The decade of Perspectives - New Wellbeing of the Nation

27 Feb 2019

Remarks of President Nazarbayev; Nur Otan Party Convention 2019

Dear Delegates and Guests of the Convention! Dear Party Members!

My sincere congratulations to you on the 20th anniversary of the Nur Otan Party! March 1, 1999, became a special date for our sovereign country as the day of our party’s foundation. In terms of history, it’s not a long time, but for us it’s a whole epoch. The difficult economic situation at the collision of the two centuries required us to make the right choice immediately. We had to make strong and important reforms to strengthen our independence and build a strong state. Otherwise, we would have been left out of the global development that led to civilization. This great goal of the Nur Otan party has become the only political force to justify the people’s confidence and to make steady progress.

I am grateful to the party members who have helped me in critical years to succeed. I would like to summarize what we have done today and to share our vision of the future. First of all, let’s focus on the concrete facts which demonstrate our accomplishments.

The economy of the country has grown considerably. The volume of foreign trade turnover has increased more than 9 fold. Kazakhstan attracted approximately USD320 billion of foreign direct investment. We have increased the country’s income by 16 times. Over 141 million square meters of housing has been constructed. New infrastructure facilities of social significance have been built throughout the country. 1,400 modern hospitals, clinics and outpatients, 2,865 new schools, colleges and kindergartens were opened. All of this is a result of our hard work. Nur Otan promotes state-led decisions and justifies the voters’ confidence.

Dear party members!

The new times pose new challenges. The world around us plunges deeper into the zone of permanent turbulence. But this is not a reason for despair and fear of the future. Any crises are followed by cataclysms, but at the same time they clear the space for growth and create new opportunities. The most important thing is to choose the right development vector and mobilize the entire society to achieve the goals set.

As we move forward, we should take into account the key trends of the modern world. Today, the competition of states comes down to the competition of individuals. Any economic achievements and geopolitical victories are of no great value and significance if they do not lead to an increase in the well-being of each and every person.

This is the main secret of prosperity and the formula for the sustainable development of states in the 21st century. Today, the Congress is considering the party’s program until 2030 - “The Society for Welfare: 10 Goals of the Decade”, developed on my behalf. It broadens the horizons of strategic vision and defines the main outlines of the development of society and the state in the coming decade.

I expect you to have an in-depth discussion of the program and determine the party agenda. Today’s Congress kick-starts a new stage in Kazakhstan’s development.

The next 10 years are crucial in our advancement towards joining the top 30 leading states. In this regard, the party must set specific goals. I will not elaborate on them; they are all outlined in the Program.

I am certain that each of us will make a significant contribution to the development of an even stronger and more prosperous Kazakhstan.Our efforts must be guided by our national idea. Its basic components include the following:

  1. National unity;

  2. Competitive strong economy;

  3. Intellectual prospering society;

  4. Country that is respected in the world.

All of this is fundamental for Kazakhstan’s successful development.

In turn, the National Unity Doctrine rests on four pillars:

  1. Common history;

  2. Common values;

  3. Common homeland;

  4. Common future.

Dear party members!

As we think about future prospects, we must not forget about our current objectives. Our main priority is to ensure a decent standard of living for citizens and the development of Kazakhstan as a socially-oriented state. We fulfilled our social commitments even in the most challenging periods. Social spending in the country has always been high, and in the future it will grow consistently. We make large-scale social investments as part of various programs, projects and initiatives.

We must maintain the development spending and help those in need. This year, over 45% of the republican budget spending was allocated to the social sphere. We have also identified certain imbalances and a number of trouble spots in the social sector. In this respect, I have decided to allocate funds from the National Fund to improve the quality of life and the well-being of our citizens.

The Government must properly administer the funds allocated for this purpose. We should also remember that we live amidst great challenges and global uncertainty. The reserves we accumulated may come useful in more difficult times. Social policy must be balanced and not provoke the growth of a welfare mentality. The state’s main objective is to give people a job so that they can earn a living.

Assistance must be provided to those who especially need it and be strictly targeted. I will personally make sure that all the allocated funds reach every family and each individual! I have instructed the party to analyze the problems that are of a particular concern to our citizens today. They include raising children’s allowances, improving the situation of large families, providing housing, upgrading social infrastructure, and others. Implementing the three pillars of social policy will be the party’s significant contribution to their solution.

They include:

  1. Raising incomes and supporting low-income groups of the population;
  2. Addressing housing issues of low-income citizens and improving education and health care;
  3. Integrated development of the regions.

FIRST. Today, it is important to strengthen measures to improve the well-being of Kazakh families. These measures will directly affect more than 1 million workers employed in health, education, social protection, culture, sports, agriculture and other sectors.

I instruct from July 1, 2019:

For these purposes in 2019-2021 we will additionally allocate almost 980 billion tenge. Particular consideration must be given to low-income categories of citizens and families with multiple children. Each Kazakh family should feel the effects of the reforms today, and not in the distant future. I consider it especially necessary to strengthen support measures for large families.

Today, the country has approximately 340,000 families with over 4 children. Annually, more than 500 billion tenge is allocated to support families with children.

