehensive Expertise Center.

It should be recalled that on September 1-4, 2021, the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Economic Forum of Uzbekistan on September 29-30, and the “Energy Forum of Uzbekistan – 2022” were held in June of this year at the International Congress Center in Tashkent. Information about how much money was spent on these international conferences is not disclosed.

Last year, the Tashkent city administration was criticized for spending 27 million soums from the budget for dinner for veterans from Russia.