We are confident in the future

Jan 01. Kazpravda

We are confident in the futurePresident Nursultan Nazarbayev had a conference with Kazakhstan TV journalists, in which the outgoing year was tallied up and the country’s prospects were talked on.

Responding to the question of Arman Seytmamyt, Channel “24 KZ” on what prompted the 2050 strategy and how the idea of it came about, Nursultan Nazarbayev said that 15 years had passed since the previous strategic program up to the year 2030 that was adopted in 1997. When we were taking stock of what has been done over all that time, the need for a new program was realized. To work out a long-term strategic document takes in-depth analysis of the ongoing processes in the world and in the country, the strengths of our economy, the public sentiments. We had to carefully consider the vector of further movement, weigh our possibilities and targets to be met. After the extensive analytical data had been collected, we got to developing the new strategic program.

Of course, initially there were various questions. And we willingly answered them. The strategy is actively outreached on in the country.

The main ground for this update is that we have met most of the objectives set in 2030 strategy.

Why do we need such a long-term program? As I said before, in U.S., China, the European Union and other developed nations , the development programs are long-term, as it is important to know in which direction to move.

We are a young state. The average age of the population in Kazakhstan is 30. The young, naturally want to know what to expect of the future and where our country is going. Hence the need for a long-term program to answer all these questions. I consider it very important that we have defined a new political direction for the state.

In the 21 years of independence, Kazakhstan has become a different state, another generation has grown. We are an established, mature state, now moving towards industrialization and innovation, which are new vectors that must be factored in.

As usual, when I suggest new ideas, first there is skepticism, then criticism, then all support. I think the strategy is necessary, and we will fulfill it. To the government it is a benchmark. It is important for people, especially the youth, to understand what is being done for them, for the future of Kazakhstan. We intend to build a state, which would be among the 30 most developed world nations.

To the question of Olga Tsoi, “Khabar” agency on how to strike a balance between social justice and dependency, the President responded that the state should support only those who really need it, i.e. people with low incomes, retirees, who had been working for their country and are entitled for a reward, pensions, secondly, people with disabilities. It is not their fault that they are disabled. We need to support them in every way. It is advisable to give them an opportunity to earn some money to raise self-assertion. Of course, we help children.

Quite a different case is when a person is healthy, able-bodied and fit for work, but chooses to sponge on the state and get unemployment benefits, enough to buy not only foods but to booze happily. Such people should be given a rod, not fish, i.e. opportunity to work.

The current unemployment in Kazakhstan is only 5 percent, whereas in many European countries it is 20 percent. To get a job is not so much of a problem in the country after all. The issue is the right skills. We need skilled welders, masons, drivers, computer technicians, chefs.

Therefore, when speaking about the inadmissibility of dependency and all-consumerism, we do not claim that it is necessary “to tighten the belts.” The question is how to motivate people to work.

– What is implied by economic pragmatism and austerity policy, so much talked of ?

– Speaking of pragmatism, I mean that public money must be rightly spent and managed. I said in the Address that Kazakhstan should be run as a corporation. Investing a million tenge, we need to make a profit of at least one million one hundred thousand. If we invest a million and get nothing, it is an unpragmatic use of funds.

Pragmatism is in spending the state funds on social needs of the people too. The more rich people in the country, the richer the country. Businessmen should create the conditions for employment of others, pay them salaries and help them get on their feet.

Pragmatism is in running the state economically. The state should make money and spend it wisely. If we buy new equipment, we should make a good bargain for it to be not very expensive and of good quality, in place of making a bungle of the job, as often happens with us.

Every tiyn must be accounted for. And that ought to be everyone’s way of life. A pragmatic approach is required in everything, be it economy, international relations or any other area, if we want to make good. It is a prudentl management of public funds, using them for the people’s benefit.

Oksana Loskutova, channel “Astana” asked about the benefit to ordinary people of “EXPO-2017” and what Kazakhstan has to do for it.

