In the framework of the Leaders 2011 project, we have addressed to heads of the ministries and agencies with the request to share with readers of Kazakhstan magazine their achievements in leaving year, and to tell about the tasks of priority facing them in 2012.
1. Decision of what issue you can mark as a major achievement of your agency this year?
2. What task you think is the key one for your agency in the near future?
1. In April 2011 the President signed the decree on measures taken in order to modernize the system of state administration in the Republic of Kazakhstan. As a result, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has received a number of new and additional functions and powers, in particular in the sphere of the government's economic policy.
The Head of State set a number of tasks. It was very clearly stated that the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) should become unified strategic headquarters of the government’s economic block, which should make strong analytics and scenario of macro-economic policy and forecasting. Due to these factors, the Ministry's activity was slightly re-formatted in accordance with the difficult global economic situation.
According to the recently adopted Law on amendments to some legislative acts of Kazakhstan on the distribution of powers of the authorized bodies concerning governmental and budgetary planning in the budget process MEDT has got additional functions. Now we will be responsible for determining the basic directions of budgetary policy. Forecasts of the budgetary parameters for the three years, income, expenditure, budget deficit, the new initiative of spending to address the priorities of socio-economic development, the amount of the guaranteed transfer from the National Fund, general transfers between the republican and local budgets, the level of public borrowing, national debt limits, administration of state guarantees and warranties of the state – all this will be the field of MEDT.
The President has set the task to join the group of countries with high income, reaching the level of GDP per capita to $15 thousand by 2015. To do this it’s necessary in the medium term to ensure the annual growth rate at the level of 7 %. We must organize coordinated work on the implementation of the performance targets, achieve the planned year-end 7-percent growth, maintain macroeconomic stability and by this to create stable base for further progress next year.
2. A number of state programs are being implemented in the country, such as FIID, Productivity, Social modernization, Business Road Map 2020 Employment, 2020. You know that the development of small and medium-sized businesses in Kazakhstan belongs to the category of the Government's priorities and is accompanied by concrete measures of state support. Thus, in this year's MEDT set up the Committee on Entrepreneurship and the Committee on Regional Development. As for first one, for the moment some questions arose about creating an innovative business and expanding of medium-sized business. In order to talk about it, we need a structure that would be responsible for it. MEDT is exactly the body coordinating the efforts of business associations on the one hand, and government agencies – on the other. In The Committee on Entrepreneurship we will expand this coordinating function of interaction of state bodies with the business environment.
There is also The Committee on Regional Policy in the structure of MEDT. We have already released a document called Forecast-dimensional scheme of development of Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, the level of development of regions is quite different. For example, there are Almaty and Astana, which are evident leaders in amount of investment, new jobs and development potential. However, there are regions that do not develop so actively. And so it is necessary to coordinate all budget programs relating to regional development, because it means jobs, schools, kindergartens, etc. In addition, each territory has its own strategic development plan. The new committee deals with all these issues.
As for budgetary policy, the measures to stimulate the economy will be taken without compromising the macroeconomic stability. With the expected trends and risks the budgetary policy will be based on the principle of countercyclicity, which means containment of government expenditures growth at the level not to exceed nominal GDP during the period of economic growth and their increase during the period of economic downturn. Budgetary policy will be based on providing of balanced budget and the National Fund in order to avoid "eating" of oil revenues.
Grigory Marchenko, Chairman of the National Bank of RK
1. I think macro-economic stability in Kazakhstan is the most significant achievement not only of the National Bank, but also of the whole state apparatus this year. Of course, this is the result of joint coordinated efforts of all agencies. And the National Bank certainly made its contribution. These are the main points of control:
• Slowing inflation. That is the primary task, to which our efforts are directed. As a result, by the end of October we reached a gradual "return" to the level of annual inflation within the target corridor of 6–8 %. We have every reason to believe that the year-end inflation will remain within specified limits.
• Stability of the national currency. The negative financial trends in the global economy, in particular reduction of the U.S. credit ratings and problems in Europe, although they have some influence on Kazakhstan's exchange market, they did not shake the stability of tenge. And we have every right to consider that it is the positive results of our work.
