Article by President 'National Plan - Road to Kazakhstan's Dream'

On January 1, 2016, the first stage on implementation of the National Plan "100 specific steps on implementation of five institutional reforms" began in Kazakhstan. 59 laws providing for creation of a new legal framework for development of the country, economy and society entered into force since January 1. It is important for us to assess this unprecedented in our history period when we change our legislation so immensely. Moreover, the changes we make open the way for realizing our Kazakhstan's dream - to become one of the world's top thirty countries, leaders of the 21st century.

Each generation has its own dreams that reflect their aspiration for personal prosperity and wellbeing of their families.

They always include love for the homeland, thoughts of happiness for the nation and the motherland.

Many generations of our ancestors had a dream of the independence for Kazakhstan.

Now, this dream about their free and independent homeland came true.

Independence has become the new highest value for us, Kazakhstanis, and our multiethnic society.

We've also achieved what we could only dream about 25 years ago.

Now, the sovereignty of Kazakhstan rests on the firm foundation of the Constitution and laws, professional work of the Government of the country that serves for the good of the people.

It is all done for making our sovereignty stronger by means of the growth of the economy and people's wellbeing.

We need it for protecting our independence by means of our internationally respected image and effective system of the national security.

We learn how to be good owners of the fruitful land and its riches, we master new technologies and launch new productions and sectors of the economy.

The most important thing is that we learnt how to dream a new way, set and reach new tasks on development of the country and society despite the difficulties of the global world which Kazakhstan has become a part of now.  

NEW KAZAKHSTAN DREAM 

We have just begun the 25th year of our independence with a new Kazakhstan's dream, which is the same as the main goal of the implemented by us Strategy-2050.

We plan to ensure Kazakhstan's accession to the number of 30 most developed world countries by the mid-century.

It has become the nationwide dream, which was nationally supported by the majority of the people of Kazakhstan during the early presidential elections in April 2015.

In fact, it was a historic act of the birth of our Nation of Common Future.

We began moving forward our new dream with development of the National Plan "100 specific steps on implementation of five institutional reforms.

These reforms play an important role. They are like a locomotive on the way to addressing historical tasks meant to change Kazakhstan, its economy, statehood and society.

They will help to create new conditions for the country's development, economic growth and improvement of life for all the people of Kazakhstan meeting the standards of the OECD uniting different countries of the planet.

Our Kazakhstan will become more dynamic, respectful, confident and richer.

We did a huge work over the course of just a few months of 2015 in terms of legislative support of the start of the implementation of five institutional reforms.

This work was supervised by the national commission for modernization, which was established on my instruction.

I held many meetings with experts, politicians, businessmen and heads of financial organizations.

I discussed a lot of things with my colleagues, presidents and prime ministers of foreign countries, within my international trips and meetings.

All of them expressed their support of my idea to deeply modernize Kazakhstan.

Social surveys also demonstrate the support people express of the National Plan. The people of Kazakhstan are confident that the reforms are timely and relevant.

All the necessary for their implementation laws are already adopted.

I'd also like to note the work of the Parliament and Government of Kazakhstan. All the work was done in a historically short period of time.

This is a demonstration of the effectiveness of the way we work and all the systems are clicking.

It is important to understand that the practical work on implementation of the National Plan goes adjusting to the ever changing global situation and considering new opportunities and risks of the global development.

It's all I already mentioned in my State-of-the-Nation Address as of November 30, 2015.

Five institutional reforms are very important now when the economy of Kazakhstan is seriously impacted by the global economic difficulties.

We consider them as the main part of the large-scale anti-crisis measures of Kazakhstan aimed at returning to the previous pace of the economic growth and ensuring social guarantees for the people of the country.

The new legislation of Kazakhstan aimed at reaching the world standards of development by Kazakhstan is already functioning.

Therefore, it is important for Kazakhstanis to not just know about it but use it and new opportunities it provides.

Everybody must have a complete understanding of how the state administration and the law and order system will be changing. It is important for people to know how to develop business or which spheres are becoming more relevant now, which way to go.

All these measures will give a great impetus for increasing economic and civil activity.

This is how we are going to go to our Kazakhstan's dream and reach by the mid-century.

Road maps have been developed for each of five institutional reforms and we are committed to implement them all.

COUNTRY'S PROFESSIONALIZATION 

Our first reform is aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the government machine based on the new Law "On civil service".

It is also symbolic that we began to reform the civil service on the year of the 20th anniversary of adoption of the first legislative act - the Decree of the President "On civil service of Kazakhstan".

It is important to note that this document was an innovation for Kazakhstan and the entire CIS in December 1995.

We were first to begin to hire civil servants on a competitive basis and on the principle of meritocracy.

The new stage of development of the civil service of Kazakhstan has begun now.

I initiated the establishment of the Ministry for Civil Service Affairs and the Bureau for Combatting Corruption within the structure of the Ministry.

