Today, the Kazakh Government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov has considered the progress of implementation of the program on development of single-industry towns for 2012-2020.

                     

Akhmetov noted that, pursuant to the President's instructions, this program was launched in pilot mode last year, and this year it is being implemented in full.

First Vice Minister of Regional Development Kairbek Uskenbayev reported on the implementation of the program. He noted that 27 single-industry towns had the total population of 1.53 million, or 16.8 percent of the urban population. 6 towns have high development potential, 19 towns have an average potential.

According to the First Deputy Minister, the program for addressing the problems of small towns was launched last year. 6 billion tenge was allocated for this purpose, 170 projects were carried out. This year the program envisages 18.8 billion tenge, of which about 10 billion or 54% has already been allocated.

                    

K.Uskenbayev named several directions of the program. They are optimization of single-industry towns depending on the production capacity of stable operating companies, development of SMEs, improving labor mobility, development of social and engineering infrastructure.

It is planned to realize 47 anchor (investment) projects with the creation of more than 25,000 new jobs and with a total investment of over 950 billion tenge.

"According to the program, the akimats have to realize at least one anchor project. This is a very important issue personally assigned to the governors of single-industry towns," the Vice Minister noted.

According to him, such projects are being implemented in 15 single-industry towns.

Last year, memorandums of understanding and cooperation were concluded between the akimats of Atyrau, Mangystau, Karaganda, East Kazakhstan regions and JSC "NC" KazMunayGas", JSC "OzenMunayGas", LLP "Kazzinc" and LLP "Kazakhmys Corporation", LLP "Tengizchevroil". A similar document was signed between the akimat of Zhambyl region and LLP "Kazphosphate".

In 2013, 4.7 billion tenge is envisaged for the developments of SMEs. Single-industry towns have already disbursed over one billion tenge of these funds, Uskenbayev said.

At the same time, all 27 single-industry towns established entrepreneurship support centers through which it is planned to provide information on the measures of state support, and involve the most active part of the population in business.

Having called the measures to support entrepreneurship unprecedented the Deputy Minister noted that "for example, if an entrepreneur in a middle- or low-potential city takes a 14 percent interest rate loan, we subsidize up to 10 percent, so an entrepreneur pays only the rest 4 percent."

Summing up the meeting, the Prime Minister noted that the Head of State attached great importance to the development of the regions, industrial modernization and diversification of the economy.

"Single-industry towns are the centers of mining and metallurgical industry, which faces reduction in export potential in crisis conditions," Serik Akhmetov said. In this connection he told the governors of the regions that while "their efforts are focused on the development of engineering and social infrastructure, it is necessary to pay attention to the key areas of the program - the diversification of the economy, development of entrepreneurship, and creation of jobs."

The Prime Minister urged the Regional Development Ministry together with the akims of the regions to develop proposals for making changes to the program.

He instructed the governors of single-industry towns and regions to take concrete measures to diversify the towns, study long-term investment anchor projects, as well as joint partnership programs with strategic enterprises providing local producers with long-term orders. "It is also necessary to ensure the timely disbursement of budget funds allocated under the program," Serik Akhmetov concluded.