Expert: Regional Development Ministry to help industrial development in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan Materials 16 January 2013 20:02

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 16 / Trend E. Kosolapova /

The Regional Development Ministry being established in Kazakhstan will help to develop industry in the country, Kazakh political analyst Eduard Poletayev said today.

"Judging by the Kazakh president's recent message, Kazakhstan Strategy 2020-2050 and his programme article Universal Labour Society which was published last summer, Kazakhstan is focusing on the development of industrial production," he told Trend over phone. "This will be much harder to do in the old and new capitals, so that industrial production is likely to fall to regions."

Poletayev added that at present, despite a number of high macroeconomic indices, such as the GDP, the imbalance of regional development which causes internal migration is observed in Kazakhstan.

"The regions envy the four As," he said. "These are the two cities of the republican significance ​​of Astana and Almaty and Aktau and Atyrau, which are good in terms of the level of wages and the standard of living and level of development," he said. "But there are relatively depressed regions such as Zhambyl, North Kazakhstan and South Kazakhstan regions."

The new ministry must equalise the existing imbalance, he added.

"We have traditional areas related to industrial production such as Eastern Kazakhstan and the Aktobe region," he said. "And there are regions focusing on agriculture, for example South Kazakhstan, although a lot of the labour force can be involved in industrial production."

Poletayev added that the ministry is being established within the trend of state programmes aimed at regions that are already giving some positive results.

"There are a number of state programmes, such as affordable housing which envisages the construction of rental and cheap social housing, or the employment programme which envisages occupational training with good job opportunities. All these programmes focus on the regions because a capital resident will be unlikely to benefit from the employment programme. He or she have other opportunities and prospects."

Poletayev added that the imbalance in regional development is the general trend of the post-Soviet area, rather than Kazakhstan's problem.

"We know that once a ministry for Siberia and the Far East development was established in Russia in connection with the fact that sparsely populated areas need to transfer investments and attract a labour force," he said.

Poletayev said that a separate ministry will simplify control over regional bodies.

"At present, the powers of the regional bodies are being increased," he said. "The president said that the heads of rural areas will be appointed through elections soon. As there will be many elected akims (mayors), some supervision and coordination of the interests are required."

Poletayev added it is too early to make predictions about the effectiveness of the new ministry, as its powers are not defined.

"It is still unclear when this ministry will be created. The period given by the president for its establishment, who will lead this ministry and the principle of financing it will depend on whether the ministry has enough resources," he said. "Too much depends on a person in Kazakh terms."

The Kazakh presidential press service issued a presidential decree on the establishment of the Regional Development Ministry on Wednesday.