New measures to tackle economic crisis announced in Kazakhstan

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The 17th congress of the largest national party in Kazakhstan. Credits: President’s Press Office

29 Jan. — Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev said that a new economic plan had been approved by the government and National Bank. The announcement came at the 17th congress of Kazakhstan’s largest political party Nur Otan. The plan is aimed to combat the crisis, first of all, by increasing employment and moving forward with infrastructural projects initiated earlier.

Affected by falling oil prices and the weakening of the economy in Russia, Kazakhstan’s economy has not experienced an easy past few years. Data from the republic’s Committee on Statistics confirms that the trend towards a slowdown in GDP growth has taken on a persistent character, regressing to 2008-9 indicators.

Back in 2014, President Nursultan Nazarbayev initiated the Path to the Future programme. Its objectives were to support infrastructural projects and to stimulate small and medium-sized business. The new economic plan continues these efforts. It is aimed at the creation of over 400,000 jobs (the official number of unemployed persons in the republic being 440-450,000), the majority of them in the new businesses created as part of the 2014 programme.

567567547657In his speech, the president also stated that at this moment it is important to have a working-class profession. “The aspiration of all Kazakhstanis to receive a higher education is praiseworthy, but if all you get with this higher education is a ‘crust’ and you can’t find a job anywhere, and if because of it we lose a good cook, a good programmer and good locksmith, turner, what are we gaining?” he asked rhetorically.

In 2017 will begin the implementation of the project Free Technical Education for All, and starting in 2019 high school graduates will be guaranteed a free first technical education. The state will also provide support for society’s   vulnerable elements and the disabled.

Finally, the adopted measures must supplement the structural changes and the returns received from large-scale industrial projects. Meanwhile, the largest of them (Kashagan, LLP Tengizchevroil, Beineu-Bozoi-Shymkent Gas Pipeline and Caspian Pipeline Consortium) are connected to the oil and gas sector, which in conditions of falling oil prices are significantly less attractive than before.

Concerning other sectors, it is expected that the export of non-ferrous metals will see a 20% increase by 2021. The expectations are also tied to three transport projects (the Western Europe–Western China highway, Eurasian Transcontinental Corridor and Trans-Caspian Route)..

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