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Astana, December 29: President Nursultan Nazarbayev last week held a final press conference of the year stressing that its most important result was Kazakhstan’s ability to avert recession.

“Kazakhstan finishes the year with positive results, and it is a huge victory. Despite the crisis, 7.6 billion dollars have been invested from outside into Kazakhstan. Pensions increased by 25 percent and will be increased again for another 25 percent.”

Despite the crisis, Kazakhstan signed profitable contracts with foreign partners in Italy, France, and South Korea. These projects include the construction of a Balkhash thermal power plant and a hydro power plant in the Almaty oblast.

“Next year, we will begin constructing a huge transit corridor Western China - Western Europe. For us, it is a construction job of the century,” the President said.

He also noted Kazakhstan’s financial system has stabilized and referred to progress achieved in debt restructuring for BTA Bank and Alliance Bank.

The President spoke on one of the most pressing themes of 2009, that of defrauded mortgage holders estate investors. He assured that the majority of real estate investors will get their apartments this year.

He highlighted the effectiveness of the government’s anti-crisis measures, saying that 120 billion tenge have been allocated for the road map program.

”The road map has played an important role. Its implementation has allowed repairing thousands of hospitals and schools. About 90,000 people [who have been building all these objects] have received a second profession free of charge.”

Today, one of the most discussed topics in the country is Kazakhstan's accession to the Customs Union of Russia and Belarus.

“We should provide the best tax conditions for doing business. We need to be more competitive in all aspects, including the quality of products. Our business thus matures and will feel better on other markets,” the President said.

Other subjects discussed included national unity as well as the promotion of Kazakh language.

“Certainly, we need to nurture our native language, to preserve it and cherish. However, our bright hopes and aspirations should not make our compatriots feel uncomfortable. At this time, when we expect the growth of the economy and experience every year a lack of manpower and experts, we must approach the issue of state language carefully and thoughtfully,” the President explained his position.

He said the unity of the multi-ethnic people of Kazakhstan has been one of the key factors which made it possible for the country to be elected chairman of the OSCE.

In the final part of his interview, Nursultan Nazarbayev commented on the importance of critical media in Kazakhstan.

“Critical reporters, without being aware of that, have joined me in building our country. We need your criticism, your thorniness. Glasnost is the panacea for all shortcomings. It is the key element of tackling all negative things that still exist in our country,” the President said addressing the nation’s journalistic community. “I wish all journalists a very Happy New Year. I wish each of you masterliness, seriousness, portliness. Most importantly, when one writes about something, he should keep in mind his country, its peace and its future.”

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