Many issues emerged in utilities sector, requiring prompt and quality solutions – Alikhan Smailov

Measures on the development of housing and communal infrastructure were considered at the Government session chaired by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov.

The Minister of Industry and Infrastructural Development Marat Karabayev reported that according to the results of 2022 15,4 mln sq m of accommodation were built in the republic, investments in housing construction grew by 16,8% and comprised 2,9 trillion tenge. This year we are planning to put another 15.3m sq. metres of residential space into operation, including through government support. In addition, subsidised loans for the purchase of housing and lease subsidies will be provided to residents who are waiting in line for them.

In parallel, work is continuing on the overhaul of apartment blocks. Today, the share of condominiums in need of renovation has fallen to 31.1%. High depreciation of the housing stock remains in Abay region (67%), West Kazakhstan region (63.9%), Akmola region (59.2%), Zhetysu region (52.6%) and Almaty region (52.4%). In total, in the past year, in 11 regions 215 apartment buildings were repaired.

In order to address the issues of owners of emergency housing and to improve the architectural appearance of settlements in the regions, the adopted renovation programmes will be updated with a list of houses to be demolished. A total of 1,500 homes will be demolished by 2029 and the housing issues of 40,000 homeowners will be resolved, including 120 apartment buildings this year, covering more than 3,000 homeowners.

In order to develop the country's public utilities sector, work is continuing on the construction and modernization of water, wastewater and heat supply systems. The total length of utility networks today is 129,000 km (14,000 km of heat supply, 98,000 km of water supply and 17,000 km of wastewater disposal).

At the end of 2022, about 3,000 km of utilities were modernized from various sources of funding, thereby reducing their overall depreciation from 53% to 51%. This year, by upgrading about 2,000 km of networks, the index of depreciation will be reduced to 50%, and by 2029 to 40%.

The Minister also said that the level of access to the water supply services in the cities is 98.4 per cent today, and 94.5% in the rural areas. At the same time, insufficient provision is observed among urban residents of Zhambyl region (91.9%) and rural residents of Kostanay (79.6%), Akmola (89.8%) and North Kazakhstan (84.6%) regions. At the end of the current year water supply services will additionally cover 192 rural and five urban settlements. In general, as instructed by the Head of State, by the end of 2025 100% access of the population to water supply services in towns and villages will be ensured.

Akims of North Kazakhstan region Aidarbek Saparov, of Akmola region Yermek Marzhikpayev, of Atyrau region Serik Shapkenov reported on modernization of housing and public utilities infrastructure in the regions.

The Prime Minister pointed out that development of housing and utilities infrastructure is of vital social and economic importance, especially against the background of commissioning of new housing. Thus, over 130 thousand families were able to improve their living conditions last year. The country's housing target has been met, but the growth rate compared to 2021 is dropping noticeably.

"This year, 15.3 million square metres of housing is expected to be commissioned. This is lower than the 2022 target. The main problem is the lack of necessary infrastructure. For example, due to the lack of infrastructure and energy resources in the capital, a lower volume of new housing is planned for the next few years," Alikhan Smailov said.

He added that in order to solve this kind of problems the head of state stressed the importance of systematic planning and integrated development of engineering infrastructure.

Prime Minister focused separately on the issue of houses built under the state housing construction programme. Thus, the meeting participants were shown photographs of some yards that did not meet the required quality standards.

"I do not name regions where such houses have been built. One thing I can say for sure is that the picture is the same everywhere! Look at where children play, look at the landscaping, look at the roads! Is it really the norm now? Local mayors should conduct an audit of homes built on the budget, and promptly fix all the shortcomings. We must monitor the quality of construction and improvement," Alikhan Smailov said.

In general, according to the Prime Minister, today there are many issues in the housing and utilities sector that require prompt and high-quality solutions. For example, there are shortcomings of responsible government agencies in addressing problems of providing housing to socially vulnerable segments of the population. At the same time, poor planning in selling housing to people on the waiting list is a separate block.

"There are many complaints from citizens who cannot receive housing that has already been built because Otbasy Bank did not have the necessary funds for concessional lending. Such an approach to work is unacceptable," Alikhan Smailov said.

In view of the above, the Prime Minister ordered to carry out an additional analysis of the effectiveness of measures to subsidize the rent of the waiting list and make specific proposals, as well as to ensure timely funding of all areas of state support for the sale of housing to the waiting list.

Alikhan Smailov also pointed out the importance of timely allocation of land plots, development of project documentation and supply of necessary infrastructure for the timely start of the construction season in the regions.

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