Parliament Tallies up Recent Legislative Work

ASTANA – A joint session of the Kazakhstan’s two houses of Parliament chaired by Senate Speaker Kairat Mami and Mazhilis Speaker Nurlan Nigmatulin on June 28 tallied up the work of the fifth convocation of Parliament’s second session, which lasted from September 2012.

In a presentation on its outcome, Nigmatulin said that the Parliament had set targets in relation to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s most recent state-of-the-nation address, the state social modernization programme and the calls voicedby the president at the Parliament’s opening session in September 2012.

During the reported period, three joint sessions of the houses of Parliament were held, 38 plenary sessions in the Mazhilis and 27 in the Senate, subsequent to which 96 bills were considered, adopted and sent to the president to be signed into law.

One of the more significant laws that passed through the Parliament during that time was the National Budget for 2013-2015. The parameters of that budget are focused on employment, affordable housing, industrial and innovative development and the fulfillment of the social obligations of the state. Among other priorities that passed through Parliament were “measures to strengthen defense, national security, legal order, emergency prevention and response,” Nigmatullin said.

The recent joint session also considered the reports of the government and the Accounting Committee on 2012 national budget execution.

To fulfill the president’s instructions to improve the legal framework of economic growth laws on microfinance institutions, amendments on taxation and competition, and on Free Economic Zone activity were adopted.

Another legislative priority during the reported period was legislative support for the social modernization process. The law on the state-funded education system that extends and improves the types of financing of educational services, increases the efficiency of budgetary funds and provides citizens with a more affordable way to finance higher education was of special importance.

The Mazhilis speaker also mentioned bills addressed during the reported period on the optimization and automation of socially important public services, on modernization of public administration and civil service, development of local self-government and division of powers between state authorities.

One of the most socially resonant bills addressed was on pension system reform. The bill’s efforts to raise women’s retirement age to that of men’s was a particular challenge to the Parliament and underwent many considerations, reconsiderations and amendments.

To improve public outreach, feedback and impart more transparency to the Parliament’s work, its members paid visits to various regions of the country and established Mazhilis and Senate accounts on social media networks.

Government also worked in cooperation with the Parliament to implement the priorities of the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy and held more than 30 sessions with meetings.

The speaker also named shortcomings in certain bills, which lacked scholarly, legal, linguistic and anti-corruption expertise, or when this expertise was made post factum. Incomplete bills and ministry reports negatively affect the quality legislative work.

The Parliament also ratified 46 international agreements, mostly on economic cooperation. A package of adopted documents, for example, was pursuant to the development of integration processes in the frames of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Community, which is a practical embodiment of the Eurasian project of the president.

The Parliament also continued building the legal framework of the EurAsEC and CU, as well as the formation of the European Economic Space with a view to the further creation of the Eurasian Economic Union.

In its third session, the Parliament will focus on implementing the priorities identified in the President’s address to the nation.

“The most relevant bills here would be those on trade unions, minimal social standards, as well as a package of bills on entrepreneurial activities,” Nigmatulin said. “We will also pay a special attention to adopting reformed Criminal, Criminal Procedural, Penal (Criminal Executive) and Administrative Codes.”

By the end of this year, additional bills will be considered, including bills on minimum state social standards, agribusiness, development of the cotton industry, combating domestic violence, and others.

“The legislative initiatives remain socially focused,” Nigmatullin said.

Currently, there are more than 30 bills in the Parliament’s portfolio.

The Parliament is in recess until September 1.

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