President Lays out Priorities in Speech to New Session of Parliament

ASTANA – On Sept. 2, President Nursultan Nazarbayev delivered a statement at the opening of the third session of Kazakhstan’s Parliament’s fifth convocation laying out his priorities for the next year and asking for deputies’s cooperation.

In the statement, he noted that the tree-party Mazhilis, elected following the Jan. 15, 2012 election, showed positive results, and currently, parliamentary factions are working together, all of which is particularly relevant given the global economic environment.

“Because of the global situation, we will be working in tough conditions for over a year. The world economy is unpredictable. Complex social problems have worsened in many countries. The growth of unemployment, the reduction of incomes and disparities and contrasts in social development are being seen in many countries. In this respect, the situation in Kazakhstan is favourably different. In the first half of 2013, GDP growth in Kazakhstan amounted to more than 5 percent. The GDP indicator per capita has exceeded $12,000. The total international reserves of Kazakhstan, including the foreign exchange assets of the National Fund are about $90 billion,” the president said in a brief overview of the first half of the year.

Along with that, the president stressed that measures in the legislature are being taken in order to expand possibilities to invest in the Kazakh economy. “We are steadily continuing to industrialize innovatively and transition to a cluster development of our economy,” he said. He also mentioned the new model of the civil service, including the introduction of the A Corps, which is a reform of the local government that is underway in the country, and the adoption of the law “On Public Service.”

The head of state noted that the new Kazakh political course takes into account challenges to the development of the country in global, regional and internal dimensions. Based on the long-term Strategy Kazakhstan 2050, during its third session, the Parliament, according to the president, should tackle the following tasks: first, legal support for sustainable economic growth should remain a legislative priority. As President Nazarbayev put it, it was not reasonable to rely on external crediting; therefore, it is important to make maximum use of all the internal capabilities and development resources. In this regard, it is important to create a legal environment in which local businesses would be effectively developed.

“I have tasked the Government with developing the draft Entrepreneurial Code. It is necessary to consolidate the basic principles of the activities of the Kazakh entrepreneurs and their interaction with the state. This should be the ‘constitution of Kazakhstan’s business’,” he noted.

According to the president, another important draft law is “On Permissions and Notifications,” which should include clear guarantees from any bureaucratic invasion with respect to business structures. He tasked the government with introducing the draft law to the Mazhilis by the end of the current year.

The President of Kazakhstan defined the adoption of amendments to the Law “On Subsoil and Subsoil Use” as the most important task in radically simplifying the system for granting exploration rights and to prevent the practice of unproductive speculation with deposits.

In particular, it is necessary to provide execution mechanisms for mandatory requirements to investors that promote diversification of the economy at the signing or amending of contracts. To promote economic development and attract investments by the decree, he ordered the government to ensure the development of the legislative framework of the Baiterek National Managing Holding until January 1, 2014.

The president mentioned the second set of tasks, which is associated with the adoption of new legislative norms encouraging innovation, particularly in priority sectors. Currently, the Parliament is considering a draft law “On the innovation cluster ‘Park of Innovative Technologies’” and related regulatory norms to it.

He also focused on the important issue of improving energy efficiency and energy conservation. By the presidential decree, the concept of a transition to a “green economy” was adopted earlier this year. Implementation of the concept requires improvement of the legislation, which should be conducted expeditiously, so in the course of the third session, the Parliament should begin consideration of legislative framework for the establishment and development of a “green economy.”

“In this regard, I task the government with speeding up the submission of relevant draft laws for consideration of the Parliament. This is particularly important in light of the forthcoming Astana International Exhibition EXPO 2017,” the president noted.

Nursultan Nazarbayev emphasized the importance of further legal provision of social modernization. “It is important to step up efforts to reform the system of social security, especially retirement. In my address to the people of Kazakhstan in connection with the reform of the pension system, I tasked the Government with providing additional guarantees to increase pension savings. In particular, it is necessary, first, to provide a subsidy from the budget of compulsory pension contributions for working women during their stay on leave for the birth and care of their children. Second, introduce a 5-percent mandatory employer contribution to the pension fund accounts of their employees. Third, to provide a phased increase in the rate of compulsory professional contributions by 5 percent. And fourth, to ensure the efficiency of investment of pension assets in the most promising areas of the country,” the president stated.

Another important aspect of social modernization is the strengthening of the legislative framework of youth policy. In this respect, lawmakers should consider the draft law on the state youth policy. Laws on minimum social standards and safeguards, physical culture and sports, and others should also be considered and adopted.

The president also noted a set of lawmaking tasks related to modernization of law enforcement legislation. In accordance with this, the Parliament is expected to consider the new draft Criminal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Criminal-Executive Code and the Code of Administrative Offences. In fact, a new legal framework will be formed for the law enforcement and judicial systems using international experience. According to the head of state, the government and lawmakers should build a common vector between the tendencies of humanization of criminal law and the formation of a “zero tolerance” attitude for offenses in society.

The adoption of new acts will modernize the criminal justice system. Kazakh law will reach quality levels, allowing for the better protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens, the president explained.

One more important trend is the ratification of international agreements signed by Kazakhstan with other countries.

Concluding his speech, President Nazarbayev expressed confidence in the effectiveness of coordinated activity of the Parliament and the Government in making important decisions aimed at the further development and prosperity of Kazakhstan.

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