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Kazakhstan President's unexpected State of the Nation Address

©Turar Kazangapov ©Turar Kazangapov

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has unexpectedly delivered his annual State of the Nation Address at a meeting of the political council of the ruling Nur Otan party on Tuesday, November 11.

"I want to tell you that time is running out. The challenges are literally rolling in. We need action. Because of this, I decided to address my message to the people of Kazakhstan at this meeting," Nazarbayev said.

Previously, the President addressed the nation in January-February. And this year as well, he addressed the nation on January 17, 2014. Another State of the Nation Address the same year is quite a surprise.

"From my wide experience I am anticipating that the coming few years will be a time of global trials for the world and for us, too. The architecture of the world will change. Not all states will pass this difficult stage worthily. Only the strong will pass this landmark, only united nations and countries," President said.

The President of Kazakhstan explained why his State of the Nation Address came early. "In 2007 the global crisis started and is still ongoing, as well as the challenges and threats [brought about with the crisis]. Sanctions reciprocation is now between Russia and the West. The events in the Middle East are clearly impacting Kazakhstan as well. One can say that the crisis continues,” Nazarbayev said.

“We must take action in order to justify the confidence of the people and get out of this situation unharmed. The coming years will not be very easy for our country. For this reason, I want to focus this address on what should be done before the year’s end now, in advance. To allow time for this, I am addressing the people at the end of the year," he said.

Nazarbayev stressed that Kazakhstan was a country “in close proximity to the epicenter of geopolitical tension”, a factor which along with the world economic situation had its negative impact on the country.

"As a result, we can see what is going on: prices on the world markets are falling, the overall economic growth is slowing down. As you know, the forecasts for the world economy for 2014 and the following two years have been revised by the International Monetary Bank downward. This will also affect us. Therefore, we need to quickly review some positions and also make adjustments to the plans for the coming period. We have no time to lose. Those measures, which will be discussed today, should be implemented starting January 1, 2015. We must promptly take all the measures to prevent negative developments, to meet the expectations of the people that this will not hurt them. We have such an experience,” he said.

President Nazarbayev said that the government has already revised its 2015 budget in connection with the falling prices on Kazakhstan’s exports, such as oil, but maintained that the public sector salaries and pensions would not be cut.  

He announced the New Economic Policy called “Nurly Zhol” aimed at maintaining the economy of the country during the hard period.

“It will have a countercyclical nature and will focus on continuation of structural reforms in our economy,” he said.

He said that the money saved in the National Fund during prosperous years while the economic situation in the world was positive would now be used to counter the negative external factors. “These resources are not meant for short-term measures. They will focus on continueing the transformation of the economy. Namely - the development of transport, energy, industrial and social infrastructure, small and medium businesses,” he said.

The core of the New Economic Policy will be the Plan of Infrastructural Development, which Nazarbayev also made public. It is a five-year plan coinciding with the second phase of the Program of Industrialization of Kazakhstan. It will attract 100 foreign companies and its investment portfolio will equal 6 trillion tenge ($33 billion) with a 15 percent state's share.

Nazarbayev spoke about the crucial importance of unity and solidarity in the country for fulfilling the tasks.

“To pass the global test of maturity, we must be united. We must strengthen the trust between all the people of Kazakhstan! Be tolerant to each other! These are the keys to the future of Kazakhstan. Interethnic harmony is life-giving oxygen. We do not notice it when we breathe, we do it automatically - we just live. We need to protect our unity and interethnic accord,” he declared.

“Our young people are growing into a new, independent country. The current generation has not seen ethnic wars and conflicts, or the chaos of the 1990s. And many perceive stability and comfortable life in Kazakhstan as something posited by birth,” Nazarbayev continued emphasized that the youth was the future of Kazakhstan.

“Peace and stability are the public legacy, which needs to be protected and strengthened every day,” he said.

By Dinara Urazova

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