“In 2015, there will be 157.3 billion tenge (US$848.4 million) of available agricultural subsidies, which is almost 1.8 times more than in 2013,”arecent report of the Ministry of Agriculture stated. According to the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture, the country’s gross agricultural output for 2014 amounted to 2.5 trillion tenge (US$13.48 billion), which exceeded the previous year by 0.8 percent. Despite difficult weather conditions, crop production amounted to 98.4 percent compared to last year while livestock production grew 3.8 percent year-on-year. There was a 2.9 percent increase in food production. In 2014, the introduction of the investment subsidy increased investments in fixed capital in agriculture by 14.4 percent and reached166.4 billion tenge (US$897.16 million). Investments in food production increased by 16.5 percent and amounted to 40.8 billion tenge (US$219.95 million). According to the Ministry of Agriculture, last year was a turning point formeat export growth. According to the ministry, Kazakhstan exported 12,300 tonnes of meat and meat products in 2014. Red meat exports totalled 7,500 tonnes, including 6,300 tonnes of beef. Agricultural imports decreased by 4.1 percent.
“The volume of payments after Kazakhstan’s pension system reforms will compensate 40-43 percent of revenue; this brings the country into compliance with International Labour Organisation (ILO) requirements,” Vice Minister of Health and Social Development of Kazakhstan Svetlana Zhakupova announced at a March 5 media briefing. “After the reforms, it is expected that the income replacement rate will remain at 40-43 percent. This figure is what is recommended by the ILO,” Zhakupova said. She recalled that the first step in reforming the pension system was the introduction of compulsory pension contributions for those working in hazardous conditions, as well as subsidising compulsory pension contributions for mothers on maternity leave. The second stage of modernisation is a complete transformation of base pension payments, which is applied without regard to work experience and available income. From July 1, 2017, basic pension payments will be determinedby insurance status. If a person has work experience of 10 years or less, he will be appointed a basic pension within 50 percent of the subsistence level. The vice minister also said that the draft law on reforming the pension system has been developed and is being considered by the government. It is expected that in April, it will be submitted to the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament).
Kazakhstan plans to open a Family Support Institute, Vice Minister of Health and Social Development of Kazakhstan Svetlana Zhakupova said at a March 5 Central Communications Service (CCS) briefing. According to Zhakupova, the institute will be responsible for settling difficult family problems. “If a family has difficult circumstances, such as a disabled child, sick breadwinner or unemployment, an individual plan to support the family will be developed. There will be a multi-disciplinary team to support the family and attempt to take the family out of the rough situation,” she said. Moreover, she noted that the Mazhilis is considering a law creating work places for disabled people.
“The 6+6 model will be introduced for Bolashak student language training, which includes foreign language learning for six months in Kazakhstan and six months abroad,” President of the Centre of International Programmes Gani Nygymetov said at a March 2 media briefing. He also said that the Bolashak Programme concentrates on quality results. Requirements for foreign and Kazakh languages, as well as requirements for foreign universities are becoming increasingly stringent. Opportunities for scientific works have also been increased. The programme will pay more attention to graduate and post-graduate programmes. Moreover, it has been suggested that Bolashak programme recipients apply for graduate programmes through the programme.