President Charges Government to Maintain All Social Programmes, Freeze Prices on Essential Products

ASTANA – President Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered the Kazakh government during a Nov. 18 government meeting to save social programmes and make a point of the social protection of the population, including maintaining prices for essential food products at current levels and preventing unemployment.

“I want to say that governments and akims (governors) of regions must raise money to stimulate economic growth, support employment and save household incomes in these challenging times. I know that government has approaches and mechanisms. I supported budget adjustment, which will be considered by Parliament,” Nazarbayev said.

The President emphasised that unemployment is unacceptable in this crisis, saying that the Nurly Zhol economic stimulus programme alone will create 30,000 jobs.

Nazarbayev also paid attention to rising prices. Prices have already increased for essential foodstuffs, including bread, milk and meat. The President stated that prices for these products must be kept at this level, saying that agriculture was well financed and this field must feed the state.

“Today, we see prices rise for many socially necessary products. Government and akims have to work on monitoring prices for essential products, especially foodstuffs. It is necessary to provide direct support to disadvantaged groups, if they need it.”

Nazarbayev asked Minister of Agriculture Assylzhan Mamytbekov, “What is the reason for the rise in prices of products manufactured in Kazakhstan? You reported to me for several years that we have to reduce food imports. We have taken great measures and invested a lot. There are many production companies and drip irrigation hothouses in South Kazakhstan region like never before.”

The President also noted gas price increases and asked for evidence of the need for those increases, saying, “The price of oil was reduced by three times, but petrol gets more expensive. How can you explain this situation to a farmer in simple language?”