State of the Nation Address by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
UNITY OF THE PEOPLE AND SYSTEMIC REFORMS ARE A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR THE NATION`S PROSPERITY
Distinguished Members of Parliament and Members of the Government!
This year we are marking the 30th anniversary of our Independence - this is our most cherished treasure.
Thanks to the forward-looking policy of the First President, Kazakhstan has had notable success and became known all over the world.
In unity and harmony, we were able to build a new state: this is our greatest accomplishment.
We have strengthened the spirit of the nation by laying a solid foundation for development. We have become an influential member of the global community. Thanks to the stability in our society, we have embarked on the path of sustainable progress.
Together we are building a strong state. Sovereignty is not just an empty slogan and a loud word. It is important for us that every citizen should feel the fruits of independence - a peaceful life, social harmony, increased well-being of the people, and the confidence of young people in their future.
All our endeavours are aimed at this. Thanks to the unity and constructive labour of the people of Kazakhstan, we have successfully overcome all difficulties and trials.
Our country is on the verge of the fourth decade of independence. It is already clear that this period will not be easy. Therefore, we must be ready for any challenges and threats, to continuously improve and always move forward.
My current State of the Nation Address is dedicated to the following issues.
І. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE POST-PANDEMIC PERIOD
Kazakhstan`s economy, the largest in Central Asia, is currently experiencing the effects of the pandemic. Nevertheless, despite the difficulties, we are consistently implementing our policies.
We adopted the National Development Plan 2025 and switched to a new system of state planning to determine the medium-term economic policy and systematise state initiatives. National projects will be approved.
The strategic goal is to ensure our leading role in Central Asia and strengthen our position in the global economy.
A new instrument - the Strategic Investment Agreement has been introduced to further attract direct investment.
Concrete actions have been taken to optimise the quasi-public sector. The merger of the Baiterek and KazAgro holdings has been completed. Portfolio companies have been cut by half, and their staff number by one and a half times. As a result, a new powerful development institution has been created.
The state provided large-scale and operational support to citizens and businesses during the pandemic.
The programme Economy of Simple Things has proven its effectiveness. As part of its implementation, more than 3,500 projects were launched, 70,000 jobs were created, goods and services were produced for 3.5 trillion tenge (over USD 8.2 billion).
Thanks to the Business Road Map programme, 66,000 projects received state support. This helped to create and maintain over 150,000 jobs.
The initiative for the early use of pension savings had a serious economic, but above all social effect. This measure has helped over a million of our fellow citizens to improve their housing conditions or reduce the mortgage burden.
Overall, there is a positive trend in the economic development of our country. Nevertheless, we must be frank that the situation is still difficult.
Therefore, I have decided to extend the term of the Economy of Simple Things and Business Roadmap programmes until 2022. The total amount of funds allocated for their financing will be at least one trillion tenge (over USD 2.3 billion).
Largely due to the low public debt and the presence of significant reserves, Kazakhstan is relatively successful in overcoming the consequences of the pandemic. This is our substantial competitive advantage, and it is important not to lose it.
However, recently there has been a tendency to increase the budget deficit and transfers from the National Fund to cover expenditure obligations. To follow such an "easy" path will not be possible all the time. The stock of financial stability is far from unlimited. Obviously, measures are needed to increase budget revenues. But first and foremost, we need control over the volume and efficiency of government spending.
To recover the assets of the National Fund, the implementation of fiscal rules should be accelerated. The corresponding legislative amendments should be adopted by the end of this year.
Overall, the country needs a set of rules for managing public finances: public debt, budget policy, the National Fund. I ask the Government and the National Bank to prepare a Concept for Public Finance Management by the end of the year.
Along with this, it is necessary to continue work on diversifying the economy, expanding the range of goods produced and the geography of exports.
At the end of 2020, for the first time in 10 years of industrialization, the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the development of the economy exceeded the share of the mining industry. The medium-term goal is to increase manufacturing exports by 1.5 times by 2025, to $24 billion, and labour productivity by 30%.
The law on industrial policy that is being drafted should focus on the challenges facing the manufacturing sector. One of them is the problem of access to raw materials. It is necessary to introduce a simple rule - the price of raw materials for the domestic industry must be affordable, and the volume must be sufficient. By the end of the year, the Government must find the best solution to this important task.
At the same time, it should be kept in mind that the resource potential of our country is not fully disclosed, the geological knowledge remains at a low level.
Investors` access to quality geological information needs to be increased. To achieve this, an effective National Geological Service should be created on the basis of disparate subordinate organizations. This organization should not become a monopolist that decides to whom and how to give access to the subsoil. Its role is to provide comprehensive service support to investors.
The subsoil use industry needs a new impetus, especially in terms of geological exploration and integrated subsoil study. The reforms initiated under the Plan of the Nation should be brought to practical completion - an open digital database of geological information should be created, and investors should have access to it. read more
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