TASHKENT: Uzbekistan has announced bids to sell off two state-owned banks to private hands with a goal to maximise the transaction value and further improve the banks’ financial stability. According to the State Assets Management Agency, the bids to sell 100-percent equity stake in the authorized capital of Poytaxt Bank and UzAgroExportBank were in accordance with a government program to reform the country’s banking sector. Global consulting firms Deloitte and Grant Thornton were selected as privatization consultants in the transactions, and applications for bidding are received until June 20, the agency said. Last year, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev approved a list of state-owned properties and enterprises to be sold to the private sector to speed up the privatization process. Since Mirziyoyev took office in 2016, Uzbekistan has taken a series of measures to promote economic reforms.