Along with the gradual weakening of quarantine measures, the Kazakh government has put forward a comprehensive plan to halt the collapse of the economy because of the COVID lockdown and to achieve economic growth by the end of 2020. The plan was adopted on May 19 during a government conference call chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin.
The comprehensive plan covers all of the economy from manufacturing, mining, metallurgy and agro-industrial complexes to construction, civil aviation, logistics, tourism, small and medium-sized businesses and services. The plan was enthusiastically hailed by the business representatives selected to participate in the conference call (these included large entrepreneurs as well as representatives of the interests of small and medium-sized businesses) and no objections were put forward. The comprehensive plan was praised because of its timeliness, thoughtfulness and the balanced measures it proposed.
According to chairman of the Union of Mechanical Engineers of Kazakhstan Meiram Pshembayev, Kazakhstan’s big business community fully supports all of the proposed measures.
“The government’s decision to subsidize important enterprises is very important to us. This will help us resume production. The investment support proposed by the plan will go a long way as well… This will also help many workers find employment,” said Pshembayev.
One of the key points of the Prime Minister’s recovery plan involves stimulating the construction sector, and in particular, the accelerated design and construction of hospitals and other vital public facilities. The Nurly Zher program (a state program to provide affordable housing for the population), plans to launch a pilot project providing preferential loans – the 5-10-20 plan.
The government also promised to help streamline the ability of companies to purchase domestic building materials, as well as to provide an opportunity for the construction industry to participate in the SME lending program, which will significantly expand the number of participants in the housing construction program.
In addition, President Tokayev has prioritized the construction of affordable housing and the issuance of mortgage loans. 390 billion tenge (US$935 million) will be allocated from anti-crisis funds for these purposes. Record amounts of housing projects were planned for 2020 – the government planned to construct 15 million square meters, or 150,000 apartments and houses.
It is worth noting that during the two months of strict quarantine the Kazakh government spared no expense helping its citizens survive the shutdown. About 4.5 million people received financial assistance, more than 1 million people received food and household items, utility tariffs were reduced for 1.6 million residents of the republic, and more than 2 million people had their loans deferred and were allowed to continue living on their property
In total, the authorities of the republic allocated 5.9 trillion tenge (US$14 billion) to anti-crisis measures, which is 8.6 percent of Kazakhstan’s GDP. This is the highest amount among all the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member countries.
Going forward, the focus of Tokayev’s government will be on increasing the self-sufficiency of the Kazakh economy.