Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

Presidential Message: Vision of Reforms in Kazakhstan

Zaman Bajwa.

The president of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev for the first time addressed his nation to pointing all important segments of society and challenges this Central Asian state facing in the short term.

This addressed was much awaited by the people of Kazakhstan because they wanted to see how election pledges of the new president will take specific reform and programs for the country, and looked for answers to questions: whether the new leader is capable to improve quality of life of the population, to lift economy, to take steps towards creation of open civil society and democratization?

In the first Message of the President to the people of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev accurately and clearly defined his vision for all branches of the power, to each head of public authority and state company for coming years. The president, having noted continuity to a course of the first president Nursultan Nazarbayev, placed emphasis on need to change some approaches in work.

Certainly, the social component will become a cornerstone in actions of the current head of Kazakhstan. So, in August at a conference of school teachers, the assignment to double salary to teachers within four years already sounded, and then in his Message K. Tokayev significantly expanded the plans for increase in the status of the teacher by adoption of the bill “About the Status of the Teacher”. It is a good signal to society that time has come not only to adequately pay work of teachers, but also to return the high status of the Teacher. At the republic further ambitious plans to bring expenses for education, science and health care to 10% of GDP. Existence means of reserves of National bank and in National fund keeps stable the sovereign credit rating of Kazakhstan that allows speak with confidence about approachability of these indicators.

Quality assurance and availability of medical services are also in focus. The president confirmed that the state will continue to keep the guaranteed volume of free medical care.

However, the development system of social support which volume increased more than 17 times in the last three years, Tokayev understands that without existence of strong and developing economy social reforms are impossible. Therefore the head of Kazakhstan in the solution of economic tasks sees a basis of development of the country. First of all, the efficiency, knowledge intensity, and digitalization have to become priorities, according to him.

Great expectations are pinned on the agrarian sector which, according to Tokayev, has to become the driver of all Kazakhstan economy. At the same time he once again confirmed that the agricultural land will not be sold to foreigners. And this statement was heard in the context of the fact that still there is a problem of unfair use, or rather not uses of the land plots by some “latifundists”. Thus, it gave start to audit of effective use of lands in rural areas and, at the same time, extinguished a heat of some opponents speculating on a subject of sale of land to citizens of other states.

For small and medium business the attention of the President is the corruption crimes because business and society strongly suffer from consequences of corruption and it’s very important to tackle this issue.

In the sphere of interaction of society and state the legality, inevitability of punishment, in particular on serious crimes against the personality, to sexual integrity, domestic violence is regarded as of paramount importance. The emphasis on toughening of punishment to tyrants is first of all an indicator that the President and his office accurately trace calls to society and quickly react to them. Resonant case of violence over women and children that were made public in the spring and in the summer did not remain unaddressed. And now from a high tribune it was noted that it is necessary to toughen punishment for tyrants and pedophiles.

The president of Kazakhstan was not limited only to social and economic initiatives. Tokayev in the message confirmed commitment to a liberalization course in carrying out political reforms again. It expressed development of the political competition and multi-party system, public and civil dialogues the need. At the same time he gave an assignment to the relevant structures to improve the legislation on meetings so that, according to the Constitution, citizens could come freely to peaceful actions, express the opinion in the order established by the law.

All these statements of the head of Kazakhstan demonstrate that this largest Central Asian state rich with oil and other natural resources intends to make in the nearest future not only economic breakthrough, but also is ready contrary to the settled traditions to courageous steps on democratization of society. At least, the present statement of the president Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev set hope for such in motion events.

Writer is an Islamabad based Human Rights activist and Freelance Journalist. He tweets @zamanbajwaa.

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