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CORONA VIRUS - The situation in Tajikistan

1. General situation

On April 30, 2020, authorities confirmed the first 15 cases of COVID-19 in two geographically distant regions. The announcement of first COVID-19 cases in Tajikistan came immediately ahead of a visit by a World Health Organization (WHO) team to the country. 

As of January 30th, 2022, the total number of officially confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tajikistan has reached 17,308.

There is no curfew in Tajikistan, public transport is open, hotels, shops and restaurants are open, but it is necessary to maintain social distance.

Vaccination in Tajikistan is free of charge however mandatory for all citizens over 18 years of age. As of the end of October 2021, 46% of the country's adult population (more than 2.5 million people) have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Five types of vaccines are currently available: CoronaVac, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, and Sputnik V.

2. Preventive measures

On January 31, 2022, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population (MoHSPP) of Tajikistan,.152,100 additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were delivered by the United States through USAID and the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility,

Earlier, the United States provided 153,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Tajikistan through the USAID on December 31, 2021.

According to the latest information, all land borders between Tajikistan and neighbouring countries (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Afghanistan) remain closed. International air traffic has been suspended. To date, Tajikistan has only resumed flights with Afghanistan, China, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

Before boarding a flight to Tajikistan, travellers must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior of arrival.

3. Economy

a. Economic impact

The economy is recovering strongly. Real GDP expanded by 8.7 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2021. Domestic demand started recovering, with retail turnover growing 17.1 percent year-on-year and fixed investments increasing 22.1 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2021. Industrial output grew at a very high rate (23.4 percent year-on-year in the first six months of 2021) with strong gains in mining (150 percent year-on-year) and manufacturing (20.3 percent year-on-year). Agriculture expanded by 8.1 percent over the same period. The trade deficit narrowed in the first half of 2021 to USD 619 million, from USD 850 million in the first half of 2020. Exports nearly doubled in this period, driven by precious metals, while imports rose by 23 percent year-on-year as domestic demand has expanded.

However, data from the Russian central bank show that in the first quarter of 2021, remittances in US dollar terms from Russia to Tajikistan declined by 37 percent year-on-year

The economy is expected to grow by 6.5 percent in 2021. Remittances will support private consumption, and further expenditure on the Roghun project will drive public investment.

b. Trade barriers

The export of certain food products such as grains, beans, wheat, flour, rice, eggs, potatoes and meat are prohibited.

Botst u buiten de EU op handelsbelemmeringen of andere problemen op het vlak van markttoegang? Laat het ons weten via handelsbelemmering@fitagency.be. Wij analyseren uw aangifte en maken die via de geijkte kanalen over aan de bevoegde instanties.

c. Measures for economic relaunch

The government’s anti-crisis response focuses on food security, vulnerable groups and tax benefits for SMEs. In August 2021, the government announced that 165,000 vulnerable families would receive TJS 500 (USD 44) in emergency cash assistance.

Tajikistan received further financial assistance from international financial institutions in 2021.The World Bank provided USD 8.63 million to finance the purchase of vaccines and USD 12.57 million in grants financing in February 2021 as part of the Tajikistan Emergency COVID-19 Project, to further strengthen the country’s healthcare capacity and protect vulnerable population groups.

The Asian Development Bank approved a USD 25 million grant in June 2021 to help the country procure vaccines and improve its capacity to implement its vaccination program.

Measures are still in place to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A government decree, “Preventing the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on social and economic sectors of Tajikistan”, approved in June 2020, remains the main anchor of the country’s policy response to COVID-19. It includes measures such as price controls for key consumer goods and medical supplies, provision of free medical care to citizens diagnosed with COVID-19, tax holidays and free rent of state property.

The Agricultural sector reform seeks to increase productivity and improve access to export markets. In October 2020 the government adopted a new concept for creating and developing agro-industrial clusters up to 2040. The main aim is to diversify agricultural production and facilitate the deeper processing of food products through increased cooperation among farms, aggregators, processing enterprises, research institutions and other upstream and downstream actors. In addition, the government approved a program to promote the introduction of international food security standards (International Standard Global GAP) to improve agricultural producers’ access to export markets.

d. Economic outlook

In 2022 real GDP is forecast to grow by 6.2 percent. Downside risks relate to the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt trade and mobility. The main upside risk is associated with a rapid intensification of trade, transport and investment linkages with Uzbekistan. In the longer term, re-establishing trade and transport connections with Afghanistan will be important for the Tajik economy, particularly given Tajikistan’s plans to increase electricity exports following the completion of the Roghun hydropower plant and the CASA-1000 electricity transmission lines.

4. Useful links

5. Dossier Coronavirus

Het coronavirus heeft een wereldwijde impact, niet alleen op de gezondheid maar ook op de economie. Ook uw export kan hiervan gevolgen of zelfs hinder ondervinden.

FIT monitort de risico's dagelijks en ons buitenlands netwerk informeert u over alle implicaties voor Vlaamse exporteurs op hun internationale activiteiten.

In het dossier Coronavirus vindt u een aantal nuttige tips, adviezen en inzichten in de economische impact van de verspreiding van het virus op internationaal ondernemen.

Met vragen over internationaal ondernemen in tijden van Corona, kan u terecht bij exportadvies-corona@fitagency.be.

14 februari 2022