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Astana, January 27: Kazakhstan has identified social and economic modernization as its main vector of development for the next decade, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said as he outlined major priorities of this new direction in his state-of-the-nation address.

“New tasks to strengthen the economy and improve people’s welfare represent the new stage in Kazakhstan’s development path,” the President told the members of the Parliament, the Government, and the people of the country during his address televised live nationally.

He went on to note that finding the optimal balance between achieving economic success and providing public goods is vital for Kazakhstan. For this, the country needs to implement a set of tasks in ten directions, he said.

Nazarbayev named employment as the first direction. “On my instruction, the Government has approved a fundamentally new employment programme,” the President said. The programme targets tasks such as the creation of an effective system of training and employment assistance, providing greater support for entrepreneurship, and increasing labour mobility. The large-scale implementation of the programme will begin this year, the President said.

Affordable housing was named as the second direction. Each year Kazakhstan commissions six million square metres of new housing. However, more than half a million of young families require own homes. To solve the problem of housing, the President instructed the government to develop and adopt a state programme named “Affordable Housing – 2020” by July 1.  

Development of regions and small towns is the third direction. The country should build new plants and create industrial jobs and social infrastructure in economically promising areas. President highlighted the development of small single-industry towns as a separate issue. As the Zhanaozen disturbances last December have shown, single industry towns are vulnerable to social risks. Therefore, the government was instructed to prepare a special programme on the development of one-company towns.

The fourth direction concerns the improvement of the quality of public services. “It is an important aspect of combating corruption and enhancing public trust in the activities of state bodies.” For this, the country needs to develop e-government, simplify administrative procedures, and improve computer literacy of the population, the head of state said.

As the fifth direction, Nazarbayev named the improvement of human resource capacity. “Our most important task is to prepare a skilled political class of managers. I instruct the Government and the Presidential Administration to prepare proposals on candidates for the Presidential personnel corps by the end of the first half of 2012,” he said. This body will form the basis of a new managerial elite, which will lead the country in the 21st century. 

The President identified modernisation of the judiciary and law enforcement systems as the sixth direction. The procedure for the formation of the judiciary need to be radically revised, the new Criminal and Procedure Code need to be completed, and the draft bill on private detective activity is to be prepared. Another important task is to update the personnel of law enforcement and special bodies.

Qualitative growth of human capital in Kazakhstan is the seventh direction, which concerns the improvement of education and health. The country needs to introduce advanced techniques and technologies in education process, improve the quality of the teaching staff, and increase access to education for young people. Another important task is to increase the availability and quality of medical services, as well as to promote healthy lifestyle.

The eighth direction relates to the pension system. Nazarbayev instructed the Government and the National Bank to develop proposals to improve the pension system, especially as far as the oversight of the pension funds is concerned. The industrial and innovation projects must continue to be implemented, the President said next. Therefore, he said the Programme of Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development will remain the benchmark of economic modernisation. He also outlined several major multi-billion-dollar projects that the Government is to implement within the next few years, including the construction of a power station in Balkhash, a petro chemistry plant in Atyrau, a gas processing plant at the Karachanganak field and a set of gas pipelines throughout the country.

Last but not least, Nursultan Nazarbayev named the development of agriculture. Kazakhstan will introduce mechanisms of state support for retailers without intermediaries, create a single grain holding, and establish a state system of guarantees and insurances to reduce risks of private investment in agricultural production, the President said.

President Nazarbayev stressed that the Government needs to strengthen the innovation system of the country. Diversification of foreign direct investments in Kazakhstan remains an important issue as well. They must be directed to promising industries such as tourism, the President said as he called for the development of skiing resorts near Almaty.

He also went over key aspects of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy for the decade ahead. “We have responded to the global challenges of the 21st century by deepening integration on the Eurasian space. As a responsible member of the international community, Kazakhstan will continue to actively seek ways to strengthen peace and security. Kazakhstan will remain committed to a balanced foreign policy, interacting both with the West and Asia,” Nazarbayev said. He listed several key events this year in the foreign policy area, including the 20th anniversary of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures which now brings together 24 states from Israel to Iran to India to Pakistan to China and Vietnam.

“Today, the whole world and every state need to find answers to powerful global and domestic challenges. By performing the tasks in ten directions of the socio-economic modernisation, we will strengthen the economy, make our society stable, and improve the well-being of our people,” the President said.

 President Nazarbayev called social modernization the central issue for the new Parliament and the Government, as well as all responsible forces such as Kazakhstan’s parties, public associations, creative and professional unions, the media.

“We must unite all the forces for the benefit of our motherland. I call on all the citizens of Kazakhstan to take active part in the work to achieve the identified goals,” the President concluded. 

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