Domestic News in Brief

On April 3, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov reported to President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the country’s development in the first quarter of 2013. The president said the country needed to maintain its pace of development and prepare for the spring sowing campaign. He said the major railway and road-building programmes needed to be completed rapidly. “Our national social and economic development is proceeding well and this year the economy should grow by 4.3 percent,” he said. “If construction projects give us more impetus, we will have 4.5 percent growth,” the prime minister said. Akhmetov said the Affordable Housing Programme might even boost this year’s growth rate to 6 percent. He briefed the president on the new per capita financing plan to help schools in remote and poor areas.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed the main aspects of the country’s diplomatic activity with Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov on April 4. Idrissov briefed the president on the current work of the foreign ministry.

Majilis Speaker Nurlan Nigmatulin met with employees of “OzenMunayGas” in Zhanaozen on April 4 and discussed healthcare, education, social services, and pension reform with them. “It is very important for us to see for ourselves what really worries people,” the Speaker said. “For the law to be effective, we need to know how it will affect the life of ordinary people and how it impacts on the development of a region.”

The government has formed a new National Commission on Personnel Policy to create a new top managerial echelon for the national civil service, Gabidulla Abdrakhimov, the deputy head of the Presidential Administration, told a briefing at the Central Communications Service on April 3. President Nursultan Nazarbayev set up the commission by presidential decree on March 7. It first met on April 2, he said. The president named Marat Daueshov, head of the civil service and the personnel policy department of the Presidential Administration as secretary of the new commission.

Under a new bill, the retirement age for women will be raised by a total of five years over the next decade, Labour and Social Protection Minister Serik Abdenov told the Cabinet on April 2. The retirement age will be raised by six months every year, he said. At the end of that period, women would retire at the same age as men, and thus receive increased pensions, he said. Abdenov said women account for 3.8 million, or 45 percent of the work force, but their average pension savings is 25 percent less than those of men. He said women had shorter periods in the work force to accumulate pension savings and also suffered from gender differences in salaries. The government has now sent the bill to the Parliament for consideration. Earlier, when news first surfaced of the plans, activists throughout the country raised concerns about the proposed increase in women’s retirement age.

A military action parade will be held in Astana on May 7 with 86 aircraft and helicopters, the Ministry of Defence said. It said the parade would be the first of its kind in Kazakhstan.

“Kazakhstan is working on the creation of an agency for official development assistance to countries “KazAID”, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Alexey Volkov announced during the presentation of the 2013 Human Development Report “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.In addition, he said the MFA continues to work on the creation of the Almaty regional hub of multilateral diplomacy. “We believe giving the city of Almaty a status of a UN regional centre such as Vienna, Bangkok, Geneva would facilitate the implementation of big regional projects, and expand the development assistance to such countries and regions as Afghanistan and the South Caucasus,” the Deputy Minister added.

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