ASHGABAT (TCA) — At a meeting with local entrepreneurs at Turkmenistan’s Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs on June 8, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov said that the state budget allows for maintaining benefits for the residents of Turkmenistan, the Chronicles of Turkmenistan independent website reported citing official Turkmen media. The existing benefit program provides for free quotas for electricity, natural gas and water to the citizens of Turkmenistan.
“Currently the global economy is experiencing a complicated situation as world prices for raw materials had significantly dropped. Under such challenging conditions, thanks to the meticulous and strenuous work of our people, we have managed to retain the volume of gross domestic product [growth] at 6%, which enables us to provide the state budget with the required funding to preserve all benefits envisaged by law for the residents and to implement the projected social programs,” Berdymukhammedov was quoted as saying.
Last week, however, at the Government meeting the President came up with an initiative to abolish the benefits as “they hinder the transition to a market economy”.
“Today the standard of living in Turkmenistan is very high and these benefits cause problems during the transition to a market economy,” the head of state said.
In April 2016 the President already made an announcement that these benefits “are not justified”.
Initially the proposal to abolish free quotas for natural gas, water and electricity was put forward by a member of the Elders’ Council in September 2015.
“We have such a prosperous life in the epoch of power and happiness that the country’s residents can pay for gas, water and electricity without any problems,” the elder then said.