Kyrgyzstan: President addresses the Parliament and nation
- Written by Maria Levina
BISHKEK (TCA) — On June 27, at the end of the Parliament’s spring session, the President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov addressed the Parliament and the people outlining priorities of the country's development.
The current situation in the country needs changes, President Jeenbekov said. Many tasks have been accumulated and require immediate resolution.
During the years of independence the country has not obtained the desired result in the economic development. There are no close economic ties between the regions and industries.
Despite good legislation, the investment attractiveness of the country leaves much to be desired. “It should be openly acknowledged that due to corruption, many investments went to other countries,” the President said.
The basis of the market economy — the property right protection and compliance with the terms of the contracts — are not always respected. There have been cases of raiding, Jeenbekov said.
In the state administration, there were cases of protection of economic interests of a narrow circle of persons. As a result, the interests of the country were damaged.
Radical reforms needed
It is necessary to build a state in which the rights of each citizen should be strictly observed. For this, it is necessary to carry out cardinal reforms, Jeenbekov said.
The judicial reform is the most important. In 2019, a new and crucial stage in the life of society and the State will begin. The results of judicial reform will lead society to positive changes.
New codes and laws regulating the judicial and legal sphere will come into force. Strong measures will be taken against those who will try to sabotage the reforms. The Government should allocate the necessary funds to implement these tasks.
The society is dissatisfied with the fact that state bodies designed to fight corruption “acted unfairly themselves”. The most important task — the reform of law enforcement bodies — has not been solved.
The tax and customs policy failed to ensure the transparent and non-corrupt work of the state bodies. Various shadow schemes damaged the state budget and adversely affected the solution of social problems.
"The political opponents will not be punished under the guise of anti-corruption struggle. This struggle will not be politically motivated. It will be directed against violations of the law and economic crimes," the President stressed.
It is necessary to establish fair and transparent public administration and achieve transparency in the decision-making process. The people should see the results of this struggle in their daily lives including changes in public service, business and social life.
“Each person who violates the law, especially the ones who run their dirty hands into the state budget, whoever they are, must necessarily bear a severe punishment,” the President said.
From July 1, 2018, the verification of the authenticity of (tax) declarations of officials of the Office of the President, Government, Parliament, judges, and law enforcement agencies will begin. This is a very important component in the fight against corruption. “Each official should live by the means that he earned with honest labor,” Jeenbekov concluded.
The fight against corruption needs the society’s support, its conscious and active position. In the meantime, the following thinking predominates: "Maybe he is a thief, but he is our fellow countryman." There were cases when population of villages protected corrupt persons, collected signatures and sent them with a request to release them from custody.
It is necessary to create a society in which a corrupt official should feel the hatred of all his compatriots, the President believes.
Civil servant salary
Salaries of civil servants should cover at least their minimum needs. The Government and Parliament should jointly resolve the issue of phased increase in wages, identifying sources of funding.
Employees of state and municipal bodies should be appointed to posts only through fair competition.
It is necessary to provide career growth for the best specialists and create a national personnel reserve. Technologies that ensure transparency in the decision-making process of state bodies will be widely used. The vast majority of public services will be transferred into electronic format.
Development of regions
The budgetary policy should be brought into line with the goals of regional development. It is especially important to attract foreign investments and grants and effectively use them. The Parliament and Government should adopt laws that expand the rights and responsibilities of local authorities.
A working group will be created, which will include representatives of all government branches. The WG will conduct a thorough analysis and objectively assess the benefits and risks of the reform.
In a market economy, the state should pay special attention to infrastructure. To improve its investment attractiveness, Kyrgyzstan needs to build roads and railways, improve power transmission lines and communications.
The country has to get out of the infrastructure impasse and become a transit country reaching China and Eurasian seaports. Therefore, Kyrgyzstan will actively participate in international projects within the Great Silk Road.
The President spoke about medium-term and long-term infrastructure projects including the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, North-South alternative motor road, motor road around Lake Issyk-Kul, as well as the restoration of domestic flights.
“It is necessary to fully use our advantages in the mining industry,” Jeenbekov said. The activities of this sector should be aimed at the development of small towns and villages.
It is necessary to eliminate factors that impede the mining development. “It is well known that many cases in this sphere are politicized and, as a consequence, have a negative impact on the investment climate in the country,” the President said, adding that relevant state bodies together with investors should actively conduct outreach work among local residents.
The most important thing for any investor is the honesty of authorities and fairness of the judicial system.
“It is necessary to stop groundless interference of inspection bodies in business affairs. If they [inspection bodies] prefer to perform the functions of a partner rather than a punitive body, then there will be good business conditions,” Jeenbekov said.
Officials who exert pressure on entrepreneurs with corruption motives, obstruct businesses, must be severely punished.
“We must stop choking business. If we achieve this, we can give a new impetus for business development,” he said.
Tax regulation should be transparent and understandable for each entrepreneur and convenient for execution. Tax policy should bring the economy out of the shadows and ensure investment growth.
Particular importance should be attached to the quality of education. The development of human capital, the training of specialists in demand on the labor market of the future is a priority.
In 2020, the Parliamentary elections will be held, the President said, adding that he supports the development of parliamentary democracy in Kyrgyzstan.
All changes to the electoral legislation should be adopted one year before the election date.
Many MPs believe that the President’s speech will be a good impetus to the country’s development. However, some MPs expected more from the speech. "I thought that the President would offer us ways of solving problems but there were just the problems mentioned," MP Iskhak Masaliyev told Vesti.kg.
“We did not hear something radically new. Sooronbai Jeenbekov listed Atambayev’s projects,” Cholpon Ismailova, an independent journalist, told K-news. The only news was about the date of the next parliamentary elections in 2020, as there were rumors that the new presidential team planned early elections.
The previous presidents, Akayev, Bakiyev and Atambayev, said the same words about the intention to build a fair country and carry out structural reforms. There is still confidence in President Jeenbekov, but he should move from words to deeds.