On 1 September 2022, the Head of State delivered his annual Address to the People of Kazakhstan at the joint session of both Houses of the Parliament. The President emphasized social and economic reforms, which are aimed at inclusive growth of the citizens’ welfare, development of competition, and also touched upon key aspects of ensuring national security, in particular food security.
In order to sum up the results of this Address, the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan held a meeting of the national expert platform “КИСИ GPS” (Kaziss GPS) at the SCC on “A Just State. A united nation. Prosperous society. Expert discussion of the Address of the Head of State K.K. Tokayev to the people of Kazakhstan”.
Opening the next meeting of the national expert platform “КИСИ GPS” (Kaziss GPS), the deputy director of KazISS, Alua Zholdybalina highlighted that the main emphasis of the President’s speech was the care for people and citizens. “The program of political reforms preceded economic transformations. In his Address, the President set the bar high for economic and political modernization. But today the most important task is the development of human capital. No reforms will be effective without developing education, improving healthcare, and educating young people. Therefore, the main focus of the Address is on the situation of women and children.
It is obvious that in order to achieve these objectives, a reset of the political field is needed. The only way to do this is to hold elections. And the electoral process will be held by all representative institutions of power, starting with the President, the Majilis of Parliament and ending with the maslikhats.
This assumes a one-time presidency. It has the potential to democratize the political system through a guaranteed change in the country’s top leadership. If this norm is adopted, we will have clear deadlines for the execution of candidates’ electoral programs”.
Yuliya Kuchinskaya, deputy of the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan:
“Every word in the Address reflects people’s aspirations. The issue of retirement age is very urgent. Fixing the retirement age for women at 61 is the first step in this direction. Of course, the government has a lot of work to do, but we can see that the state hears the demands of society and is ready to respond to them.
We are expected the work on improvement of legislation. First and foremost, we must move away from norms which lobby for narrow corporate interests rather than the whole society. This is a challenge for political parties, deputies and the expert community.
It is necessary to reconsider the attitude to statistical data. We should not be guided by average figures – because of large gaps we miss the real picture”.
Kuat Akizhanov, Director of the Institute of Applied Research of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of Kazakhstan:
“In the Address I heard the recognition of the most important social and economic problem of our country – the imbalance in the distribution of income. One of the solutions to this problem is the introduction of a luxury tax, which was mentioned in the Address. A luxury tax is a fairly common practice in developed countries.
It is very encouraging that the President is paying attention to the new economic policy. However, the neoliberal economic paradigm still dominates. Therefore, it is necessary to address the expert community. For example, the introduction of a progressive income tax is advisable.
The President’s message gave a signal to the expert community to propose solutions. If the President spoke about a new economic policy and political pluralism, then the expert community should move to new economic thinking and pluralism of ideas”.
Marat Bashimov, Director of the Expert Institute of European Law and Human Rights:
“I believe that in the judicial system the personnel should be selected by the expert community, namely the Supreme Judicial Council. In general, the President’s Address has human rights potential and strengthens the institutional stability of the judiciary”.
Rakhim Oshakbayev, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Party of Kazakhstan:
“The President’s message is extremely important. The Head of state first and foremost set the task of a complete reset of all branches of power – the institution of the presidency and the institution of parliamentarianism. The President has decided to go for a total reset of the political system. It was preceded, among other things, by the tragic events of January, which underscored the need to abandon old paradigms.
The effective implementation of the Address requires new approaches in economic policy and working channels of political communication”.
Asem Kaidarova, Deputy Chairman of the Board of KIOR:
“The key aspects of the Address are aimed at the well-being of the family as the main value of Kazakh society. The creation of decent conditions for the family is the foundation of quality human capital. According to our sociological research, the top five problems of concern to Kazakhstani families are medicine, infrastructure, quality of education, finance and leisure.
The points reflected in the Address are aimed directly or indirectly at solving all these issues”.
Dana Ashimkhanova, deputy director of the Institute of Applied Ethnopolitical Research:
“The Address reflects the social needs of the population. This includes lowering the retirement age for women, expanding childcare assistance, and strengthening targeted social assistance.
Demographic processes must be taken into account in the implementation of national projects. In particular, an increase in the birth rate is expected, including among the socially vulnerable segments of the population. In this regard, an increase in socio-economic inequality is possible. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out predictive assessments for demographic security”.
Bakytgul Hambar, Director of the Sustainable Development Goals Secretariat at the Economic Research Institute:
“The issues of human capital, youth and family are basic elements of the principle of sustainable development, so these issues in the Message are carefully considered and covered by a system of appropriate measures. Nevertheless, we hope that all proposals aimed at supporting pre-school children will, in most cases, adequately address the problems of young people as well”.
Lyazzat Nurkatova, head of the Strategic Analysis Group at the Kazakhstan Institute of Social Development:
“The president boldly told the whole country that everything infrastructurally is dilapidated. For more than 30 years all infrastructure has become obsolete. It has become clear that cosmetic repairs will no longer help. A qualitative improvement in infrastructure will improve the quality of life of people.
The aim of the President’s Address is to launch a new economic policy, first and foremost an inclusive one. Now the Social Code, the Digital Family Map are being developed. Now there is a “Children’s Money Box” (the allocation of 50% of the annual investment income of the National Fund to special savings accounts for children until they reach the age of 18). The initiative itself is grandiose. We are becoming a child-friendly country. Starting January 1, 2024, this will affect every child.
In general, it is important to develop implementation mechanisms and a system of social protection within the framework of the Address. All this will raise the social status of the family”.
Marat Kairlenov, director of “Ulagat Consulting Group”:
“In the message a lot of useful measures for business were sounded, but there are also controversial moments. We have a difficult situation with incomes of population, expenses on food make up about 53% of all expenses. At the same time inflation will increase. This increases the risks of implementing the Address. Therefore, we need a thorough study of economic measures on the part of the Government and the expert community, which would change the situation in the near future within 2-3 months”.
Zhuldyzai Iskakova, a member of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy:
“The Year of Children, announced in early 2022, concludes with a big and correct decision – to allocate funds from the National Fund to children’s accounts. In essence this is the long-awaited “oil rent to citizens of Kazakhstan” in its correct version, or in another way – the “economic passport” of Kazakhstanis. Such practice exists in a number of countries of the world and it will allow children in the future to receive payment for use of subsoil of the country. This is one of the most demanded by society steps”.
Zhanna Karimova, Chief Researcher at KazISS under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan:
“The message contains the President’s instructions, the implementation of which will have a complex, multiplier effect. For example, assistance in buying school uniforms will not only help socially vulnerable segments of the population, but also support light industry of the country.
It is also necessary to overcome regional disproportions in technical and vocational education. For example, there are 83 TPEs in Almaty and 33 in Shymkent. In this matter, it is advisable to synchronize the specialization of technical and vocational education with the economic specialization of the region. This will allow the implementation of dual education programs, which will encourage employers to attract students”.