Kazakh President Appoints New PM, Outlines New Economic Measures

Kazakh President Appoints New PM, Outlines New Economic Measures

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed former First Deputy Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev as the country’s Prime Minister Sept. 9, reported the Akorda Presidential Residence press service. Askar Mamin, former head of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, the national railway company, was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister.


Sagintayev was born Oct.13, 1963. He graduated from the department of economics of the Kazakh State University and holds a PhD in economics. Sagintayev previously served as the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, First Deputy Chairman of the Nur Otan Party and Minister of Regional Development. He also served as the governor of the Pavlodar region.


Earlier in the day, Nazarbayev met with government authorities at an extended meeting in the Akorda Presidential Palace, where he outlined a number of specific tasks for the coming period.


The participants discussed issues of economic diversification, export, micro-crediting, affordable housing, road infrastructure and the nation’s socio-economic development, as well as identified measures to ensure further economic growth.


Nazarbayev stressed the government’s main task is to improve the population’s standard of living. He outlined issues of massive entrepreneurship as one of the main priorities, as well as tasked to ensure further development of relevant programmes and improve support tools.


“I instruct the government jointly with akims (governors and mayors) to take measures for the organisation of cooperatives in rural areas, which should ensure the marketing and processing of agricultural products,” he said.


Nazarbayev also noted the need for further work on the free professional education for all project.


By the end of the year, the state budget is expected to be replenished with 830 billion tenge (US$2.5 billion) of additional income. This will provide an opportunity to move from the crisis management plan and solving current problems to implementing strategic development objectives, he said.


The President suggested using until the end of the year to prepare the state of agribusiness development programme on the basis of the Agribusiness 2020 programme.


He noted the need to improve the system of subsidies in the agricultural sector, reduce inefficient subsidies and focus on productivity growth. He instructed the government to allocate the necessary additional funding in the amount of 97 billion tenge (US$287.1 million) this year to support agribusiness, specifically mentioning the issue of veterinary safety.


The diversification of the whole economy and export would be the key to its stability, said Nazarbayev. Therefore, the government and akims should focus on export stimulation and development.


“We started the second five-year industrial programme. It is crucial to improve the quality of selected projects. I emphasise that a new five-year plan should be oriented on non-primary export products. The main criteria for selection of projects should be export capacity, high performance and innovation. I instruct the government to allocate the necessary additional funding to support the programme in the amount of 112 billion tenge (US$331.5 million),” he said.


In addition, Nazarbayev stressed that an important trend to diversify the economy is implementing the agreements with China regarding the Silk Road Economic Belt programme.


The head of state noted the Nurly Zhol state programme is currently the main instrument to develop the transport infrastructure and support the economy. He initiated allocating an additional 74 billion tenge (US$219 million) this year to accelerate implementing the ongoing infrastructure projects.


Nazarbayev noted stabilisation of the currency market situation has already brought positive results. In this regard, he instructed the National Bank jointly with the government to take additional measures to restore long-term lending activity.


The President noted one of the major sources of economic investment is borrowing from international financial institutions.


“The cooperation programme with the international financial organisations was approved in 2014. Under this programme, the international financial institutions, including the World Bank, EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), ADB (Asian Development Bank) and IDB (Islamic Development Bank) are planning to allocate up to seven billion dollars to Kazakhstan in the next five years. The government and akims need to consider the possibility of expanding this programme and attracting additional funds to the economy,” he said.


Nazarbayev added quite a bit of attention is being paid to developing housing.


“Last year, we introduced nine million square metres of housing. It was a record figure for the country. At the end of 2016, it is expected that the volume of housing construction will exceed 10 million square metres. Since 2005, the state has implemented relevant programmes in order to solve the problem of providing the population with affordable housing. At the same time, the population’s need for housing remains high. The solution to the problem requires new integrated approaches,” he said.


In this regard, Nazarbayev instructed the government to develop Nurly Zher, a unified housing construction programme integrating all the issues of the existing housing programmes. He noted continued construction of credit housing through a housing savings system should become the other component of the programme.


Following the meeting, Nazarbayev instructed revising the central government budget for the current year and allocating an additional 380 billion tenge (US$1.1 billion) to implement priority projects and activities. At the same time, he instructed retaining the funds of the National Fund.


“In 2016, I instruct reducing the amount of the guaranteed transfer [from the National Fund] on 400 billion tenge (US$1.2 billion) and the targeted transfer on 50 billion tenge (US$148 million). The government needs to revise the costs of executing my orders for the coming three-year period in the draft budget for 2017-2018, which will be submitted to the Parliament,” he said.


A Sept. 8 announcement noted former Prime Minister Karim Massimov was appointed Chairman of the National Security Committee. He replaced Vladimir Zhumakanov, who was appointed as an advisor to the President.


The Astana Times






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