• A positive balance of payments of Kazakhstan. At the moment we have positive current account. In general, this is the result of a favorable situation with world prices for our main export items.
• Stable operation of the financial system of the country. Of course, there are problems in the banking sector, in particular the main one of them is low quality of loan portfolio. Since 2008 the rate of growth of lending activity has declined significantly. This negative trend has been continuing during the last three years, when there was almost no credit activity. Today, however, the credit activity of banks is restoring, the volume has already exceeded pre-crisis figures. In the first nine months of 2011 the loan portfolio increased by 11 % in comparison with the beginning of the year.
• Increased deposit base. Financial sector stability and sustainability of the national currency led to increased confidence in the banking system as a whole. This was accompanied by an increase in deposits of the population by 17 % since the beginning of the year.
2. The task of the National Bank legally formalized and it is to ensure price stability. This is our strategic objective, and all our actions are always taken on the basis of this priority.
What is more, the National Bank will retain its focus on ensuring the sustainability of the currency and financial sector. At the moment the economic policy of the government encourage credit activity of banks, and it has particular relevance. In multiplicative terms, this will give impetus to economic growth, which is known to be in the medium term at the level of 7 %. And the main efforts of the government will focus on issues not quantitative but qualitative growth of the economy. A balanced monetary policy of the National Bank will certainly contribute to it.
Askar Zhumagaliyev, Minister of Communication and Information
1. Among the major achievements of our ministry, I would call a number of projects and activities to modernize Citizen Services Centers, the development of electronic government and the launch of satellite television, which were carried out on behalf of the Head of State.
Since CSC is transferred to our ministry a lot of work was done to improve the quality of government services.
The adoption of new technologies to control the status of implementation of government services and to reserve a place in a queue in CSC with the help of the portal of electronic government, as well as business process optimization and start of CSC employees work appraisal system have greatly reduced the time of rendering services and shortened queues.
Also this year in some regions we launched mobile CSC, which travel to remote villages and render government services to citizens, saving their time and money to travel to regional centers.
In late November, we presented the Situation Centre, the main purpose of which is online video monitoring of CSC for the quick solution of the problem situations and exception of corruption.
We have done a lot in the framework of electronic government. We can say that in the past year and a half there is real user’s boom. If at the beginning of 2010 the popularity of the portal www.egov.kz barely exceeded the daily rate in 3,000 visits, the current statistics say about 25,000–30,000 visits. By the way, for the moment more than 8.5 million e-services are rendered through the portal.
Another achievement of 2011, I believe, is the launch of satellite digital television. Because of this we have solved the problem of access of people living in border regions of the country to domestic TV. Now satellite TV subscribers base has reached 60 000 subscribers. We also achieved positive results in terms of domestic content channels. What is really good news – TV goes to Internet and channels organize online broadcasting on their own sites. A new 75,500 square meters area Television and Radio Centre will be launched in the capital in the nearest time. It will be equipped with modern equipment, which should also be a prerequisite for creating high quality content.
2. In 2012 special attention will be paid to the transition to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting, we are going to finish this work until 2015. We have developed a frequency-territorial plan for digital TV adoption; we are going to organize digital broadcasting in Karaganda, Astana and Almaty at the beginning of next year. I think people will see the true value of DTV - improved image quality and more channels. In 2012 we will continue to open new channels, channels Bilim and Khabar-24 are next in turn.
We also continue the work concerning 3G and 4G cellular standards adoption. At the moment 3G standards adopted in all regional centers as well as in Astana and Almaty. By 2013 this service will be available for residents of settlements of more than 50,000 people, by 2015 – 10,000 and above. The activity to simplify the process of rendering the government services and their automation will be continued as well. At the moment one can not only receive different certificates at www.egov.kz, but also pay taxes, fines for violating traffic rules. The automation of rendering about 40 socially important services is our plan for next two years. Among the services – registration at place of residence, service for issuing driver's licenses, certificates of no criminal record, the reception of documents for participation in the competition for educational grants, civil registration, assignment of benefits and others.
