>> TAJIKISTAN DECLARES FIRST CORONAVIRUS CASE, MORE THAN MONTH AFTER OTHER CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRIES (APRIL 30)
>> DROP IN REMITTANCES WILL KNOCK $650M FROM GDP, SAYS TAJIKISTAN GOVERNMENT (APRIL 17)
— After more than a month of denial, Tajikistan’s PM Kohir Rasulzoda said that the country had 15 cases of the coronavirus. He said that five of these were in Dushanbe and 10 were in the northern region of Sughd (April 30).
— As of July 6, there had been 6,058 official cases of the coronavirus and 52 deaths although analysts have said that they think the real tally may be far higher.
— Tajikistan started to ease its lockdown restrictions from June 15. It said that shopping malls, restaurants and shops could all reopen.
— Tajikistan’s parliament made it a criminal offence to spread the coronavirus and also handed police the power to impose fines on people not wearing a mask in public (June 10).
— Economists have said that a recession is looming in Russia because of the combined impact of the coronavirus and also a sharp drop in the value of oil. They also said that this recession in Russia will hit Tajikistan. Around 40% of Tajikistan’s GDP is earned from workers in Russia sending their cash back home. Thousands have already returned to Tajikistan because their jobs have disappeared.
— Prices have increased sharply in Tajikistan for staple goods. Reports said that potato prices have increased by 20% in a week.
— Tajikistan asked the IMF on April 15 for emergency funding to help it through the downturn triggered by the coronavirus. The Tajik economy is particularly prone to a downturn in Russia. Remittances from Russia make up around a third of its GDP. The EU has already pledged to give 48m euros to Tajikistan to help it through the coronavirus economic crisis.
— Tajikistan’s government said on April 17 that a fall in remittances from Russia, and to a lesser extent Kazakhstan, will wipe $650m from its GDP. This represents a fall of about 8.1%.
— The head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Jamie Fly, criticised the Tajik authorities for blocking journalists’ efforts to report on the coronavirus inside Tajikistan (April 1).
— Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon fired Nasim Olimzoda as health minister (May 5).