Thus, we've modernized not just the civil service sphere but also the system of effectively combatting corruption. 

Moreover, the corruption fighting will be more consistent and systematic.

This is what the new law on combatting corruption is based on, which entered into force since January 1, 2016.

The new law on civil service adopted at the same time as the new anti-corruption law outlines the main framework of the renewed model of the civil service and algorithms of future actions on increasing the effectiveness of the entire system of the government of a state.

First of all, the career of a civil servant will be developing with the consideration of his experience and competence.

A civil servant will have to prove his competence at each stage of professional development of his career.

The new law includes a series of principal norms.

Obtaining of the position of a civil servant will be possible only based on the results of the complex testing and only from lower positions.

The experience will be the main criterion for career development of a civil servant and on a competitive basis only.

Besides, there is an opportunity of rotation of civil servants horizontally and vertically on the conditions of their accommodation.

Secondly, senior managers from the private sector and foreign managers can be hired as civil servants on the contract basis and on a competitive basis by the decision of the National Commission for Human Resources.

Thirdly, the new remuneration system will be introduced in the civil service sphere. It will provide for paying civil servants based on their competence and the sphere of their work. Besides, bonuses will be paid to them based on the work results.

This system will be introduced starting with January 1, 2017.

Moreover, the salaries of civil servants from the "B" corps will be increased as early as in 2016.

Fourthly, the law provides for the independence and stability of the machine of government in case of the change of political civil servants.

The responsibilities of ministers and executive secretaries of the state bodies are separated.

Fifthly, all the violations of the ethics norms leading to corruption among civil servants will be harshly prevented.

The new Ethics Code of the civil service sphere has been developed. It regulates the standards of behavior of civil servants at work and in everyday life.

Besides, an institute for ethics commissioners will be established. They will be rendering consultations to people and civil servants ensuring protection of their rights.

Sixthly, the law on civil service will also extend its impact on law-enforcement bodies.

However, the nature of the work of law-enforcement officials is considered in the existing Law "On law-enforcement service".

Seventhly, after the introduction of the new remuneration system it is planned to hold complex testing of civil servants of the "B" corps for their meeting the new qualification requirements based on the new law.

Over the period of testing of those civil servants no hiring will be allowed in the sector.

According to the law, civil servants will have to undergo professional development at least once in three years. 

In general, these are the main aspects of the modernization of the civil service sphere.

I deem it as the key criterion to success of the whole idea of the modernization process in Kazakhstan.  

LAW AND ORDER

The main idea of the second reform is to make the system of justice and the entire law-enforcement system of Kazakhstan work for ensuring rights and freedoms of the people of Kazakhstan and stringent execution of the law and strengthening of the law and order.

In order to legally ensure the implementation of the plan, the new Civil Procedure Code and Law "On Supreme Judicial Council" were adopted. The Constitutional Law "On judicial system and status of judges" was amended as well as the Criminal Code and the Code of Administrative Code.

First of all, the updated legislation system will help to increase the trust in the judiciary system. Judiciary system is what brings justice.

The main issue of reformation of the Kazakhstan courts is the issue of formation of the judicial manpower.

There is a strict mechanism of selection of candidates for the position of a judge and high requirements for them.

The most deserved and respected and prepared professionals with a lot of experience and high moral principles have to render justice only.

The process of selection of appointment of judges will become transparent for the society.

In this regard, the Supreme Judiciary Council has been significantly reformed, which is now becoming an independent state body with its authorities and composition.

The main aspect of the judiciary reform is a transition from the five-stage to the three-stage judiciary system.

We will have only the first, appeals and cassational instances left. However, the role of the courts of the first and appeals instances that consider the majority of the cases will grow. This measure will put an end to the revolving door of the court system and reduce the time of making judicial decisions.

The justice will be maximum transparent in Kazakhstan with the guarantees of the rights of people for privacy.

The courts are equipped with audio and video devices recording the process of legal proceedings without an option to stop or pause the recording process.

It disciplines judges and the other participants of the court sitting and ensures fairness of the legal process and made decisions.

Several institutional measures will be taken within the reforms of the judiciary system.

First of all, the jury panel at the Supreme Court will be reorganized.

It will consider complains of people of the actions of judges and cases of violations of representatives of the judicial manpower of the Ethics Code, which is planned to be adopted as well.

Secondly, a special board for consideration of disputes including disputes with the participation of big investors will be established within the structure of the Supreme Court.

It will help to exercise the right of foreign investors for high-quality and fair settlement of disputes.

Thirdly, there should a balance between the prosecution and defense within the criminal trial.

Fourthly, we have to remember that representatives of the courts in Kazakhstan are first among equals.

Therefore, there will be no chance for them impact the decisions made by other judges.

Fifthly, the institute of private officers of justice will be developing with gradual reduction of state officers of justice.

The measures strengthening independence of our judiciary system are especially important.

