Young reformer, president’s ally becomes Kyrgyzstan’s new prime minister

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BISHKEK (TCA) — On August 25, Kyrgyzstan’s Parliament elected the youngest ever Prime Minister in the country’s history — 40-year-old Sapar Isakov. The ex-Head of President’s Staff introduced his Government, which includes several young professionals, and its program.

“The new Government includes the new and old generations, who will use the experience of the old and the ambitions of the young, and with these qualities we will achieve a lot,” Isakov said. Over the 26-year history of independent Kyrgyzstan, he has become the 28th Prime Minister.

The Parliament approved the program, structure and composition of the Government presented by Isakov.

The Government includes new First Vice Prime Minister Tolkunbek Abdygulov, Vice Prime Minister Duishenbek Zilaliev, Vice Prime Minister Temir Jumakadyrov, Head of the Government Staff Nurkhanbek Momunaliev, Economy Minister Artem Novikov, Chairman of the State Committee for Industry, Energy and Subsoil Use Ulan Ryskulov, and Chairman of the State Committee of Information, Technologies and Communication Nurbek Abaskanov.

The other Government members have not changed.

‘40 Steps to Success’

Sapar Isakov told MPs about his program for the next five years. “Our program ‘40 Steps to Success’ is designed to become a beacon for our partners in the era of change. Starting from this year we are going to solve unemployment issues, eradicate corruption, tackle the introduction of high technologies, ensure the safety of citizens, and develop the social infrastructure,” he said.

The program consists of 18 sub-items aimed at national reforms and Kyrgyzstan’s development.

Three main goals of the program are economic well-being of the people, social welfare and security of citizens. The Taza Koom (Clean Society) project is the basis of the program. It includes the digital government which will work compactly and efficiently, digital society where everyone will be able to use the Internet (this will open up opportunities for creativity and development for future generations), and the digital economy which is not only electronic commerce and services, but also healthcare, transportation, and education developing under digital technologies.

There are such programs as “Safe and Favorable Environment”, “Serve the people” aimed at reforming the management system, and “Clean elections – a stable state” aimed at ensuring transparent elections.

The State should get rid of outdated approaches in the economy, Isakov said.

Transport and energy sector

To connect all regions of the country, it is necessary to develop the road network.

The Government also plans to implement a number of projects in the energy sector, including CASA-1000 and construction of Kambar-Ata HPPs.

Agriculture

It is necessary to focus on organic farming, Isakov said. For this, the agro-industrial complex needs to be reformed.

The Government also plans to irrigate 20 thousand hectares of new land in the next five years.

Ecology

It is necessary to pay attention to environmental safety, Isakov said. Every Kyrgyz citizen should carefully treat nature and economically spend natural resources.

In the age of technology, Kyrgyzstan should gradually move from cars with gasoline engines to electric vehicles, he added.

Social issues

According to Isakov, his program thoroughly describes the problems of the social sphere and ways to solve them.

Reforms will be carried out in education, taking into account the needs of each person to become a full-fledged member of society.

A lot of attention will be paid to healthcare. “To be healthy is profitable. We will do so that people will not have to run to the pharmacy, but to the stadiums,” Isakov said.

The policy of the Healthcare Ministry should be focused not on treatment, but on the healthy lifestyle,” he added. Everyone should become responsible for his own health and the health of his family.

Business and investment

The new Government has developed “Together with Business” program to support small and medium-sized businesses.

“We plan to attract investment and to support investment through exports. This will be the impetus for the development of the country,” Isakov said.

The new Government also intends to revive old enterprises so that they could work for export.

“Kyrgyzstan depends on investments, so we need to attract direct investments, and the steps that this program includes will help attract them,” he said.

Corruption

Corruption cannot be eradicated by capture of corrupt officials by hand, Isakov said. To combat corruption, it is necessary to create a system that would not allow citizens and state employees to communicate directly. For instance, the state portal will allow obtaining certificates in electronic format. It is necessary not to punish for corruption but to prevent it, said Isakov.

To eradicate corruption, people should get decent salaries, the MPs believe. They asked about the sources of funding to increase the salaries and pensions.

Promises

Isakov promised MPs that he would not interfere in the presidential elections scheduled for October 15.

“We are technocrats. The purpose of our Government is completely different, we are not going to interfere in the election process,” Isakov said. He explained to MPs that technocrats are those who are engaged in economic projects only.

Criticism

It is good that the Government is in the process of renewal and that Isakov is introducing young professionals into the new Government, MPs said.

The main thing is not the ministers’ age but their professionalism, and how they will cope with the tasks assigned on them.

Some deputies were dissatisfied with the appointment of 30-year-old Artem Novikov for the post of Economy Minister. There are no real achievements in his biography, they said. He worked as an expert, but this does not mean that he can take up the responsibility of the Economy Minister.

Isakov explained that Novikov had worked in the Economy Ministry in 2007, and since 2009 he has been working in the Government Office. He was an adviser to three vice-premiers. “We worked together with him, he is very experienced, and a good guy,” said Isakov.

Some MPs criticized Isakov’s program saying that it is not supported by figures.