Dushanbe has hosted the second session of the Arab Economic Cooperation Forum with the countries of Central Asia and Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan’s delegation was headed by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Akylbek Kamaldinov.

The Forum saw the participation of Minister for Foreign Affairs of Djibouti - Chairman of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States Mahamoud Ali Youssouf and Secretary General of the League of Arab States Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Turkmenistan participated as an observer.

In his welcoming speech, the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon proposed the creation of a special Fund for the support of developing Muslim countries, which should be formed through contributions from developed Arab countries.

A. Kamaldinov in his speech has called for the active use of the forum’s economic potential, including for the mutually beneficial implementation of Kazakhstan's international initiatives.

The Forum has discussed matters related to the development of economic cooperation between the Arab countries and the states of Central Asia and Azerbaijan, as well as issues of strengthening peace and stability in the region.

Following the event, the Dushanbe Declaration was adopted, in which the participants expressed support for Kazakhstan's international initiatives aimed at the further development of cooperation in this format.

Earlier, on October 15, 2017, Dushanbe has hosted the expert meeting of senior officials of the states participating in the forum.

The Arab Economic Cooperation Forum with the countries of Central Asia and Azerbaijan created on the initiative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The first session of the Forum was held in Riyadh in May of 2014, with Kazakhstan’s participation, which resulted in the adoption of the Riyadh Declaration and the signing of a memorandum on cooperation between the League of Arab States and Central Asian countries and Azerbaijan.

Delegations from 28 countries took part in the work of this forum, including 21 member-states of the League of Arab States, as well as the states of Central Asia and Azerbaijan.

KAZINFORM

The meeting discussed the interim results and further plans regarding the work on implementing the agro-industrial complex development program, according to Akorda press service.

Prior to the beginning of the meeting, the Head of State congratulated all of Kazakhstan’s agrarians on the successful completion of the harvest campaign.

“Despite the difficult conditions in early summer, the agrarians have gathered a solid amount of harvest. There are enough resources both for domestic needs and exports of our products. In general, all indicators demonstrate positive dynamics,” – the President said.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, noting the important role of agriculture in the country’s economy, has drawn attention to the low efficiency of the use of allocated funds in this sector.

“The agrarian sector is a driver of our economy. Large amounts of state funds are invested into it. And they must give a corresponding return, which, unfortunately, is not present yet,” – the Head of State said.

At the same time, the President of Kazakhstan mentioned the high rates of harvesting this year.

“This year, 21.7 million tonnes have been threshed with a yield of 14.2 centners per hectare. This is more than last year. In accordance with the shaped plans, we were engaged in developing consumer cooperation, improving the seed fund and increasing the productivity of livestock breeding,” – Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

The Head of State drew attention to the need to increase agriculture’s production capacities by means of the country’s scientific potential.

In turn, Askar Myrzakhmetov reported to the President of Kazakhstan on the progress of the development of special maps for the further development of 12 priority areas in agriculture within the framework of the AIC State Program.

At the end of the meeting, Nursultan Nazarbayev gave a number of specific instructions.

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Today in Ukimet Uyi, Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev has held a meeting with the Chairperson of the National Assembly of Vietnam, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

The meeting discussed matters related to the further development of trade and economic cooperation, particularly in agriculture, mineral resources, and transportation. In addition, the meeting considered the prospects for cooperation in tourism.

For reference:

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Vietnam.

The foreign trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Vietnam in January-August 2017 amounted to 364.7 million USD, which is 79.4% higher than in the same period last year. Exports from Kazakhstan to Vietnam in January-August 2017 increased 125.2% and amounted to 192.9 million USD.

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On Wednesday, October 18 at 15:00, the Government press center will host a press conference of the results and prospects of socio-economic development of the region and the application of technologies presented at EXPO 2017.

The speaker is Akim of Kyzylorda region Krymbek Kusherbayev.

Live broadcast of the press conference will be available at primeminister.kz and social networks: Facebook, Vkontakte, Twitter, Periscope and Odnoklassniki, as well as via the mobile application on Android and iOS and on the official YouTube channel.

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During the press conference following the Government meeting, First Deputy Minister of National Economy Ruslan Dalenov elaborated on the advantages of the new mechanism for the development of public-private partnership - framework PPP.

R. Dalenov said that at the beginning of this year the Ministry of National Economy has developed standard documents on the main targets of public-private partnership that allow investors to calculate in advance all the nuances of forthcoming cooperation with local executive bodies and parameters of possible projects.

“We have named the new mechanism the PPP framework. Its essence is that sectoral programs describe in advance the names of projects, prices and conditions. Business will not have to prepare unnecessary concepts, go through unnecessary examinations. Entrepreneurs will know in advance what revenues can be expected, if, for example, one chooses a kindergarten or a hospital under a PPP contract,” – the Deputy Minister explained.

He noted that the PPP framework will be implemented in the form of a public offer, and the conclusion of contracts will be very simple.

According to R. Dalenov, the PPP framework will dramatically increase the number of public-private partnership projects, and will accelerate the privatization program. This is due to the fact that the transfer to PPP is one of the forms of transferring state owned facilities to private property.

