ASTANA (UNI) - President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev delivered Friday (September 1, 2023) State of the Nation Address titled “Economic Path for a Fair Kazakhstan,” detailing ambitious plans for economic reforms and the nation’s new economic path.
President Tokayev outlined the different aspects of the national agenda, emphasizing the main economic tasks facing the government.
“In such an important period, we have every opportunity to achieve a strong economic breakthrough,” Tokayev said. To achieve this, we must move decisively to a new economic model, driven not by abstract achievements, but by real improvement in the lives of citizens.”
The Kazakh President noted several important achievements in the past few years, including doubling teachers' salaries since 2020, a significant increase in doctors' salaries, implementing initiatives such as the National Children's Fund, and building more than 300 healthcare centers in rural areas.
Turning his attention to current economic goals, President Tokayev set a course based on the principles of justice, inclusiveness and realism. He said: “The most important task is to form a solid industrial framework for the country that guarantees economic self-sufficiency. The main focus should be on the accelerated development of the manufacturing sector.”
He pointed out that special focus will be on sectors such as heavy engineering, uranium enrichment and automotive components.
Tokayev pointed out that in order to support the manufacturing industry, foreign and local investors should be exempted from paying taxes and other mandatory payments for the first three years.
On financial matters, the Kazakh President called for coordination of fiscal and monetary policies with the aim of achieving stable economic growth of 6-7 percent. He also stressed the need to attract foreign banks to enhance competition and solve the problem of insufficient corporate lending.
“The main task is to ensure the annual growth of lending to the real sector at the level of 20% or more,” Tokayev said.
The Kazakh President also stressed the need to support small and medium-sized companies and accelerate the privatization process.
He said: “The main goal is to radically increase the transparency and efficiency of asset management. “I direct the government to begin privatization of all non-core assets and IPO of Samruk-Kazyna Fund companies from 2024. Changes in legislation will be initiated to encourage mergers among small companies, and efforts will be intensified to de-monopoly key markets.”
In his speech, President Tokayev also focused on Kazakhstan's commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. “In the long term, the global transition to clean energy is inevitable,” he stressed.
Tokayev highlighted plans to increase renewable energy capacity and develop hydrogen generation, proposing in this regard to hold a national referendum on building a nuclear power plant.
The Kazakh leader also pointed to an ambitious vision for Kazakhstan to become an IT-focused country. He said: “We are among the world leaders in the e-government and financial technology development index.”
Tokayev directed the government to increase exports of IT services to one billion dollars by 2026, noting that this will be facilitated through partnerships with major foreign IT companies.
In the field of transportation, President Tokayev outlined plans to make Kazakhstan a major transit hub in Eurasia, focusing on key routes such as the Caspian Corridor and the International North-South Corridor.
“It is necessary to build a new dry port at the Bakhti crossing, accelerate the construction of the container hub in Aktau, and expand port facilities on the Black Sea along the Middle Corridor,” the president noted.
He stressed that Kazakhstan must eventually become a full-fledged transport and logistics power, noting that realizing its transport potential depends on the constructive good-neighborly relations that Kazakhstan maintains with all neighboring countries, including Russia, China and our neighbors in Central and South Asia.
In the political field, Tokayev announced that Kazakhstan will organize elections for governors of regions and cities of regional importance, after Kazakh citizens elected governors of villages, towns and rural areas in the past two years.
The speech also focused on developing the agricultural sector, gasification, and addressing water security, among other areas.
At the end of his speech, Tokayev noted that all citizens, especially young people, should embody the best qualities, because they constitute the basic values of society. He described this as “Adal Azamat” or responsible citizen, saying: “If everyone were patriotic, educated, industrious, disciplined, responsible, fair, thrifty and compassionate, no prospects would be so unattainable for us.”
The President concluded his speech by saying that the government will bear full responsibility for implementing this strong economic and social policy. He stressed that “it must have all the tools for independent management of the economy without red tape and bureaucracy, and without coordination with the presidential administration.”