Kazakh government allocates record amount for social assistance 

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan increased social spending 28 percent in the first eight months of 2019 over the same period 2018, reported Ranking.kz.

The country spent 2.3 trillion tenge (US$5.9 billion) on social programmes from January to August and spent 1.8 trillion tenge (US$4.6 billion) during the same months of 2018. 

As of August 15, 1.8 million Kazakh people received social assistance. The largest number of beneficiaries live in the Turkestan Region at 498,700 people. Approximately 225,400 people received assistance in the Almaty Region and 216,300 people received assistance in Shymkent. 

Approximately 42 percent of beneficiaries are urban residents and 58 percent live in rural areas. As of August 1, 103 billion tenge (US$246 million) had been allocated for social benefits. The average payment per family was 86,000 tenge (US$222) per month, according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to identify those who illegally receive social assistance. The concealment of income and re-receipt of social assistance by registering at a temporary place of residence were named among the most common violations. 

Overall Kazakh government spending has also increased in 2019. The expenditures of the National Fund increased 17.6 percent over the last year to 8.4 trillion tenge (US$21 billion). Last year, state budget expenditures were 7.1 trillion tenge (US$18 billion) with a decrease of 16 percent. 

“Most of the funds, or 27.3 percent of the total costs, were allocated for social assistance and social security. This indicator was 25.1 percent a year earlier. A considerable allocation is also provided for education at 1.5 trillion tenge (US$3.8 billion), or 17.6 percent, and for the healthcare sector at 787.4 billion tenge (US$2 billion), or 9.4 percent),” reads the ministry press release. 

The five priority areas for state budget expenditures also included debt servicing at 538.3 billion tenge (US$1.4 billion), or 6.4 percent, and transport and communications at 521 billion tenge (US$1.3 billion), or 6.2 percent.

As of the end of the second quarter, the share of the population with income below the subsistence level was 4.3 percent, according to the Statistics Committee of the Ministry of National Economy. 

The share exceeds the national average value in six regions. For example, the share of the population with incomes below the subsistence level is 11.2 percent in the Turkestan Region and 5.8 percent and 5.1 percent in the Zhambyl Region and the North Kazakhstan Region respectively.

Five years earlier, the share of the population with incomes below the subsistence level was 2.9 percent.