Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev spoke at a meeting of the Majilis (a lower house of the Kazakh Parliament), where he nominated Alikhan Smailov as the new Prime Minister of Kazakhstan and went on to outline a new course for the political, social, and economic modernization of the country.
At the meeting of the Majilis, which took place at a difficult time for the country, the President reaffirmed his adherence to the basic principles of the “Listening State”.
In the socio-economic part of his speech, the President outlined the most pressing issues and presented tasks that require immediate implementation.
One of the key issues is the need to promote social justice, equal rights, and opportunities.
For the sustainable development of the business environment, the government is set to revise the work of the main financial institution – the Development Bank of Kazakhstan. In addition, it is necessary to transform and increase the transparency of the entire quasi-public sector. The Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund and other national companies will be audited, and the procurement procedure will be revised. Only healthy competition and freedom of entrepreneurship will allow the country’s economy to develop and improve the welfare of Kazakh people.
The Kazakh President paid special attention to reforms in the social sector, which means not only the support of vulnerable groups of the population, but also a key way of stimulating dialogue and interaction between the state and society. The overall well-being of the people should become the major indicator to measure the country’s success.
Our country belongs to a group of countries with a high level of urbanization of the population – 58.2 percent, and the absolute leader in urbanized population among the countries of Central Asia. The President noted that this also led to distortions in the socio-demographic development in the regions. From now on, the state and business will have to make better efforts to promote the even and fair development of all the regions, from cities and single-industry towns to rural districts. Bridging the gap between the level and quality of life in human settlements will enable Kazakhstan to create inclusive and sustainable societies.
The President also noted that many measures of state support remain non-transparent and incomprehensible. Such measures will be reviewed and improved.
Kazakhstan is a young state, the average age of a Kazakh citizen is 32, and the number of citizens of the working age of the country is 59 percent of the Kazakh population, and this is a colossal human capital and potential that will be supported within the framework of the new reforms proposed by the President. Through adherence to the principles of meritocracy in the civil service, social lifts for young people and stimulating business, citizens will be provided not only with jobs, but also with wide career opportunities.
Fair distribution of benefits, socio-economic development of regions, as well as improving the education and culture of our people has become a strategic priority for the government. Thus, Kazakhstan is entering a new reality, where social values have to be rethought to raise a new progressive generation of professionals and patriots.
The author is Zarema Shaukenova, the Director of Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies.