Domestic News in Brief

On Sept. 22, during a visit to Kyzylorda region, President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed to pay special attention to forming flexible enterprises of 10-20 employees along the Western Europe-Western China highway. The 8,445-kilometre highway, which crosses three of the world’s 10 largest countries by area, will be the fourth longest highway in the world when completed. Construction of the highway started in 2009. After completion, the route will be the fastest means of transportation across Central Asia. It is estimated that the trip from China to Europe will last about 10 days on average. Rail trips are currently about 15 days.

The transfer of pension assets and obligations of existing pension funds in Kazakhstan to the newly created Unified National Pension Fund will start on Oct. 11 and finish on June 26, 2014. Nine Kazakhstan pension funds will be transferring their assets and obligations to the UNPF. According to the schedule approved by the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the assets and obligations of the Republican Pension Fund will be transferred first. The start is scheduled for Oct. 11, 2013 and the process will last until Jan. 11, 2014.

Grigory Marchenko has been replaced by former Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov as Chairman (Governor) of the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK). The move, announced on Oct. 1, came four years into Marchenko’s second term as head of the National Bank and just ahead of the central bank’s takeover of the country’s pension assets. Kelimbetov has held several high-level government positions, including minister of economy and budget planning and deputy chairman of Kazakhstan’s Samruk Kazyna sovereign wealth fund.

The population of Astana on Sept. 1, 2013, amounted to 800,656 people, including 366,219 (45.7 percent) in Almaty district, 110,216 (13.8 percent) in Yessil district and 324,221 (40.5 percent) in Sary-Arka district. “For the first eight months of this year, the population of the capital has increased by 22,458, growing by 12,085 through natural increase and 10,373 as a result of migration,” the Astana statistics department reported. At present, Astana is a large city with an area of 710.0 square kilometres. Moving the capital to Astana has led to a rapid increase in the city’s population. The average age of a resident of the capital, according to the latest data, is 30 years old.

At a Central Communications Service press conference on Oct. 1, Deputy Minister of Healthcare of Kazakhstan Erik Baizhunusov said the Almaty Declaration adopted 35 years ago played an important role in the development of healthcare for countries around the world. “We often forget what primary health care is and what it gives to us. Therefore, I want to give you some figures. Kazakhstan offers free vaccinations against 21 infectious diseases. We annually vaccinate about five million people, including 1.4 million children,” Baizhunusov said. About 5,000 people suffering from hepatitis B were registered in 1998. Presently, there are about 200 incidences a year, he said.

On Oct. 1, President Nursultan Nazarbayev received Chairman of the Agency on Fighting Economic and Corruption Crimes Rashid Tussupbekov. Tussupbekov told the president about the agency’s activities in combating corruption and the shadow economy in first nine months of 2013. According to Tussupbekov, detection of corruption crimes increased by 7 percent in this period. Some 8,059 corruption crimes, including 248 bribery cases and 4,619 economic crimes, were registered in this period and over 100 criminal proceedings were initiated against officials serving at national and regional levels. The agency has focused on fighting the shadow economy and false entrepreneurship. Tussupbekov also told the president about activities aimed at preventing crimes. The Situation Centre works on this issue and exposes officials and businesses engaged in corruption and economic crimes.