State of the Nation Address of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev
(The beginning part is in the previous issue)
SEVENTH. We need to strengthen the role of the financial sector in developing the real economy and ensure long-term macroeconomic stability.
Now people are mainly concerned with the rise in prices, access to financing and banks’ stability.
The National Bank together with the Government has to finally start using a systemic approach to make the financial and real sectors of the economy healthy and to carry out a comprehensive anti-inflation policy.
Given the current situation, it is crucial to increase loans for the economy, especially for the manufacturing sector and SMEs.
We also need to enhance the efficiency of managing pension assets and social insurance system resources, and effectively develop alternative financial tools – securities market, insurance, etc.
The Astana International Financial Centre should play a pivotal role in providing business with foreign investment and access to capital. To this end, we have created a separate court, financial regulator and stock exchange.
All state agencies and national companies should actively use this platform and facilitate its rapid evolvement and development.
The effective implementation of the above-mentioned measures will boost the income of Kazakh citizens thanks to the growth of salaries and creation of new jobs.
These processes should constantly be in the focus of the Government.
II. INCREASE IN QUALITY OF LIFE
The second component of wellbeing is the growth of quality of life.
Quality and access to education, healthcare, housing, comfortable and safe life concerns every Kazakh family.
In this regard, the Government should review priorities of budget expenditures focusing on the social sector, security and infrastructure.
FIRST. We need to increase expenditures on education, science and healthcare from all sources up to 10% from the GDP within 5 years.
The funds should be used to carry out the planned reforms ensuring significant improvement of quality of services for the population.
SECOND. We need to drastically improve the quality of pre-school education.
The thinking framework, intelligence, creativity, and learning new skills are built in early childhood.
The emphasis in education is shifting towards the 4C model: creativity, critical thinking, communication skills and co-working.
In this area we need to review qualification requirements, training methods, the labour remuneration system for teachers and other employees of kindergartens.
This year the Ministry of Education and Science together with akimats needs to draft a relevant road map.
THIRD. We have defined the major approaches to secondary education, and at the current stage we need to focus on them.
The teaching system and methods of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools must become a single standard for state schools. This will be a final stage in reforming school education.
The system of knowledge evaluation should be based on international standards.
Professional analysis and guiding of children in terms of choosing the most in-demand professions should be carried out starting from secondary school. This will help to shape an individual education track and reduce the academic load on students and teachers.
Given the importance of child safety, I task to equip all schools and kindergartens with video surveillance systems, to optimise activities of school psychologists and to adopt other consistent measures.
To make education more accessible, I instruct the Government to allocate an additional 50 billion tenge from the republic’s budget for 2019-2021 to support regions facing the biggest deficit of school places and problems with three-shift schools or those in critical condition.
FOURTH. I suggest it is necessary to develop and adopt a Law on the Status of Teachers next year.
It should envisage all incentives for teachers and employees of pre-school organisations, to reduce workload, protect from unscheduled inspections and uncharacteristic functions.
FIFTH. We need to raise the bar to the quality of education in academic institutions in the higher education system.
We have increased the number of scholarships, now the time has come for greater responsibility.
The main criterion of a successful university is the employment of graduates and high-paid jobs.
We need to conduct a policy of the integration of higher educational institutions.
Only those providing high quality education should remain in the market. It is crucial to establish partnerships with the world’s leading universities while attracting best foreign senior managers as Nazarbayev University does.
I find it necessary to open a new regional higher education institution following the example of the Nazarbayev University based on the existing education infrastructure.
SIXTH. The quality of medical services is a key component of social well-being of the population.
First of all, we need to make primary health care more accessible, especially in rural areas.
To motivate PHC workers, from January 1, 2019, I task to gradually increase by 20% the salary of district medical workers that introduced new approaches for treating diseases.
Next year 5 billion tenge will be allocated for these purposes.
All hospitals and clinics need to switch to paperless digital medical documentation from January 1, 2019.
This will allow the creation of electronic health passports for the whole population, eliminating queues and bureaucracy, and improving quality of services by 2020.
In 2019 we need to start the construction of a National Oncology Research Centre in Astana using the experience of operating cardiological and neurosurgery clusters.
By doing so, we will save many human lives.
SEVENTH. We need to find reserves at the regional level to increase the access to sport and physical education.
I instruct the Government and akims to construct at least 100 physical and health facilities.
In addition, we need to effectively use existing sports facilities, in particular in schools, and to equip outdoor areas, parks and squares for physical education purposes.
EIGHTH. The health of the nation is the main priority of the state. This means that Kazakh citizens should consume good-quality products.
Currently, we lack a comprehensive policy aimed at protecting our population from low-quality goods and services and those posing a threat to health and life.
I task the Government to take measures and get this activity under control.
A Committee on the Control over Quality and Security of Goods and Services should start operating from the next year.
