Kazakhstan: president comes up with large social initiatives

ASTANA (TCA) — At a joint session of Kazakhstan’s parliament on March 5, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that “the time has come to focus on large social projects” in the country.

Nazarbayev addressed the people of Kazakhstan with the “Five Social Initiatives of the President,” which include the new opportunities to purchase housing for each family, reduction of the tax burden to increase the wages of low-paid workers, increase in the accessibility and quality of higher education and improvement of the living conditions of student youth, expansion of micro-crediting, and further gasification of the country, the president’s press service reported.

Nazarbayev stressed that the new social initiatives are aimed at strengthening the social unity of Kazakh society and further improving the well-being of every Kazakhstani citizen.

In particular, Nazarbayev suggested increasing the affordability of mortgage lending for Kazakhstan citizens by launching a program under which every working citizen could receive a mortgage loan in the national currency for purchasing housing at not more than 7 percent per annum (compared to 14-16% today) with initial payment of not more than 20 percent of the housing cost (30-50% today) and for up to 25 years (10-15 years now).

To support low-paid citizens, the president suggested, starting from 1 January 2019, to reduce their tax burden 10-fold — down to 1 percent. As a result, a third of employees in Kazakhstan — or some two million people — will have their salaries raised without increasing the tax burden on the employers.

Concerning gasification, Nazarbayev said that today, almost 50 percent of the country’s population has natural gas, but the central and northern regions of the country still have no access to gas. The president suggested construction of a gas pipeline along the route Karaozek (Kyzylorda province)-Zhezkazgan-Karaganda-Temirtau-Astana through borrowed funds including from international financial institutions.

Nazarbayev ordered the Government and the National Bank to work out the mechanisms for implementation of his social initiatives.

Sergey Kwan