Entrepreneurs leaving business in thousands in Tajikistan

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In Tajikistan, during the past year of 2023, more than 21,000 entrepreneurs either discontinued their activities or changed their occupations, Radio Ozodi (RF/RFE in Tajik) reports.

Of these, 1,000 were legal entities, and over 20,000 were individual entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs themselves and experts believe that high taxes, corruption issues, and excessive inspections make their work unbearable.

Islambeck Yodgorov, a resident of Dushanbe, is among the former businessmen who decided to close his business. For two years, he was engaged in the import and sale of pharmaceuticals, but numerous obstacles prevented him from developing the business further. Like many other residents of Tajikistan, he thought it would be better to seek labor migration.

"I had a pharmacy," Islambeck told Radio Ozodi. "But there were many problems. On one hand, it was rent, electricity and water bills, and high taxes. On the other hand, they constantly came and said, for example, 'we are from the sanitary-epidemiological station for an inspection,' and so on. There were many such checks. The only positive was when they switched to a non-cash payment system, and taxes had to be paid online. Here, no one could demand extra payments anymore."

However, weighing all the pros and cons, Islambeck considered continuing his pharmacy business unprofitable and decided to leave this business.

During a press conference on February 13 by the leadership of Tajikistan's State Committee on Investments and State Property Management, obstacles in the private and medium-sized business sector were also discussed. Here, they are confident that those who left private business simply changed their line of work.

The head of the committee, Sultan Rahimzoda, claims that a large number of entrepreneurs decided to switch from activities based on patent payments to working as legal entities. As a result, according to him, the number of individual entrepreneurs decreased.

Rahimzoda stated: "The reasons are of an objective nature. Some entrepreneurs are registered but not working. When the relevant inspections were carried out, they identified such entrepreneurs and removed them from the register. When the liquidation process begins, in fact, there is a change of activity from one sphere of entrepreneurial services to another."

In 2023, Tajikistan registered 33,000 new entrepreneurs. The authorities claim that this year they provided broad benefits for private businesses and investors, and the number of inspections was reduced from 27 to 23 types. However, many entrepreneurs believe that these statements often only exist on paper.

In Tajikistan, there are 350,000 subjects of entrepreneurial activity. However, according to experts, business and investments in Tajikistan need profound reforms.

Economist Fozildzhon Fathulloev believes that private entrepreneurs in the country need comprehensive support. "The lack of such support leads to disappointment. They don't necessarily need to be given money, but some privileges and relaxations, such as tax relief, are definitely necessary. Otherwise, many would not have left their business."


February 21, 2024