Services change-over in electronic format allows running also composite (complex) services. For example, a service of birth registration will include receiving the certificate of birth, benefits, setting in queue to kindergarten. This is to avoid visiting the various levels and receive services directly at www.egov.kz.
By the way, next year we will dedicate to adoption of "e-government" mobile version. I suppose our fellow citizens who choose to apply for government services in CSC or to the portal www.egov.kz, will be pleasantly surprised by the result of joint work of state bodies to change-over government services to electronic format, appreciating our innovations.
Azat Bekturov, Vice-Minister of Transport and Communications
1. The Ministry of Transport and Communications is a multi-agency, and therefore difficult to give a definite answer to this question. Each of the branches finishes the year with its own achievements.
Thus, construction works on two rail lines Zhetygen – Korgas and Uzen – state border with Turkmenistan are being completed at the moment. The movement of trains is planning to be opened in December 2011.
As for the road sector, here 2 231 km of roads of national importance were constructed, reconstructed and repaired. Thus, 993 km (including 750 km of the project for reconstruction of the transit corridor Western Europe – Western China) were built and reconstructed, and capital and the average repair was carried out on 1,238 km of roads.
In the field of civil aviation the reconstruction of runways and air terminals in 13 airports took place this year. Currently, work on the reconstruction of airports in Aktau and Kokshetau is continuing.
Air Astana Airlines in 2011 put three new regional aircraft Embraer 190 into operation. In addition, in December this year it is going to purchase another one – Boeing 757.
Thus, the transporters of the country gracefully meet the 20th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
2. The main objectives of the transport ministry are set by the program for the development of transport infrastructure in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2010–2014. In accordance to it the key ones for the near future are development and improvement of transport and operational characteristics of roads of national and local significance, increase of transit capacity with the development of six corridors, adoption of self-sufficiency of roads of national importance (tool roads).
For the further development of rail infrastructure the projects of railway lines Beineu – Zhezkazgan and Arkalyk – Shubarkol construction are envisaged. The first will create the best transportation corridor between the Central and Western regions of the country and to expand the railway network of the country. In turn, the project Arkalyk – Shubarkol will enable to reduce the transportation distance from central Kazakhstan to the north and west.
Next year will be decisive in the implementation of the international transit corridor Western Europe – Western China reconstruction project.
In the field of air transport ministry will continue to work on airports infrastructure construction and reconstruction projects, as well as fleet renewal.
Eugene Aman, Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture
1. The main achievement of the current agricultural season, in our opinion, is to obtain high harvests of all cultivated plants. This helps to increase gross industry output and productivity growth, and strengthen financial and economic situation of agricultural producers.
Particularly, the gross grain harvest totaled 29.7 million tons while usually the yield is 18.5 centners per hectare. This is not only a record figure in the history of independent Kazakhstan, but also in the history of grain production in our country. At the same wheat, which is our main food crop, harvested 25.1 million tons from an area of 13.8 million ha, at an average yield of 18.2 t/ha. Also produced 435 thousand tons of rice at an average yield of 46.5 t/ha and 479 tons of maize harvest at 48.6 t/ha. In addition, harvesting of potatoes is completed, the gross production of which amounted to 2.8 million tons at an average yield of 159.3 kg/ha.
At the moment, the necessary measures to ensure the safety of harvest and its selling. In particular, NC Food Corporation JSC provides moving of 500 thousand tons of grain from the CRS of the northern region to other areas, subsidies for exports 2.5 million tons of wheat and purchases 5 million tons of grain. It should be noted that such measures are timely and unprecedented.
2. The main objective of the agricultural sector is an ensuring the efficient production of agricultural products in amounts sufficient for the domestic market, as well as for the formation of export resources to get leading position in foreign markets.
First of all three main problems voiced by the President in his message to the people of Kazakhstan continue to be relevant. They are the increase in labor productivity, food security and increase the export potential of agriculture.
Achievement of the objectives is stipulated within the framework of the Programme for Industrial Development of agriculture until 2014, focused on the industrialization of the industry. The first tasks are import substitution and active export policy.