(Clarifies number of workers under finance ministry umbrella) (Adds details, background)
TASHKENT, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan’s Finance Ministry has sacked 562 employees after President Shavkat Mirziyoyev ordered it to root out inefficiency and get rid of what he had called “rats” tarnishing its reputation, the state news agency UzA reported on Wednesday.
The purge followed criticism of the ministry by Mirziyoyev last week over what he described as a poorly drafted state budget, failure to finance important projects in various provinces and embellishing economic data.
The ministry employs about 3,000 people and a further 13,000 in subordinate agencies such as the state pension fund.
According to the UzA report, the sacked officials were holdovers from “a previous minister”, a clear reference to Rustam Azimov, former minister of finance and deputy prime minister sacked by Mirziyoyev in June. The report did not identify Azimov by name.
Mirziyoyev was elected president last December following the death in September 2016 of Islam Karimov, who had ruled the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
He has reshuffled the cabinet during his first year in power and implemented some economic reforms such as the liberalisation of foreign exchange regulations.
Mirziyoyev named Djamshid Kuchkarov finance minister last month, replacing his previous appointee Botir Khodjayev who took over the Economy Ministry instead. (Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Ralph Boulton)