Ex-Soviet Uzbekistan plans privatization drive

Uzbekistan's government plans to sell off almost 500 state assets over the next two years in an ongoing drive to expand the private sector in this former Soviet nation.

Media in Uzbekistan cited Uzbek state property committee deputy chairman Saifitdlin Gafarov as saying Tuesday that assets in the oil, gas, energy, metals, agriculture, electronics and pharmaceuticals industries sectors will be made available for purchase.

Privately owned news portal UzReport.com cited government officials as saying one aim was to attract foreign investors to help boost Uzbekistan's technological capacity.

The Central Asian nation north of Afghanistan has pursued a strict policy of economic self-reliance since gaining independence in 1991 but has recently shown openness to international financial support.