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During today’s press conference following the Government meeting, First Deputy Minister of National Economy Ruslan Dalenov reported on the reduction in the rate of inflation in the nine months of the current year, and spoke about the Ministry’s work to further contain its level.

“This year the inflation rate is lower than in the past. Inflation in the period from December 2016 to September 2017 was 4.2%. Recall that in December 2015 - September 2016 inflation was 5.6%, which is a 1.4% difference,” – Ruslan Dalenov reported.

According to the Deputy Minister, several factors contributed to the decline, including the impact of the national currency rate.

“The most important factor is the adjustments to the tenge rate that occurred in previous years. This year it was stronger than in 2016. Therefore, prices for imported goods grew at a slower pace. Accordingly, inflation was lower than last year,” – the Deputy Minister said.

At the same time, R. Dalenov mentioned the development of competition as one of the main measures to prevent inflation growth. He stressed that fair prices can be maintained only in conditions of normal and fair competition. According to him, the Ministry of National Economy is working on this issue along two directions.

Firstly, the Ministry, through the Committee for Regulation of Natural Monopolies and the Protection of Competition, conducts an analysis of commodity markets in order to prevent price collusion.

“There are tangible results already. In the nine months of the current year, 164 investigations have been completed, sanctions have been imposed for the amount of 796 million tenge, 35 cases are pending,” – R. Dalenov said.

Secondly, the Ministry is systematically working to create conditions for entrepreneurs. In particular, state programs for the development of mass entrepreneurship are in effect. A new tax code is being prepared, which sets the task of developing mass entrepreneurship, including e-commerce. According to R. Dalenov, today there are many businessmen who illegally use network marketing and digital technologies.

"We believe that all this is great. However, we want to involve them in legal circulation. Therefore the development of mass entrepreneurship is one of the main areas within the draft tax code," – the Deputy Minister summed up.

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Today’s Government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev has reviewed the progress of the privatization of state owned facilities for the current year. Minister of Finance Bakhyt Sultanov reported that in total, the Comprehensive Privatization Plan for 2016-2020 includes 877 facilities. As of October 1, 411 facilities have been put up for auction, of which 291 were sold for a total of 112.7 billion tenge.

The sold facilities include: 23 nationally owned facilities for the amount of 8.3 billion tenge, 162 facilities under communal ownership for the amount of 33.1 billion tenge, and 106 quasi-state sector facilities for the amount of 71.3 billion tenge. In addition, 211 facilities are in the process of reorganization and liquidation.

Thus, the implementation of the Comprehensive Privatization Plan, taking into account the reorganized and liquidated facilities as of the current date, is at 74.3%.

In total, in 2017, it is planned to sell 473 facilities, of which 251 facilities have been put up for auction, 112 facilities have been sold for the amount of 55.6 billion tenge. 155 facilities are being reorganized and liquidated. Thus, 107 facilities remain to be sold off before the end of the year.

The analysis of the effectiveness of sales shows that with a balance value of 96 billion tenge, the sale of 291 facilities amounted to 112.7 billion tenge.

Regarding the sale of top facilities in 2017, 24 facilities were to be sold off, including 20 national holding facilities and four nationally owned facilities.

Of these, as of the current date, 6 are sold off and 11 are at auction - these are eight facilities of the Samruk-Kazyna NWF and three assets of the Baiterek NMH.

Additionally, work is underway on the following four top nationally owned facilities:

- Independent consultants were involved to evaluate and assess the facilities of Astana Konak Uyi JSC, National Scientific Medical Center JSC, and KazMedTech JSC, and the assessment is currently being finalized.

- Astana International Airport JSC is being reorganized by merging Kokshetau Air Company JSC; a draft resolution of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the type of privatization has been developed.

First Deputy Minister of National Economy Ruslan Dalenov reported that in order to ensure efficiency and acceleration of the process of transferring Samruk-Kazyna assets to the competitive environment, the Law "On the National Welfare Fund" was amended.

In addition, according to the instructions of the Head of State, amendments were made to the Budget Code and the Law "On State Property", providing for the transfer of funds from the privatization of national property to the National Fund, as well as the transfer of assets of national holding companies and national companies to the competitive environment.

Based on the results of the inventory of the subordinate organizations of state agencies, lists have been created of facilities that will remain in state ownership and in the quasi-state sector, as well as those subject to liquidation. The list of organizations maintained in state property consists of 6523 organizations, of which 85% are social organizations.

At present, state agencies assign a status for each organization in the State Property Register: "to keep in state ownership permanently / temporarily", "liquidate", "reorganize", "privatize". In the future, the list of organizations retained in state property will be reviewed as PPPs and the competitive environment develops.

Thus, the measures taken have made it possible to legislatively speed up the process of privatization of the quasi-public sector facilities, and also helped streamlining the organizations that are kept in state ownership, which will allow developing standard contracts in the framework of PPP.

The Government meeting has also heard the reports of Chairman of the board of the KazAgro NMH Nurlybek Malelov, Deputy Chairman of the Baiterek NMH Aydar Arifkhanov, and Managing Director for legal support and risks of the Samruk-Kazyna NWF Gani Bitenov.

