Uzbek Teachers Paid in Chickens

MOSCOW. April 12. KAZINFORM   Public sector workers in Uzbekistan received part of their wages in Serbian chickens and might be getting Ukrainian calves soon, Radio Liberty said on Wednesday.

According to  RIA Novosti,  although the authorities said it was a voluntary action, one of the teachers in the Bukhara region in central Uzbekistan, Odil, said the chickens had been forced on them.

"We were forced to take ten chickens each," he said. "One Serbian chicken is valued at 5.5 soms ($3 at the official rate)... Local chickens are cheaper but we were left no choice."

Local officials argued that the chicken campaign was highly successful, and added they would expand the practice to other parts of the region. Even the central Uzbek authorities are deliberating ways of replacing government allowances with calves, this time from Ukraine, the radio said.

The report said budget sector workers in the area received 20,000 chickens and another 40,000 would be handed out in the next few months.

Experts said the Uzbek government is looking to cut budget spending in the current deficit conditions. Average wages amount to $320 in the capital Tashkent and barely $100 in the provinces, according to official sources.


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