These families have different income levels. Therefore, the state should primarily provide special care and pay attention to large families with low incomes. Currently, more than 111,000 families (571,600 people) receive targeted social assistance from the state. I am instructing the government to expand the coverage of low-income families, especially those with many children, to raise the criterion for providing targeted assistance to 70 percent of the subsistence minimum (from 14,849 tenge to 20,789 tenge, MSL - 29,698 tenge).

I am instructing to establish a minimum payment for each child in large families in the amount of 20,789 tenge for targeted support of families with children eligible for targeted social assistance. All procedures for allocating social assistance should be as simple as possible and proactive. When calculating the aggregate income of such families, separate allowances should be excluded from the calculation, such as state family benefits for large families and mothers with many children, disability allowance for children, scholarships.

As a result, targeted social assistance will reach more than 830,000 people in 2019, including almost 550,000 children. I am also instructing to increase by 30% the allowance to parents, guardians and families (persons) raising children with disabilities. This will cover more than 100,000 people. I am instructing to additionally allocate more than 300 billion tenge for 2019-2021 to implement these measures. The basic principle of social assistance remains the social contract and the mandatory participation of able-bodied family members in employment. I am also instructing the akims to reach every family and enhance measures for those in need of assistance at the expense of the local budget, taking into account regional capabilities. Last year alone, such assistance at the local level was provided in the amount of more than 135 billion tenge. This support must continue. Funds should not be spent on minor matters.

It is logical that single-parent families with many children should be provided with conditions to work from home, and a separate quota of grants and microcredits should be allocated for families with many children in rural areas. The government and akims should carry out this activity together with the Nur Otan party and the Atameken NCE. Akims should revise regional programs of assistance to families in need, taking into account the “Baqytty otbassy” (“Happy Family”) project of the party.

It is aimed at the systematic support for the institution of the family in Kazakhstan. SECOND. It is necessary to intensify work on the provision of housing and the improvement of education and health care. I am instructing the government to build more than 40,000 rental apartments, mainly for low-income families from among large families, in the framework of the Nurly Zher program.

In the next seven years, it is necessary to allocate an additional 50 billion tenge annually for these purposes. It is also necessary to increase the availability of housing for large and single-parent families, families with children with disabilities, who have low incomes.

As for this category of citizens, I am instructing to develop a preferential mechanism for the provision of housing loans at 2-3 percent per annum through the system of housing and construction savings. For these purposes, 50 billion tenge will be allocated annually to the House Construction Savings Bank. Educational reforms need to be followed to its logical end.

Modern realities require the development of new skills and competencies among our children. The formula for success is the constant professional development of teachers, advanced facilities and resources, and relevant training programs. As I have previously instructed, each region should have at least 1 advanced university and 10 modern colleges.

The main criterion for the effectiveness of educational institutions is the employment of graduates. Every citizen of our country should be not only educated, but also healthy. It is necessary to ensure access to high-quality healthcare regardless of place of residence. Domestic medicine, first of all, needs to focus on the prevention of illnesses and promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Expenditures for public health services and primary health care should be increased from 40 to 60 percent of the total health budget.

This is the practice of all developed countries of the world. I am instructing to additionally allocate approximately 120 billion tenge for the advancement of the healthcare sector. Consequently, this will increase the quality and availability of inpatient medical care in 7 regions with coverage of approximately 100,000 patients per year.

THIRD. It is necessary to start implementing a regional policy aimed at improving the quality of life throughout the country. We still have “gaps” in regional development. Why are the roads good in some regions and bad in others? Why are housing and public utilities stable in some places, but fail elsewhere? It means that there are akims who really work, who know and solve people’s problems. But there are those who avoid communicating with the population and ignore the real needs and requirements of local residents.

Akims need to be closer to the people and do everything possible for their benefit. We have various programs, sufficient resources have been allocated, but people do not see tangible results. This state of affairs is unacceptable.

The government and akims of all levels must actually solve all social problems in a constructive way, without populism and chasing after indicators. Each region is strategically important. We must create a New Map of the country based on the updated regional standards of the quality of life. In recent years, we have carried out, huge, historically important work on the construction of the Republican road system. Overall, we have built and reconstructed more than 12,500 km of roads, 2,500 km of railways and sea ports. The highways constructed are important, but the road that leads to your home is even more importance. The expansion of the modern local road system is a key objective of the Government, execution of which shall be under party’s control.

I request to allocate additional 350 billion tenge for this purpose. These measures will help to improve the condition of 95 percent of regional and district roads by 2025. All regional transport infrastructure facilities, including airports, bus and railway stations, should be upgraded. In order to solve the issues of the large cities’ suburban areas, such as Astana, Almaty and Shymkent, additional 90 billion tenge will be allocated for 2019-2021. Additional 10 billion tenge will be provided annually for the development of small and single-industry cities in the next three years.

The most important priorities are ensuring access to clean drinking water for all residents of the country and to carry out large-scale gasification. I request to allocate additional 140 billion tenge for the provision of water supply and discharge. This will solve the problems in this area for more than 2.2 million people. Furthermore, I request to allocate approximately190 billion tenge for gasification and electricity supply. These measures will cover 1.1 million people, as well as significantly improve the reliability of regional electricity supply.

