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Robin Ord-Smith appointed Business Ombudsman of Kyrgyzstan

August 19, 2019

The former British Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Robin Ord-Smith, has been appointed the country’s business ombudsman, according to a decree signed by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziyev on August 15.

Protection of the rights of entrepreneurs and business is among the main tasks of the Kyrgyz government, Deputy Economy Minister Eldar Alisherov said at a press conference in Bishkek on August 16, 2019.

The main goal of creating the Business Ombudsman Institution is to ensure guarantees of state protection of the rights and legitimate interests of entrepreneurs and their observance by local authorities, institutions and state enterprises and officials.

The Supervisory Board is the Business Ombudsman’s governing body. It which consists of authorized representatives of three parties – the Government represented by Deputy Minister Alisherov, international development partners and business associations.

The business associations included the International Business Council, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, JIA, the Association of Markets, and others. Five out of seven business associations including IBC will work on a ongoing basis and two will change regularly, Alisherov said.

The Supervisory Board has no right to interfere in the activities of the Business Ombudsman Institution, the Deputy Minister added.

According to the Chaiperson of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Asia, the Business Ombudsman Supervisory Board member, Nazira Beishenalieva, both Kyrgyzstan citizens and foreigners could apply for this position. As a result, the strong candidate won.

When creating this institution, the experience of Ukraine was considered. The Business Ombudsman will be elected for five years with the right to be elected for no more than two terms. The institution will include two deputy heads and a secretariat. The EBRD will be fully engaged in financing, Nazira Beishenalieva added.

On the same day, August 16, Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Mukhammedkaly Abylgaziev met with Robin Ord-Smith.

The Head of Government stressed the great experience of the former British Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic and praised this as a positive signal for the business community and foreign investors.

“Entrepreneurs in the country often feel vulnerable, and we receive many complaints from businesses regarding non-transparent mechanisms for regulating entrepreneurial activities that are not provided for by law. One of the effective mechanisms in international practice is the introduction of the Business Ombudsman Institution,” the Prime Minister said.

The appointment of the Business Ombudsman and the launch of this institution will increase the trust of citizens and the business community in the Government and state bodies, and will contribute to the transparency of government bodies to prevent corruption and other violations of the rights and legitimate interests of business, the Prime Minister said.

He stressed the importance of the speedy development of a high-quality and comprehensive bill "On Business Ombudsman" to increase the efficiency and strengthen the activities of this organization.