Kazakhstan seeks economic stability, growth amid financial crisis
ALMATY. April 13. KAZINFORM Kazakhstan, the leading economy in Central Asia and the third largest among the Commonwealth of Independent States, has employed round all efforts to seek social and economic development in the current global financial crisis, Kazinform refers to Xinhuanet. Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Masimov said that most of government's allocation for economic stability should go to the agricultural sector as grain prices on the world market have witnessed a slump since last September. Masimov announced in November last year that Kazakhstan would spend 1 billion U.S. dollars on agricultural development in the next three years. Although the country's industrial production has kept increasing since 2000, it suffers from a structural imbalance. The government implemented a series of measures to readjust the structure and this has proved effective. The food processing, computer software and printing industries have seen rapid growth. Kazakhstan's trade volume was 109.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, a 35.5 percent growth year on year and the sixth consecutive year of growth. However, currently Kazakhstan's economic growth still relies on the oil and gas industry. The government has scrapped the export tax on all oil companies registered in the country in a bid to boost exports and drive the economy. The government has also taken several measures to secure social ability and the people's livelihood. Grigory Marchenko, governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the country's central bank, announced in February a 25-percent devaluation of the Tenge, the country's currency. The benchmark exchange rate of the Tenge against U.S. dollar has been readjusted from 120:1 to 150:1. At the same time, Masimov ordered that prices of products, such as food and pharmaceuticals, should not be raised on the pretext of the currency's devaluation. Kazakhstan's housing sector has also suffered from a slump since the third quarter of last year. The government has implemented a basket of measures, including national loans, encouraging institutions to buy houses, and building more tenement houses. Shigeo Katsu, vice president of the World Bank for European and central Asian issues, said that Kazakhstan through the implementation of various measures will be able to survive the shock of the global financial crisis, Kazinform cites Xinhuanet. See www.chinaview.cn for full version.