I request the Government to provide for these purposes approximately 920 billion tenge for the period of 2019-2021. Given the above, “Nur Otan” shall launch the party project called “Kutty meken”, with an emphasis on the development of engineering and social infrastructure of the country. We also have opportunities to improve the well-being of 7.5 million villagers. First of all, the Government, together with the akims and maslikhats, should select villages with prospects, develop social sphere, as well as build residential care homes. We shall transform our villages into areas of growth and sustainable development. It is necessary to adopt the experience of of China regarding the development of rural business for the production of consumer goods, processing of agricultural products and so forth. We should build housing, construct roads, provide communication systems, social facilities and develop small and medium enterprises.

This will attract people from economically unviable rural communities to move to these areas. The village has the potential to adequately earn money and live with dignity. In this regard, I request the Government to develop proposals for the implementation of a special project called “Auyl – El besigi” and provide financing for it in the amount of 90 billion tenge for 2019-2021. This will help to consolidate the youth in the village. The above directions and projects are complex, they are linked to the long-term goals of the party and will soon bring material benefits to people. More than 2 trillion tenge will be additionally allocated from the budget for their implementation in the next three years.

These funds should be sought through drastic improvement of customs administration and optimization of budget expenditures. At the same time, it is necessary to exclude the financing of non-priority, expensive activities on the ground. These measures will allow the budget to receive 1 trillion tenge in the next three years. Moreover, it is important to allocate additional 1 trillion 350 billion tenge from the National Fund during the period of 2019-2021. Following my instructions, the new program of the party has been developed based on studying the key global trends and analysis of the situation in all regions of Kazakhstan. It identifies specific goals and projects that should become the basis of the state social policy for the next three years and should set the future for the entire decade. As you know, we have seen the change of Government, the structure of which has been renewed by 70 percent. The new Cabinet Council and all akims shall immediately start implementing the instructions I have announced. Each member of the Government and akims will be personally responsible for the results of the work performed.

Distinguished delegates of the Conference! The party should be actively involved in solving everyday problems of the population. The project called “Halykka komek” is intended to strengthen this work. Today it is important to respond quickly to the current needs of society, focusing the attention of government agencies on them. This is the most effective strategy. In order to achieve this, it is important to establish a powerful feedback system with the population. It is necessary to enhance the work of the party’s public reception offices. In fact, they should become a “single window” of assistance for our citizens based on the “here and now” principle. There should be no bureaucratic delays in this matter. This shall apply not only to state benefits, but also to targeted assistance provided by volunteers and entrepreneurs-philanthropists.

All branches of “Nur Otan” should be focused primarily on this work. The party shall represent the interests of all population segments and act as a key link between citizens and the state. Nowadays the issues of the effectiveness of existing state programs, including in the social sphere, come to the foreground.

In this regard, I am requesting “Nur Otan”, in cooperation with the Presidential Executive Office, to establish the Center for evaluating the effectiveness and monitoring the implementation of state programs and reforms. It is essential to hold hearings of the responsible state agencies on the implementation of state programs on a quarterly basis within the party meetings.

The reports shall be submitted directly to me. We will be able to make appropriate conclusions on their basis. In general, I would like to emphasize once again that economic development should be aimed at increasing the well-being of the population. “Nur Otan” together with the chamber of entrepreneurs “Atameken” shall work on improving the principles of state support for business.

Targeted efforts to eradicate corruption should continue. The focus of special attention should be our youth, since they are the future! This year I declared the Year of youth. The party should seek to improve the effectiveness of the state youth policy. The party should become one of the primary “social elevators” for active citizens and a source of personnel for the system of public administration at all levels.

The new generation of contemporary managers shall be represented by the “Youth reserve of the party”. All Nur Otan members should be true patriots and have an impeccable reputation. Party credibility among people is to be established not only by large-scale actions or events in the center. The image of the party in the eyes of ordinary Kazakhstanis is formed by daily work on the ground. Primary party organizations shall become a key element in solving local and regional problems. We need to work on the content of party events, especially in the regions. We must engage in honest and open dialogue with the people and do everything possible to improve their well-being and quality of life. The solution of such large-scale objectives requires the party’s critical concentration and responsible attitude. “Nur Otan” should become the main institute of public control. It is essential to consider all the proposals I have announced today in the Program of the party.

Dear Colleagues! Nur Otan is a party of complete achievement and bright future. We have a long-term strategy, abundant natural resources, and political will. The power of the state is measured by the pace of economic development and the quality of people’s life. Therefore, I would like to see that my people, who have confidence in me, are happy not in the future but now. Our position is peace and calm, our motto is abundance and unity.Independent Kazakhstan’s solid foundation is peace and harmony!

Being the main party is not about governing but about faithful service to the country! We are the party of people’s unity. Today’s Convention opens a new stage in the development of Kazakhstan.

May we meet the 30th anniversary of the country’s independence in a safe and well-off position!

It’s time to act, friends!
Let’s go, Nur Otan!
Let’s go, Kazakhstan!

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