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During today’s Government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Minister of Education and Science Yerlan Sagadiyev has reported on the progress of the implementation of the Education and Science Development State Program for 2016-2019.

According to the Minister, in 2017, it is planned to meet 8 indicators, 51criteria, execute 168 actions of the Education and Science Development State Program for 2016-2019.

In 2017 in total, 418 562.9 million tenge was allocated for its implementation. Since the launch of the ESDSP, 1309 pre-school institutions have been opened, 155 schools have been built.

1500 teachers have been added to the qualitative composition of the pedagogical staff of pre-school organizations with special education. The number of pedagogical workers of the highest and first category amounts to 145 thousand people.

The content of pre-school and school curriculum has been updated according to OECD standards, colleges and universities are implementing 92 new programs developed with the participation of international experts and employers.

The process of assigning children to kindergartens is being experimentally automated. The full-scale implementation of this system is planned in 2018. To simplify the procedure for opening kindergartens, new sanitary norms and rules have been adopted.

Until the end of the year it is planned to put into operation 76 schools in place of those in critical condition or with three-shift education. 52 schools were put into operation as of September 1.

318 colleges plan to implement the project “Free Vocational Education for All”. 421 colleges are implementing dual education with the participation of 2433 enterprises covering 27 193 students under 160 qualifications in 80 specialties.

Higher education institutions are adopting the mechanism of electing rectors through supervisory boards, creating corporate secretaries and internal audit services. Eight Kazakhstani universities were distinguished in the QS WUR ranking of the world's best universities in 2017.

“In September this year, the OIC Program on Science, Technology and Innovation until 2026 was developed and adopted within the framework of the first summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Science and Technology,” – Y. Sagadiyev reported.

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Today’s Government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev has considered the forecast for Kazakhstan’s socio-economic development for 2017-2021 and the parameters of the National budget for 2017-2019.

Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov reported that the forecast of the country’s socio-economic development was adjusted based on the reported data on GDP for 2016 and the indicators for the current year.

Thus, beginning 2017, Kazakhstan displays improvement of economic activity. GDP growth for the nine months of the current year amounted to 4.3%, and in total, the economy is expected to grow at the level of 3.4% by the end of the year. Nominal GDP in 2017 is projected at 51 855.3 billion tenge, which is 2114.7 billion tenge higher than the indicator approved in February. GDP per capita will increase to 8.7 thousand USD.

The industry growth was revised upwards to 6.2% due to the expected higher growth in the mining sector to up 8.2%, and manufacturing up to 4.5%.

The volume of oil production increased from 81 to 84.5 million tonnes due to overfulfilment of the production plans at the large fields (Kashagan, TCO, Karachaganak). The increase in gross agricultural output remains at 2.5%.

Credit risk decreased by 1.9 billion USD to 47 billion USD, imports remained at the approved level of 32.7 billion USD.

Based on the revised macroeconomic forecast, the forecast of the National budget parameters for 2017 is also adjusted. The revenues of the National budget (excluding transfers) in 2017 are estimated at 4952.8 billion tenge, which is 60.8 billion tenge more than in the approved plan.

The majority of the overfulfilment stems from corporate income taxes from subsoil users, as well as non-tax revenues due to unplanned earnings of dividends and part of the income of state enterprises.

At the same time, in order to curb the growth of government debt and maintain the country's sovereign rating, it is proposed to reduce the budget deficit by 47.9 billion tenge or from 3.1% to 2.9% of GDP.

Guaranteed and targeted transfers from the National Fund are retained in previously approved amounts.

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During his working visit to Almaty region, Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs and Civil Society Berik Aryn took part in the National seminar-conference on the topic “Secular state and high spirituality are the basis of people’s unity”.

The event saw participation of representatives of central and local state agencies, rectors of higher education institutions, representatives of religious associations and ethnic-cultural centers, a total of 450 people.

Deputy Minister Berik Aryn spoke about the main priorities of the Concept of the state policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the religious sphere for 2017-2020, as well as of the draft Law “On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Religious Activities and Religious Associations”.

“Stability in the religious sphere is paramount for the socio-political situation and the security of the state. And the country's further development largely depends on how the state policy is implemented in this sphere,” – the Deputy Minister noted.

During his working trip, the Deputy Minister held a working meeting with the heads of the departments for religious affairs and directors of the centers for the study of the religious problems of Atyrau, Aktobe, Kostanay, Akmola, Pavlodar, Kyzylorda, Zhambyl, West Kazakhstan, East Kazakhstan and South Kazakhstan regions, with the participation of representatives of law enforcement agencies and designated experts of Antiterrorist Commissions.

The Deputy Minister also took part in the work of the National Outreach Group (RIRG) on religious issues, during which he held meetings with the imams of regional branches of the SAMK, heads of departments for religious affairs and directors of centers for studying regional problems.

Berik Aryn drew the attention of the participants to the topicality of a meaningful explanation of state policy in the religious sphere, the promotion of secular principles of the country's development, propaganda of inter-confessional consent, prevention of religious extremism and radicalism, and the formation of immunity among general public towards radical ideology.

Press Service of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Civil Society

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