Kazakhstan outlines key pillars of new economic model 
Kazakhstan should resolutely transition to a new economic model, prioritizing tangible improvements in citizens’ lives, said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his annual state-of-the-nation address.
Kazakhstan outlines key pillars of new economic model 
The Economics of Geography

Kazakhstan outlines key pillars of new economic model 

Photo: AFP/Kazakhstans' Presidential Press Service
Eurasia 03/09/2023 18:29

Kazakhstan should resolutely transition to a new economic model, prioritizing tangible improvements in citizens’ lives, said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his annual state-of-the-nation address, Astana Times reported.

“The new economic course of the country will be guided by principles of fairness, inclusiveness and pragmatism,” stated President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his annual state-of-the-nation address on Sept. 1, according to Astana Times.

The 90-minute address took place with the participation of deputies (members) of the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) and the Senate (upper house), as well as heads of central government agencies, members of the National Kurultai (Congress), the Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Women’s Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy, and representatives from the public and labor communities.

The President highlighted the country’s large-scale political reforms since 2022, and its extensive efforts to safeguard human rights and uphold the rule of law, the news site added.

“However, to become a truly developed country, Kazakhstan should combine political reforms with deep and comprehensive social and economic transformations. Despite challenging geopolitical circumstances, Kazakhstan maintains positive trends in all key economic indicators,” Tokayev noted.

Last year, Kazakhstan’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 104 trillion tenge ($226.2 billion). The country also attracted a record $28 billion in foreign direct investment, and its foreign trade turnover reached $136 billion with $84 billion in exports. The nation’s external reserves are approaching $100 billion.

Focusing on the main pillars of the upcoming structural economic reforms, Tokayev stressed that forming a robust industrial foundation and achieving economic self-sufficiency were paramount. He advocated for accelerated development of the manufacturing sector through transformative national projects. 

The President also emphasized the importance of boosting Kazakhstan’s tourism potential. He proposed implementing at least 15 significant projects in collaboration with foreign and domestic investors.

Another priority, he noted, is to strengthen the defense industry, which is vital for national security. Kazakhstan should establish a production cycle that focuses on localisation in order to decrease its reliance on imports, Astana Times reported.

Astana plans to hold referendum on country's first nuclear power plant

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has unveiled a plan to determine the fate of the country’s first nuclear power plant through a referendum. The announcement came during his national address on Friday, as Kazakhstan's president charted a new economic trajectory for the country, Caspian News reported. Highlighting Kazakhstan's unique position as the world's largest uranium producer, the president said that Kazakhstan has “every right to build a nuclear power plant in our country.” The Central Asian nation's government has long been discussing the construction of a nuclear power plant. In 2021, President Tokayev urged the energy officials not to shelve the issue. He said that the decision to build a nuclear power plant in the country would have to be made anyway, no matter how unpopular it might be. In the same year, Tokayev ordered the government and Samruk-Kazyna National Wealth Fund to comprehensively study the possibility of developing a nuclear power industry in Kazakhstan. According to the president, by 2030, Kazakhstan will face a power shortage. According to reports, the country’s first nuclear power plant will be built near Lake Balkhash in the Almaty region. After deciding on the site for the nuclear power plant, Kazakh authorities were studying the technologies of potential suppliers. Building nuclear power plants is costly, and some analysts say the cost of constructing unit could be approximately $5 billion. Additional costs include storage and disposal of radioactive waste, as well as the subsequent dismantling of exhausted reactors decades later.

Tokayev instructed the government to modernize the national army with high-tech weapons and military equipment, including armored vehicles, drones, and modern firearms.

He also encouraged supporting local businesses through budget financing and simplified procurement processes.

Addressing issues such as the extractive industry, environmental degradation, and recent increases in worker casualties, the President emphasized the need for decisive measures to improve technological and environmental conditions as well as health protection systems at enterprises. Major industrial firms must undergo technological and environmental audits every five years.”

The President noted the necessity to reform geological exploration and the mining sector management system, emphasizing the lack of significant geological discoveries in a resource-rich country like Kazakhstan. Private investments could help to develop the industry’s potential, he pointed out, according to Astana Times.

“The right to use the subsoil should be granted to investors undertaking geological exploration at their own expense. We should enhance the approval process by introducing comprehensive state expertise and full digitalization,” he explained.

He also instructed the government to expand geological and geophysical exploration areas from the current 1.5 million square kilometers to at least 2.2 million by 2026, prioritizing the development of rare and rare earth metal deposits.

“By year’s end, the country should establish a comprehensive vision for the industry’s development. To support the manufacturing industry, foreign and domestic investors should be exempted from paying taxes and other obligatory payments for the first three years. This should give a significant impetus to the manufacturing industry,” Tokayev said.

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