N.Nazarbayev said the exhibition will have a significant multiplier effect on the development of many industries. Our builders will earn on construction of the pavilions for it, and it means new jobs and taxes. It also implies new orders for plants producing construction materials. Hundreds of enterprises will join in this work. It will stimulate development of tourism sector. Tourists arriving at EXPO- 2017 will see not only Astana, but other regions of Kazakhstan, and visit the most beautiful parts of the country.

The most important thing is that best technological achievements will be showcased in the exhibition. You know, a production of photovoltaic modules was recently launched. That’s the energy of the future, a scaled project. We will adopt this experience to create such energy sources in our country. Our scientists, our universities will see first hand what the energy of the future is.

The pavilion will be put to best public use afterwards.

I think the EXPO will be beneficial in all aspects. Representatives from more than 100 countries will visit us, millions of people will come. This a powerful driving force for us to move ahead. We will feel the benefit from all of this later.

Jaroslav Krasienko, channel “CTC”:

– There is a lot of talk about the Eurasian Economic Union, and it is understandable, because the integration goes to a new level. How does this all translate into Kazakhstan’s interests?

– Integration is a very important matter. We can say that now it is the time imperative, not a “fashion” for it. The world is integrating. In the global world no state, no matter how powerful it is, is able to sustain its development alone.

The integration processes are developed as follows: first a free trade zone is established for a smooth run of trade, then the Customs Union is formed, then a single economic space – the borders are open, people are free to trade, goods and capital move freely.

Next, highest form of integration is a single economic union. It should be remembered that I am the one, who initiated all the integration processes in the post-soviet space, no one imposes it on us!

We are doing it for a commodity exchange, for sales markets, that’s what he integration is for. We cannot produce everything we need on our own. If you sell your wares, then the businesses are working, the hired people get paid, and the state is paid taxes. The essence of integration is to give the economy a full breath. In just 18 months of the Customs Union, the turnover of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus went 40 percent up, that is, as many more produced goods, employed people, and tax revenues.

Customs Union works effectively. The next stage is to be creation of a single economic space, as we announced earlier this year. However, we will feel a full benefit of this integration association, after all the positions are agreed upon. We have endorsed 17 documents, and 52 agreements are yet to be made.

Certainly, the integration is not without a risk. If Russian goods are better and cheaper, our people will buy them. Therefore, our products must be competitive. If we do not sustain this competition, what are we going to do in Europe then, in WTO, with our products?

Another advantage of our integration is an incentive for development within the former Soviet Union. The EU does not need Belarusian machinery, they have them of American and South Korean make of best quality, nor do they need the Ukrainian metallurgy wares, but we do. Likewise we are not yet able to make all the sales at the external markets.

We can sell wheat, metals, oil, gas in these markets, but not ready goods. We need to improve the quality of our products.

What’s next is almost everybody’s concern. New processes often give rise to criticism, skepticism at first. That’s how it all went about, when I announced the privatization, amid the claims that “Kazakhstan is sold out!” Anyway, the fruits of it are there, $ 170 billion in the drawn investments. The reaction was as skeptical with the relocation of the capital to Astana.

Similarly, despite the criticism, the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space and the Eurasian Economic Union will be put into life and work for our benefit. No one is going to recreate the Soviet Union, for it is impossible, irreversible. Now we’re talking of a new equal and mutually beneficial alliance, run by consensus of three states. We get shared sovereignty over the vast space with a population of 170 million people.

Vietnam has recently applied for a partnership with the Customs Union. I recently read a statement by a known British politician that it is time for the EU to cooperate with the Customs Union.

Meyirzhan Zhienaliev, National channel “Kazakhstan”:

– In your Address you spoke about the local government. You always say that the local governors should be closer to people, know their needs. What will be the benefit of their electivity?

– I believe that local issues should be handled at active population’s involvement. For it the governor should be vested with appropriate authorities, and the population will be entitled to participate in the election of local power and size up its work.

We tried direct elections, but they stumbled against many difficulties, and no common ground was achieved.

Therefore, if the district maslikhats elect governors, if the profits of the business remain in the local government, if they ably handle local problems together with the people – such as the construction of bridges, bath houses, school repairs, assistance to the disabled, and other issues – the people will actively join in this work.

Self-government does not end there. In future, each village, each district will have its own budget to enable them to address the problems. If we succeed in this matter, district governors will be elected, but it takes time, you know.

Bolat Musalim Channel 31:

– In the state-of the nation address you spoke about transition to the Latin alphabet from 2025…

We are a multi-ethnic country. Each nationality has its own opinion. Kazakhs, and several generations of Kazakhs were educated in Cyrillic. Meanwhile, the Latin alphabet has been existing for about three thousand years, it is used by 80 percent of the entire world. North and South America, Mediterranean, African and the Pacific states – all use the Latin alphabet.

It is also a language of modernity, technology, education, and science. Latin is necessary for us to communicate with the people of the world, and the world of science and education. It is therefore important for our young people to actively learn English. The middle-aged generation is also trying to learn it. We are actively preparing for the transition, and perhaps we will not delay the matter until 2025.

Of course, this takes time. Neighboring Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are engaged in this matter too. In the beginning we need to create a special commission, and to adapt Kazakh alphabet in Latin to computer.

As known, English is widely used in the world. Besides, we should take into account the fact of growing interstate trade: our exports reached $ 74 billion, imports – $ 36 billion. We communicate and trade with 80 countries of the world and we have political international relations with even more countries. Therefore, I believe that the transition will be natural.

We have to adapt to it. Educated citizens and intellectuals must promote this idea in the society.

To the question of journalist from “Channel 7″ Maya Bekbaeyva about the “frantic” pace of his life and work Nursultan Nazarbayev answered:

If you love your job and see the results of your work, it inspires. This is a “drive” for a man. This year alone, there were in total 700 legal meetings, 17 foreign visits and twice more visits of heads of state to Kazakhstan. In addition, there were numerous daily meetings. Thus, I have no time to think about my health. And I have to live so that I should not think about it.

I always say to young people about the need to do sports. Because any businessman is an exceptional person. This is a special type of people. Only one out of ten people can be a businessman. He travels around the country and around the world; he has to be smart, sociable and energetic to impress a partner at negotiations. And of course for such amount of work he must be healthy. Therefore, everyone should take care of his health.

– I want to thank you for attention to women problems. In the state of the nation address you said that you will continue to create all conditions to raise the role of women in the life of our country.

– In Kazakhstan, women account for 51.2 percent of the population and they support and maybe even love me. Therefore, I sincerely believe that we have not done all for our women. We must create special working conditions for those who raise children.

In general, according to the objective laws of the population growth, it is more profitable for the state to encourage the birth of a third child, but not the sixth, seventh or tenth. But we encourage large families. Today, for example, up to 70 percent of children due to the program “Balapan” are involved in preschool education in kindergartens that is a big help to mothers. Intellectual schools, boarding schools – all this is also support.

But our big concern now is a lot of divorces in our country. Kazakhstan family must be strong. Why is this happening? This is a deep question. Of course, there are many different reasons, including poor living conditions. And we must build for young families more affordable housing. We also need to build more rental apartments.

Yaroslav Krasienko, channel “KTK”:

– As President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, what do you make of the main outcome of 2012?

– 2012 was a good year for the country. The economy has grown by more than 5 percent. It is a very good indicator in the conditions of the world crisis. The unemployment was 5 percent, inflation – 5.3, whereas last year it was 7 percent. In today’s bustling world these are very positive indicators that make me happy. It is an economic outcome, on the base of which we can build the coming 2013.

Of course, the significant event was our victory in the bid to host Expo 2017. I think that all Kazakhstanis remembered the London Olympics, in which we were 12th among more than two hundred countries. The whole country was watching TV and rooting for our athletes. That was the unity!

And the main thing now I believe is stability and peace in the country.