Kazakh national employment programme seeks to employ more than 500,000 by year’s end

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s employment and mass entrepreneurship programme seeks to recruit 571,000 citizens through state support mechanisms by the end of 2018, said Kazakh Minister of Labour and Social Protection Madina Abylkassymova.

The programme primarily seeks to improve the qualifications of the labour force, develop mass entrepreneurship and involve the self-employed and unemployed population in the labour sector. The budget allotted 112.9 billion tenge (US$306.2 million) for the programme this year.

“Of that, 82.5 billion tenge (US$223.75 million) was used within ten months. As of October, the programme reached 563,000 citizens, 99 percent of this year’s plan. Of those, 458,000 were employed, including 327,000 on a full-time basis, or 71 percent,” she said.

Mass technical and professional education is part of the effort envisioned in the programme. Through October, nearly 40,000 citizens have attended short-term professional education courses, which exceeded the ministry’s plan by 7 percent. The ministry also plans to extend the list of in-demand professions and skills currently connected with the courses.  

Requirements for educational facilities will also be tightened, she noted. Among the measures will be improving the material and technical base, qualified staffs, dual education and employing at least 60 percent of graduates.

Courses will also be taught for workers training to meet the demands of Industry 4.0, with the condition of the employer co-financing at least half of the educational cost.

Developing mass entrepreneurship is set as the second direction of the programme and microcredits are key to facilitating business development, primarily in rural areas. The ministry reported 42 billion tenge (US$113.9 million) was granted in microcredits, including 31 billion (US$84 million) in rural areas and 11 billion tenge (US$29.8 million) in cities.

At present, 70 percent of the plan is complete, as Kazakh citizens received 9,801 microloans, including 8,778 in rural areas and 1,023 in cities. Of those, 6,717 were earmarked to support start-ups, 2,464 to develop businesses and 620 to form new agriculture cooperatives.

Seven second-tier banks and two micro financial organisations are currently providing microloans, according to Kazakh Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov.

“As of October, participants of the programme that received microloans in 2017 produced products worth 7.6 billion tenge (US$20.6 million), created nearly 1,000 jobs and paid 299 million tenge (US$810,900) in taxes. We expect significant growth in the indicators after the evaluation of tax reports in the end of the year; that is, after full use of budget resources in the economy,” he said.

Abylkassymova added 128,000 people were employed at subsidised jobs and nearly 336,000 through an electronic labour exchange.

To facilitate the mobility of labour resources, 1,488 families were relocated from southern regions characterised by an excess work force.

“Providing accommodation is an important factor in relocating [people] to the regions with a lack of labour. As instructed by the head of state, we developed mechanisms to build and purchase housing for these people involving employers. Such an approach will first be applied in the North Kazakhstan region and then applied in other regions,” she said.

The budget plans to allocate 15 billion tenge (US$40.6 million) for this action for the next three years, providing housing to more than 3,000 relocated families in the North Kazakhstan region.

Coordination among state bodies needs to be improved, the minister said, to monitor job creation as part of the national programmes, investment projects and in small and medium-sized businesses.

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