Kazakhstan: President outlines new tasks for the government

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ASTANA (TCA) — Kazakhstan’s strategic goal is to join the club of 30 developed countries of the world by 2050, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev said in his State of the Nation Address on October 5.

The President also said that over the past 20 years, the country has raised $300 billion of direct foreign investment.

“The Government, each and every head of a state agency or state company needs to reconsider their work approaches. The growing welfare of Kazakh citizens must be the highest priority,” Nazarbayev said.

He instructed the Government to raise the minimal salary in the country 1.5-fold — from 28 thousand to 42 thousand tenge ($112) from January 1, 2019. This will directly cover 1.3 million people, who work in enterprises of different types of ownership in all industries. The increase will apply to 275 thousand workers of state-funded organizations, whose salaries will grow on average by 35%.

“I hope this initiative will be supported by large companies in terms of increasing the salaries of low-paid workers,” Nazarbayev said.

He also said that Kazakhstan needs to create stable sources for business growth and foster private investment and facilitate freedom of the market, as it is business that creates new jobs and provides higher income to the majority of Kazakh citizens.

The President spoke for enhancing the protection of business from unlawful administrative pressure and criminal prosecution threats, as well as for moving towards a cashless economy. “Here we have to be guided by not only repressive tools but also incentives, for example, by encouraging business to use cashless transactions,” he said.

The Government also needs to take effective measures to reduce the shadow economy by at least 40% within three years.

“To give business an opportunity for a fresh start, I instruct to launch a tax amnesty for SMEs starting from January 1, 2019 by cancelling fines and penalties provided the principal tax amount is paid,” Nazarbayev said.

Export-oriented industrialisation should be a central element of economic policy, and the Government must focus on supporting exporters in the manufacturing sector, the President said.

“Our trade policy needs to stop being passive. We need to make it vigorous in order to effectively promote our goods at regional and global markets.

“I instruct the Government to allocate additional 500 billion tenge to support the manufacturing industry and non-commodity export in the next three years,” Nazarbayev said.

The President also spoke for developing the agricultural sector.

“The main objective is to increase labour productivity and export of processed agricultural products 2.5-fold by 2022. All state support measures should be focused on the large-scale attraction of modern agricultural technology to the country,” Nazarbayev said.

Sergey Kwan

TCA