KAZAKHSTAN - Diplomacy
President, Republic of Kazakhstan
HE Nursultan A. Nazarbayev began his working career in 1960 at the Karaganda Metallurgical Industrial Complex. He entered politics in 1969 in the Karaganda region. In 1979, he worked as Secretary for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. In 1984 he then became Chairman of the Ministers’ Council. Between 1989 and 1991 he served as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan and Chairman of the High Council of Kazakhstan. He has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation achieved independence in 1991.
Today’s world is facing new challenges and threats. Its economy has still not recovered from the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis. And meanwhile, the geopolitical crisis and sanctions policy of the leading powers create additional obstacles for recovery.
From my experience, I feel that 2015 will be a time of global trials. The entire architecture of the world will be changing. Only strong states, with their people united, will manage to face these obstacles. Kazakhstan, as a part of the world economy and a country located close to the epicentre of geopolitical tensions, is also experiencing several challenges. The results are clearly observable: prices in global markets are dropping, and general economic growth is slowing down. We need to revise our own plans, and make adjustments for the coming period. There is no time for hesitation. The measures I will talk about today will be implemented in 2015.
The government is already working quickly at my order. We have revised the parameters of the republic’s budget for 2015. And this is the right approach, as the drop in prices of raw material exports has led to the reduction of our national income. At the same time, the government has a tough, yet specific task: it must fulfil all social responsibilities in full.
In a time of crisis, such as we are experincing the world over, economic policies must be re-evaluated. The sectors that need support are those that create the highest multiplier effect on economic growth and employment. We have already had such an experience. Suffice it to recall our successful anti-crisis measures in 2007-2009. As you see, life makes adjustments to the best-laid plans. And we should add new content to the platform of our party based on today’s reality.
On my instruction, the government has completed the drafting of a new large-scale development program. Today, as we respond to the challenges we face, I take the occasion to proclaim Kazakhstan’s New Economic Policy “Nurly Zhol” (The Bright Road).
Over the years, when the situation in external markets was favorable, and the prices of oil and our export products were at a sufficiently high level, we diverted revenues from those exports to the National Fund. One of the main tasks of the National Fund is to increase the resistance of our economy to external shocks, including a decline in the prices of natural resources. Now we are in the period when we must use these reserves, as they will help us overcome times of unease and stimulate economic growth.
In February, a decision was made to allocate KZT1 trillion from the National Fund to support economic growth and employment in 2014-15 in two tranches of KZT500 billion. To finalize the initiated projects and resolve pressing issues, I have instructed the government to divert the second tranche of KZT500 billion from the National Fund to the following goals. First, KZT100 billion should be allocated to the issuing of easy-term loans to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large enterprises. This will secure the implementation of projects in the food and chemical industries, and engineering, as well as the service sector.
Second, to revive the banking sector and buy out “bad” loans, I have ordered additional capitalization of the Fund of Problem Loans in the amount of KZT250 billion in 2015.
Third, to raise new investments, we need to improve respective conditions. For these purposes, I have ordered the government to allocate KZT81 billion in 2015 to complete the construction of the “dry port” complex, the infrastructure of the special economic zones at Khorgos—East Gate and the National Industrial Petrochemical Technological Park in Atyrau and Taraz.
Fourth, to continue the construction of the Expo 2017, I have ordered the allocation of KZT40 billion in 2015, adding to the already allocated KZT25 billion.
Fifth, on the eve of Expo 2017, we need to take care of the development of Astana’s transport infrastructure. This year the capital’s airport will reach its maximum capacity of 3.5 million people. Therefore, to increase its potential, I have ordered the allocation in 2015 of KZT29 billion towards the construction of a new terminal and a reconstruction of the landing strip. This will allow us to increase the airport capacity to 7.1 million passengers per year by 2017.
In light of new external risks for the development of our economy, we need fresh initiatives to stimulate business activity and employment. The Infrastructure Development Plan, which I want to make public today, will become the core of the New Economic Policy. It is intended to last for five years and is to run in parallel with the Second Five Year term of the Programme of Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development. More than 100 foreign companies intend to participate in its implementation. The total investment portfolio will amount to KZT6 trillion, with the state contributing 15% of the total. All the regions of Kazakhstan need to be closely connected by railroads, highways, and air services. The nine roads connecting with each other in Astana are like the roots of life, spreading our capital’s creative spirit. Improving interconnectivity between the regions will eventually lead to a greater domestic wellbeing. It will strengthen trade and economic ties between the regions. New markets will emerge from within the country.
We established the National Fund mainly to provide stable social and economic development, and to protect our country’s economy from unpredictable circumstances. It is now time to use this fund to meet our needs. Kazakhstan should avoid repeating the mistakes of other countries. We have to use our internal resources efficiently for economic growth.
The New Economic Policy “Nurly Zhol” will become a driver of growth in our economy during the coming years: 200,000 new jobs will be created by the construction of roads alone. And this means greater employment and growth of income for the population. “Nurly Zhol” will create a multiplier effect in other economic sectors: production of cement, metal, machinery, bitumen, equipment, and related services. Roads are lifelines for Kazakhstan. Life has always emerged and developed in our vast expanses around roads. Yet we must create a transport network such that car, railway, and airlines stretch in all directions from Astana.
The new lines built by the people of Kazakhstan will renew our economy and community. They will firmly link all corners of our country with its center. Cargo traffic will accelerate and increase. The volume of transit through the country will grow. Our citizens will drive on modern and quality highways, and will be able to get to any region quickly and safely. Social infrastructure will improve, while new and modern schools and hospitals will provide high-quality services. Finally, these will impact the welfare and quality of life of each citizen of Kazakhstan. And the main consideration is that all of this will remain in our land as the wealth of our future generations.
KAZAKHSTAN - Real Estate & Construction
CEO, Mercury Properties
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