It will be responsible for expert examination of food products, medicines, potable water, children’s goods and medical services.
For this, we need to establish state-of-the-art laboratories and to build teams of skilled specialists.
Furthermore, public associations protecting consumer rights should be institutionally strengthened and actively involved.
We always support business, but for a human being, his or her rights and health are more important.
As part of the reduction of administrative barriers, the state has cancelled numerous inspections, permits, etc.
That is why the business community also bears responsibility for the quality and security of offered goods and services.
In general, business should think not only about profit, but together with the state should ensure security and a comfortable environment for our citizens.
Qualitative social services provided for the population should be harmoniously complemented by broad opportunities to improve housing conditions, ensure comfortable and safe living in any residential area of the country.
III. CREATING A COMFORTABLE
A comfortable environment means, first and foremost, affordability of housing, a beautiful and safe outdoor area, and a residential area that is convenient to live and work in as well as having qualitative infrastructure.
FIRST. Qualitative and affordable housing.
Today, we are successfully implementing the Nurly Zher Programme that gives a powerful impetus to the housing construction.
We have launched a new large-scale programme 7-20-25 that enhances the affordability of housing mortgages.
I instruct akims to work on a partial subsidising of down payments according to mortgage benefits from the local budget.
The allocation of such housing certificates will enhance the affordability of mortgages for highly-skilled teachers, medical workers, police officers and other experts the region needs.
In addition, we need to enhance the construction of rental housing for socially vulnerable population in big cities.
These measures will help more than 250 thousand families to improve their housing conditions.
Taking into account the construction of utility infrastructure for massive housing areas, in five years the state will help 650 thousand families or more than 2 million of our citizens.
SECOND. We need to ensure the introduction of new approaches to the territorial development of the country.
Currently, economies of leading countries are mostly represented by global cities and megalopolises.
Over 70% of global GDP is generated in cities.
Throughout history, we have developed our own way of life dominated by agricultural economy with mono-cities and small regional centres.
Therefore, it is a great achievement for a country with 18 million people to have three cities with a million-plus population, two of them having become so during Kazakhstan’s independence.
Astana and Almaty already generate over 30% of the country’s GDP.
However, the city infrastructure does not always correspond to the rapidly growing needs of enterprises and population.
In recent years, we have built infrastructure of republican importance in line with the Nurly Zhol Programme.
Since 2015, we have built and reconstructed 2.4 thousand kilometers of roads. This work is ongoing, and we will commission an additional 4.6 thousand kilometers of roads by 2020.
Now, we need to ensure the systemic development of regional and urban infrastructure.
To this end, this year financing for local roads has been increased up to 150 billion tenge, and funds for rural water supply up to 100 billion tenge.
Akims should focus on addressing the most acute problems in the regions using these funds.
The Government also needs to develop a systemic approach to this task, draft a list of additional infrastructure issues, assess projects and find sources to finance them.
The construction of new schools, kindergartens and hospitals needs to be synchronised with plans on the development of residential areas, it is also necessary to create conditions to bring private investors to this sector.
At the same time, we need to gradually transit from the “infrastructure-people” model to the “people-infrastructure” model.
This will facilitate the development of residential areas, enhancing the efficiency of using the allocated funds.
Each region and big city should develop based on their own model of sustainable economic growth and employment taking into account the current competitive advantages.
In this regard, we need to develop a regional standards system for different residential areas – from backbone villages to cities with the republican status.
The standard should include specific indicators for the listing and accessibility of social benefits and public services, transport, cultural, sport, business, production and digital infrastructure, etc.
We need to intensify activities aimed at improving the environmental situation, including polluting emissions, soil condition, land, air, waste disposal, as well as developing environmental monitoring systems with free online access.
Special attention should be paid to the creation of a “barrier-free environment” for people with disabilities.
I task the development of a Predictive Scheme for Territorial and Spatial Development of the Country until 2030 that will serve as a New Map of Administered Urbanisation of the Country until September 1, 2019.
To implement practical steps, I task the draft of a pragmatic Regional Development Programme until 2025 outlining specific events, projects and financing.
The above-mentioned aspects of regional development should be taken into account in Nurly Zhol and Nurly Zher state programmes, their implementation terms should also be prolonged until 2025.
The first programme should focus on the development of transport infrastructure. The second one should centre on utilities and housing construction.
We need to give these programmes “a new lease of life”.
THIRD. We need profound and qualitative transformations in the activity of law-enforcement agencies.
Security is an integral part of quality of life.
Internal affairs officers are at the forefront of the fight against crime and protect citizens from it, quite often risking their lives.
At the same time, society expects a drastic improvement in the work of law-enforcement agencies, mainly, of the police.
I task the Government together with the Executive Office of the President to adopt a road map to modernise internal affairs agencies.
These reforms must be launched on January 1, 2019.
First, we need to optimise the staffing of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and relieve the police of uncharacteristic functions.
The funds saved should be allocated to raise the salaries of police officers, solve their housing and other social problems.
Second, we need to adopt a new standard for police officers and change the system of career advancement, as well as training and selecting personnel in police academies.
All officers must be recertified. Only the best ones will continue to serve.
Third, we need to introduce new modern formats of working with the population, drastically changing police assessment criteria.
We need to switch the police to a service model.
It should be ingrained in the minds of citizens that a police officer does not punish but helps in a difficult situation.
We need to create comfortable conditions for receiving citizens in city and regional internal affairs agencies on a Public Service Centre basis.
All cities of Kazakhstan must be equipped with public security monitoring systems.
Public trust and a sense of security among the population should become the key parameters for assessing the work of the police.
FOURTH. Further judicial system modernisation.
We have achieved a lot over the past years, but we have not tackled the main problem: ensuring a high level of trust in courts.
Moreover, the rule of law is a key to success of our reforms.
First, we should continue introducing modern formats of the work of courts and advanced electronic services.
Every year 4 million of our citizens are dragged into litigations.
We invest so much effort and funds!
We need to reduce the number of excessive judicial procedures, which require an unreasonable spending of time and resources. Processes which used to require personal presence can now be implemented remotely.
Second, we need to ensure a qualitative development and an upgrade of judicial personnel management system, providing incentives so that the best lawyers would strive to become judges.
Third, we need a clear and predictable legal practice, especially for legal disputes between business and state agencies, as well as excluding the possibilities of having an unlawful influence on judges.
I task the Supreme Court, together with the Government, to develop a relevant set of measures by the end of the year.
A smaller and efficient state apparatus, which should consider all of its actions through the prism of increasing the wellbeing of the nation, will play a crucial role in the implementation of any reforms.
How should the state apparatus change in a new reality?
FIRST. Drastic increase in the effectiveness of state agencies.
“Quality” should become a new lifestyle of civil servants, and personal growth – their main principle.
The new kind of civil servants should shorten the gap between the state and society. This means regular feedback, lively discussion and explaining specific measures and results of the state policy to people.
The Public Administration Academy together with the Nazarbayev University needs to develop a “Brand-new Leader” programme and special retraining courses when appointing to senior positions.
It is important to attract specialists from the private sector that have work experience in the best foreign companies or graduated from leading universities of the world.
This year we have introduced a new remuneration model in four state agencies.
All pilot projects have achieved good results.
We made the civil service more attractive, which is especially relevant at the regional level.
By optimising ineffective expenditures and reducing the number of senior positions, salaries of lower and mid-level civil servants grew 2-2.5 times.
The so called brain drain decreased by two times. The intake of highly-skilled professionals from the private sector increased by three times, including graduates of top higher education institutions.
The competition to the central administration at the Agency for Civil Service Affairs has increased up to 28 people per job position, at the regional offices – up to 60 people per job position.
16 people apply for one vacant position in the akimat of Mangystau, and 13 people on average in the Ministry of Justice.
We managed to save up over 30 billion tenge in Astana thanks to new approaches to financing PPP projects alone.
In order to move to a new remuneration model I granted heads of state agencies the right to make a budget and personnel maneuver.
They gained an opportunity to use the funds saved to increase the salaries of civil servants.
Now, many state agencies want to switch to a new model.
However they must understand that it is not a mere automatic increase in salaries, this means, first of all, the increase in effectiveness of their performance.
I task to ensure that the growth of expenditure on remuneration is compensated by optimisation and saving of budget expenses including the expenses of subordinate organisations.
Red tape and egalitarianism must not be allowed to keep this project from being discredited.
SECOND. In this challenging time, we need to ensure the maximum return for each tenge allocated.
Inspections show that the cost of construction is set too high as early as at the drafting stage of the project documentation.
There are projects that have not been finished or those that had no future in the first place.
If we take a responsible approach to the task assigned, we can free hundreds of billions of tenge from the budget and channel them to the real needs of population.
The Government needs to take systemic measures to optimise spending and save funds by excluding ineffective and untimely expenditures.
THIRD. Active fight against corruption will be continued.
First, we need to decrease direct interaction of civil servants with the population when providing public services.
One of the issues that concern people is red tape around land and construction.
This area lacks transparency, requiring full access for the population and business to information.
I task to create a single information database on land reserves and real estate properties.
We need to take this issue under control and give land to real investors!
This is just one example.
We also need to carry out relevant activities on other remaining areas criticised by people and business communities.
In 2019, 80% and in 2020 at least 90% of public services must be digitalised.
To this end, the Law on Public Services should be updated as soon as possible.
Second, we need to address the increase in personal disciplinary responsibility of senior officials when committing corruption-related offences by their subordinates.
At the same time, diligent workers should not be afraid of inspectors.
