National news in brief

On March 18, Minister of Agriculture Assylzhan Mamytbekov reported on the results of the ministry’s work in 2013 and their tasks for 2014 to President Nazarbayev. He also informed the President about preparations for spring fieldwork. The President told Mamytbekov the ministry must ensure all planting can be done well and on time. Planting has begun in the south of the country and preparations are underway in the north. The minister also talked about agricultural sector development, in particular in cattle breeding, and the implementation of sectoral programmes.

On March 19, President Nazarbayev met with Rector of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University Galimkair Mutanov to discuss the university’s development and improving its competitiveness. The President noted that Al-Farabi Kazakh National University is one of the largest education institutions in the country and its graduates work in all sectors of the economy. Mutanov also reported on the university’s current activity and its main goal of entering the world’s top 200 universities. The rector stressed that Al-Farabi Kazakh National University aims to become part of the innovative, knowledge-based economy. In this regard, the university intends to be an example of solving scientific and technological problems, improving the quality of education and increasing the competitiveness of the nation’s educational institutions.

Minister of Healthcare of Kazakhstan Salidat Kairbekova met with health workers of the Pavlodar region during a trip there on March 19. She reported on measures undertaken to fulfil the instructions of the President at the meeting. Addressing the meeting, the minister said that in his recent address, the President set several tasks in the healthcare sphere, such as developing primary healthcare (PHC) and studying the necessity of introducing compulsory health insurance. Work on introducing a per-capita financing system is aimed at balancing PHC financing in the regions and creating conditions to attract investment to the sector through public-private partnerships. These measures will help ensure equal access to the guaranteed free outpatient medical care for the population. Prevention of diseases will be the main goal of PHC institutions. Regional plans for PHC development and integration with related services for 2014-2020 are  being drafted, and the ministry is working on a mechanism of joint liability for health at the employer level. The ministry’s action plan to fulfill the President’s instructions has been approved. An interdepartmental task force has been established under the chairmanship of the deputy prime minister. The minister of healthcare also held a public reception in the Nur Otan Party’s office.

Speaking at a March 19 media briefing at the Central Communications Service (CCS), Deputy Chairman and Head of the Secretariat of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan Yeraly Tugzhanov said the assembly had drafted a concept to develop Houses of Friendship in all regions. “As you know, the concept of development of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan was adopted last year and the government decree on adopting the concept of development of the Houses of Friendship in the regions has already been prepared as well. The concept places special emphasis on the development of our regional affiliates, establishing a unified structure for all houses of friendship that we have,” Tugzhanov said.

The akimat (regional government) of Kyzylorda region and the Housing Construction Corporation of Kazakhstan signed a memorandum to build leasehold housing in the region within the framework of the Affordable Housing programme, the e-kyzylorda.gov.kz website reports. Speaking at the memorandum signing ceremony, Regional Governor Krymbek Kusherbayev said significant work has been conducted to implement the programme.  In total, 4,907 houses have been commissioned in the region since 2012. The programme hopes to begin construction on five houses in the Arai micro district this year. Another five houses will be built on Shukurov Street in 2015. The akimat of the region, in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development, will ensure the construction of utility networks. According to head of the corporation Ruslan Khussainov, they plan to build 230 apartments this year and 180 apartments next year within the Affordable Housing programme. 2.9 billion tenge (US$15.9 million) was allocated for implementation of the programme.

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