NUR-SULTAN – The Atyrau Region in western Kazakhstan has made a special contribution to the development of the economy of independent Kazakhstan, said Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the April 22 meeting reviewing the region’s development, reports the Akorda press service.
The nation’s first major investment projects were implemented in this region abundant with oil and gas resources and rich in other mineral resources, which laid a solid foundation for the country’s economic and energy security.
Many major oil and gas companies are working in the region, including Tengizchevroil, Chevron. Shell, ExxonMobil, and the North Caspian Operating Company.
“The region as a whole is developing well. Its economy now accounts for more than 10 percent of the national gross domestic product. Around 30 percent of investments attracted in the country come from this region. The share of Atyrau in total industrial output of Kazakhstan has reached 20 percent,” said Tokayev.
He instructed the government and the regional officials to ensure timely completion of major oil and gas projects.
“It is important to complete the Future Growth Project (Tengizchevroil) on time. It is also necessary to fully develop the Kashagan field. This will increase oil production by 15 million tons in one year. As a result, new jobs will be created and ample opportunities will be created for domestic service companies and small and medium-sized businesses,” said Tokayev.
Tokayev stressed the importance of addressing last year’s decline in industrial production and housing construction and the declining output of small and medium-sized enterprises.
He also criticized the current state of road infrastructure and brought up last year’s grim statistics regarding 232 road incidents that killed 69 people.
“The government and regional akimats (administrations) have until 2025 to repair and rehabilitate 95 percent of local roads. From 2019, 50 billion tenge (US$115.6 million) has been allocated annually from the national budget for this purpose. Local budget funds are also allocated for road construction and repair. However, this does not yield results. Most of the repaired roads become unusable the very next year, and this should be discussed openly,” said Tokayev.
The President also tasked the local officials to remain vigilant of the epidemiological situation and take the measures as needed.
“With the new wave of the pandemic, the number of severe and extremely severe cases is rising. The number has doubled in the past month. It turns out that health facilities still lack the necessary medicines and equipment. This situation could bring a sharp rise in deaths. The shortage of qualified specialists also exacerbates the situation. The region has a shortage of 207 doctors, including 52 in rural areas,” Tokayev said.
The environmental situation also raises concerns, said Tokayev. Last year alone, 160 cases of air pollution were reported in the region which is full of industrial facilities.
“We have adopted a new Environmental Code that complies with best international standards. Enterprises that implement environmental efficiency programs are exempt from waste disposal fees. Oil and gas companies should adopt best practices. The government and public organizations in the region should put this issue under tight control,” he added.