BISHKEK (TCA) — "Not one industrial enterprise has been opened in Kyrgyzstan during my presidency. But despite this, the budget revenue has doubled due to reforms that are being implemented by the Government,” President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev said on December 27 at his annual press conference. The president met with the media to sum up the results of 2014.
According to President Atambayev, the social and political situation has stabilized in the country. The World Bank excluded Kyrgyzstan from the list of poor countries and included into the category of developing middle-income countries.
The number of rallies and protests has fallen three times. According to a sociological research, only 2-3% of the population believes that the main problem is the country's political instability. This is ten times less than two years ago. It means that the country is developing steadily.
The country continues to implement 24 national projects worth more than $7 billion. Large national projects are being implemented in the energy sector, which will allow a continuous supply of electricity for industrial enterprises and the population.
The Upper Naryn hydroelectric power plant (HPP) cascade is under construction, and the Datka substation was put into operation in the Jalal-Abad province. Datka, connected to the Kemin substation, is the largest power grid linking the north and south of the country.
The government has found sources to fund projects. For example, the ADB is funding the reconstruction of the Toktogul HPP, which will be completed until 2021.
Atambayev also told about the construction boom, the fight against corruption, and reform of the judicial system.
If Kyrgyzstan does not join the Customs Union, it will have difficulties. Kyrgyzstan has obtained a lot of preferences for membership in the alliance.
According to the President, Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the new alliance is a chance to rebuild the Kyrgyz economy, which will be based on the service sector, agricultural and other sectors.
Kyrgyzstan will receive funds for restructuring of the economy. To improve customs posts, Russia will allocate $200 million and Kazakhstan $100 million. A Kyrgyz-Russian Development Fund has been created with $1 billion ($500 million from Russia, and the rest will be borrowed). With these resources Kyrgyzstan will be able to create jobs and improve its economy.
If the country needs fair courts and elections, it is necessary to change the Constitution, Atambayev said. For example, the election of local authorities is still held in the old way. The President believes that people, not the deputies, should elect the heads of local authorities.
Atambayev said that he does not plan to remain president for another term. He does not think about strengthening his powers, but on the contrary he insists on reducing them.
The Constitution which was written in one month cannot be perfect, he said. The judicial reform cannot be performed without changing the Constitution. However, the essence of the Constitution should not be changed.
It is also necessary to develop a mechanism in order the Parliament should be more involved in lawmaking and not interfere with the Government.
Parliament and elections
The President criticized the work of the Parliament, in particular, unreasoned government appointments. For instance, a person far from the cultural sphere was appointed Minister of Culture. The President was referring to the ex-minister Kamila Talieva. The president would not make such an appointment, Atambayev said.
A new Kyrgyzstan Parliament will be better than the current one. To make future elections fair, the state collects biometric data of the population.
Now the country has a constructive and radical opposition. Polls show that many politicians have begun to understand that they cannot come to power through riots, but have to prepare for the elections.
The current problems with the Kumtor gold mine arose due to shortcomings in the work of the Parliament, the President believes. Today, the fate of Kumtor can be solved only by parliamentarians.
The President advised MPs to forget about populism and think about the country when making a decision.
If last year MPs supported a 50/50 joint venture agreement, then it would be possible to gradually move on forward. But now, Centerra may not agree on these conditions. Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan may lose its arrested shares in Centerra. Therefore it is necessary to speed up the decision-making process on Kumtor, Atambayev said.
Half of a total amount of $1 billion in international arbitration claims against Kyrgyzstan refer to the Jerooy gold deposit. Atambayev believes that "the truth is on Kyrgyzstan’s side”. Atambayev believes that Kyrgyzstan made a right decision on Jerooy by revoking the license because the investor has not fulfilled its obligations.
It is necessary to hold a tender and then begin to develop Jerooy. According to the tender conditions, an investor has to solve legal disputes with the Visor company (former owner), he said. "If we want to become an independent country, we have to develop the mining industry,” the President stressed.
Commenting the other claim, he said that Kyrgyzstan has lost the case with Valery Belokon on Manas Bank, because the Kyrgyz Government did not allocate the necessary funds. There was no need to save money to pay good law firms, he said.
“In 2.5 years my term of office will end, and before I leave, I will make a new parliament to adopt a new Sustainable Development Strategy, and we will be economically strong country," Atambayev concluded.