Kazakhstan has used crisis ‘as a chance’ — prime minister

ASTANA (TCA) — Over the last 10 years, Kazakhstan has developed under the pressure of external shocks and world turbulence, but the country has avoided dramatic scenarios thanks to timely decisions, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev said at a meeting of the Government held with the participation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev on February 9. Sagintayev reported on the country’s results in 2017 and tasks for 2018, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

Addressing President Nazarbayev, the prime minister said that thanks to the president’s formula that “crisis as a chance,” Kazakhstan has always mobilized in difficult times and come out of troubles strong, with new plans and confidently looking ahead.

“It was the implementation of your decisions that made it possible to achieve concrete results last year,” Sagintayev said. The main of them are:

The economy has reached a stable development trajectory, which is confirmed by international rating agencies which give the country a stable forecast.

GDP growth was 4%, and 60% of growth is provided by non-primary sectors.

Foreign trade turnover increased by 25% to $69.5 billion. Investments in fixed assets increased by 5.5%, including private investments – by 6.9%.

The macroeconomic situation has improved. Inflation was reduced to 7.1%. The sustainability of public finances is ensured at a safe level. The national debt does not exceed 26% of GDP.

The prime minister said that the State Program of Industrial-Innovative Development is the main tool for diversifying and improving the competitiveness of the industry.

There was a transition to the production of goods with higher added value. The release of new, previously not produced high-tech goods for export, including locomotives, electric locomotives, cars, mining and oil and gas equipment has begun.

Significant growth has been achieved in pharmaceuticals, automotive, electrical engineering, chemical industry, and food production.

As a result, the contribution of the manufacturing sector to industry increased from 31% in 2010 to 40% in 2017.

Exports of non-primary goods grew by 22%.

During the years since independence, about $300 billion of direct foreign investments have been attracted to Kazakhstan — now Kazakhstan is the leader in the Central Asia region by this indicator, Sagintayev said.

Today, the structure of investment inflows has changed. 25% of foreign investment goes to the manufacturing industry, and about 50% to non-primary sectors. A new wave of foreign investment is entering the country.

“Thanks to your [Nazarbayev’s] personal arrangements with the leaders of China, Uzbekistan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, the markets of these countries were opened for the export of Kazakhstani production,” the prime minister said. “For example, exports to China alone grew by 30%. In total, the export of agricultural products and products of its processing grew by 10%.”

As a result of the measures taken, the growth of gross agricultural output was 2.9%, of food products – more than 4% in 2017, the prime minister concluded.

Sergey Kwan