Third, we need to spread the capital’s experience in implementing the anti-corruption strategy as part of “Corruption-free Regions” projects.
FOURTH. We need to reduce formality and red tape in the work of the Government and all states agencies.
Recently, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of lengthy meetings and sessions in the Government, state agencies, as well in the paperwork.
Sometimes the Government holds up to seven meetings attended by akims and their deputies per day.
When should they have time to work?
We need to put an end to this practice and take this issue under control.
We need to give decision-making freedom to ministers and akims, who should undertake specific responsibilities and be publicly accountable.
This should be based on the developed map of indicators of the Strategic Country Development Plan until 2025.
FIFTH. To effectively implement the objectives set, we need to strengthen the mechanism of control over reforms.
By the end of the year the Government and state agencies must develop specific indicators and road maps covering all mentioned development issues, as well as submitting all necessary reforms-related bills to the Parliament in due time.
Parliament, in turn, should consider and adopt them in a qualitative and timely manner.
To monitor and assess the implementation of reforms and main strategic documents, I task to create a National Modernisation Office in the Executive Office of the President and grant it the relevant mandate.
Apart from monitoring statistic indicators, it will be responsible for conducting regular opinion polls among the population and business regarding issues of interest to the population as it is done in the OECD.
The Office will regularly report to me on the situation in each area.
Each Government member, head of a state agency, head of a state company will be personally responsible for achieving the objectives set.
V. EFFECTIVE FOREIGN POLICY
We need to further implement a proactive foreign policy in order to ensure the successful modernisation of Kazakhstan.
Our peaceful vision and clearly defined principles in this area prove their worth.
Interaction between Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation is exemplary for interstate relations.
The Eurasian Economic Union is successfully functioning as a fully integrated association and an active participant of global economic relations.
A new chapter of cooperation in the Central Asian region has been opened.
A comprehensive strategic partnership with the People’s Republic of China has been gradually developing.
The One Belt – One Road programme gave a new impetus to our relations with China.
During my January official visit to Washington and negotiations with President Donald Trump, we reached an agreement on an enhanced strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and the USA in the 21st century.
We will continue our dynamic collaboration with the EU as our biggest trade and investment partner.
Mutually beneficial bilateral ties with CIS countries, Turkey, Iran, Arab and Asian countries have also been advanced.
The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea adopted on the Aktau Summit opens new opportunities for cooperation with other Caspian states.
Kazakhstan is successfully completing its mission within the UN Security Council.
The Astana Process on Syria is nearly the only effective working format of talks on a peaceful settlement and recovery of this country from the crisis.
Additionally, in the context of difficult modern conditions, the foreign policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan requires adaptation and promotion of national interests based on the principles of pragmatism.
The Strong will to succeed and people’s unity have always shaped the future of countries.
Only by uniting our efforts can we reach great heights.
VI. ENGAGEMENT OF EVERY
OF THE COUNTRY
Every Kazakh citizen should clearly understand the essence of the conducted reforms and their significance for prosperity of our Homeland.
To successfully implement them, it is important as never before to consolidate the society around common goals.
The Rukhani Zhangyru Programme was widely supported and gave a powerful impetus to modernisation processes in society.
This initiative should not only be continued, but also filled with new content and directions.
Comprehensive support to youth and institution of the family should become a priority for state policy.
We need to create a wide platform of social mobility, which will cover a full set of support measures for all youth categories.
I suggest declaring the next year as the Year of Youth.
We should start the modernisation of the social environment in rural areas.
This will be facilitated by the launch of a special project “Auyl – Yel Bessigi” (“Village is the cradle of the nation”).
This project will help us to promote a labor ideology in the regions.
We need to establish child and youth associations Sarbaz similar to the Boy Scout movement, and to strengthen the role of military and patriotic education in schools.
We should restore mass school tourism in the regions of the country within the new “Discover Your Land” initiative.
Today, unique measures are offered in the main fields determining the social well-being of the population.
The financial value of the initiatives is over 1.5 trillion tenge, and their aggregate effect is even more ensuring a huge leap in the quality of the population’s life.
This is the most reliable and beneficial investment.
Dear Kazakh citizens!
Well-being of the population and accession of Kazakhstan to the list of 30 developed countries are the long-term goals of our independent state.
We always adequately respond to the challenges of the time.
We manage to do so, primarily, thanks to our unity.
As we say, “A rich country is the country where people live in harmony”.
We face complex challenges at this current time.
If we have harmony, there are no heights we cannot reach.
In all my addresses I pay special attention to improving social conditions and people’s quality of life.
The main purpose of today’s 7-20-25, Nurly Zhol, Nurly Zher and other state programmes is the improvement of the population’s quality of life.
Kazakhstan still has a lot of heights to climb.
People’s trust raises our spirits and gives us strength on this path.
There is nothing greater than this noble goal!