Nurly Zhol systematically developing infrastructure in key areas, say ministers

ASTANA – The Nov. 19 government meeting included a review of the ways Nurly Zhol, the state infrastructure development programme, has been and continues to be implemented from 2015-2019.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

The programme has been allocated 792 billion tenge (US$2.16 billion), of which 411 billion tenge (US$1.12 billion) or 52 percent has been utilised by November, said First Vice Minister of National Economy Ruslan Dalenov. The figure includes 439 billion tenge (US$1.2 billion) made available from the national budget, of which 335 billion tenge (US$912.61 million) or 76 percent has been utilised.

“Regarding transport infrastructure development, 25 road projects are under implementation,” he said. “As of today, the overhaul of 805 kilometres of railway tracks is complete.”

Minister for Investments and Development Zhenis Kassymbek noted 7,000 kilometres of national roads were constructed and reconstructed and 10,000 kilometres repaired.

“More than 100,000 jobs were created at all sites and the share of domestically produced materials was approximately 95 percent,” he said.

Road tolls were tested on the Almaty–Kapchagai, Almaty–Khorgos and Astana–Temirtau sections and will be installed more widely next year. In 2020, toll roads will cover approximately 6,600 kilometres.

Approximately 807 billion tenge (US$2.2 billion) has been allocated under Nurly Zhol to improve highway quality, said KazAvtoZhol board chairperson Yermek Kizatov.

“One thousand and four kilometres [of highways] were commissioned with the allocated funds. This year, 19 projects are being implemented, of which 13 projects are financed by the national budget and six projects are financed with borrowed funds. By year’s end, 426 kilometres will be put into operation and work will begin on another 453 kilometres,” he added.

Water transport measures centre on seaports. The annual handling capacity at Aktau and Kuryk ports has increased from 19.5 million tonnes to 25.5 million tonnes.

“Kazakhstan’s share in the maritime transportation of goods in the Caspian Sea is approximately 37 percent,” said Kassymbek.

Growth has also been exhibited in air transport. Nearly 6.7 million people flew in 2018, 9.6 percent more than the previous year. Kazakh and foreign carriers have also opened new routes from Helsinki to the capital, Moscow to Kyzylorda, Novosibirsk to Pavlodar, Atyrau to Frankfurt, Krasnoyarsk and Riga to Almaty and the capital to Chelyabinsk, Kazan, Krasnodar, Sochi, Tomsk, Tyumen and Vilnius.

Regarding energy infrastructure development, construction of the 500-KW Shulbinsk hydroelectric power plant (Semey)–Aktogay–Taldykorgan–Alma project funded by Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company will be complete by year’s end. Budget loans totaling 35.2 billion tenge (US$95.9 million) will be issued and 290.6 kilometres of networks will be constructed, of which 118.4 kilometres are complete.

International co-financing organisations have committed 12.1 billion tenge (US$32.96 million) to Nurly Zhol, of which three billion tenge (US$8.17 million) or 25 percent has been distributed. Four projects centre on stimulating innovation, promoting sustainable development and improving heat, water supply and drainage systems.

Budget loans and subsidies will also be provided to modernise heat, water supply and drainage systems. From 2015-2018, 2,982 kilometres of heat, water supply and drainage networks, 24 boiler houses and 71 other facilities were completed. The plan is to construct and reconstruct another 3,478.6 kilometres of heat, water supply and drainage networks, 29 boiler houses and 95 other facilities.

According to Minister of Finance Alikhan Smailov, the national budget funds allocated toward modernising transport, energy, network and housing and public utility infrastructure are being fully utilised. He noted that in identifying risks when specifying its budgetary needs, the state programme optimised its expenditure by 37.5 billion tenge (US$102.16 million).

Overall, Nurly Zhol activities are proceeding in a timely manner. Upon hearing the ministers’ reports, Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev drew their attention towards undertaking additional measures to update housing and public utility infrastructure.