As is known, the law providing for addressing the issues of pension support of judges has already been adopted as I instructed. It will allow judges to focus on objective execution of justice.

Besides, we need to all law-enforcement bodies, the police primarily, serving for the interests of people and strengthening of law and order.

In order to achieve it, the local police service reporting to local executive bodies is established. Similar services are functioning in several countries of the OECD.

The local police will be responsible for ensuring law and order, combatting domestic violence, ensuring road safety and zero tolerance to minor offense.

The new legislation system already includes all these changes. It also provides for creation of the system of public councils and other consultative bodies for consideration of complaints of people of the actions of policemen neglecting ethics norms.

Besides, the Internet portal "Map of criminal violations" will be made. A similar mechanism is working in many world countries. This internet resource will feature all criminal violations countrywide. It will allow people to control the effectiveness of the work of the law-enforcement system.

Improvement of the penitentiary system is a relevant issue as well. This work should be done within the framework of development of the public-private partnership.

Successful experience of foreign countries should be the foundation for implementation of the measures on attraction of the private sector to construction and maintenance of penitentiary facilities.

Besides, it is important to help people who already served their sentence for their violations.

In whole, establishment of the state of law in Kazakhstan is our constitutional task which has to be addressed within the modernization process. These measures will to increase the level of trust of people in the national judicial and law-enforcement systems and improve the business climate in Kazakhstan.  

NEW SOURCE OF FOREIGN INVESTMENT

The measures included in the economic block of the National Plan provide for attraction of at least 10 trans-national corporations into the processing sector of our economy.

The work on establishment of joint ventures together with ‘anchor investors’ will cover 3 groups of domestic companies in processing, infrastructure, energy industries etc.

The first group includes the enterprises subject to deep modernization through reinvesting.

The second group consists of the enterprises which will attract the potential of trans-national corporations.

And the third group is the enterprises with high market rivalry for ‘anchor investors’ and emergence of export brands.

We have already had negotiations with more than 26 transnational corporations and have entered into agreements with some of them.

A central issue of the third reform of the National Plan is the establishment of the “International Financial Centre “Astana”(IFCA) with an independent judiciary system and jurisdiction based on the principles of the British law. English will be official language of the IFCA which will also implement investment residence principle.

The Constitutional Law “On International Financial Centre “Astana” has already been adopted.

The economic results of the IFCA will be seen in acceleration of GDP growth by 1% in average due to inflow of direct foreign investment to Kazakhstan’s capital markets.

Besides, the establishment of the IFCA will enable us to employ more than 2,000 people.

Our capital city Astana will develop as a business, cultural and research centre of Eurasia with a modern international transport and logistics system including new airport terminal.

THE HORIZONS OF INNOVATIVE INDUSTRIALIZATION

The National Plan includes the measures on development of a number of promising sectors of economy.

First, this is electric power sector and energy efficiency increase.

We need to cut GDP energy intensity by 25% by 2020 and up to 50% by 2050.

For this we need to attract strategic investors to our energy supply spheres through the performance contracts.

It is important to boost development of private energy service companies, to enable them to supply a package of energy conservation services.

Reliable supply of electricity to the consumers must be the main task for electric power sector.

The changes in the law on electric power supply are called to ensure provision of long-term guarantees of return of investments to energy producing organizations, which helped modernize, reconstruct, expand and renovate the assets on “single purchaser principle”

In order to improve reliability of energy supply sector and prevent uncontrolled rise in electricity prices for final consumers, regional energy network companies and electricity supplying organizations will be integrated.

In turn, this will create favorable conditions for attraction of investment in the sector and will allow to regulate the international cross-flow of electricity in favor of domestic consumers and will improve the quality of governmental management of the sector.

We will continue working on formation of science-intensive economy.

65 research projects are being currently implemented in Kazakhstan together with the World Bank.

The attraction of ‘anchor TNCs’ will enable us to establish the technological development centres.

We plan to achieve several key indicators of the second five-year stage of the industrial-innovative development.

The innovative activity of business will be raised by 20% of GDP, while the share of innovative products will be increased up to 2.5%.

More than 7,000 kilometers of highways will be repaired as per Nurly Zhol Program for the purpose of development of the country’s transportation and transit potential.

By 2020, the amount of passage fees will make around 41 bln tenge.

We have set to the implementation of the project on establishment of the multi-modal Eurasian Transcontinental Corridor to integrate Kazakhstan into the international transport-communication flows.  The project will ensure unhampered transit of goods from Asia to Europe and reduction of the cost of delivery by more than twice.

The attraction of cargo flows to Kazakhstani routes will raise the number of transit transportations by all means of transport from 18 mln tonnes  up to 33 mln tonnes in 2020 and up to 50 mln tonnes by 2030.

Deregulation of container transportations will lead to their volumes increase by more than 500 thousand tonnes in the nearest 5 years.

An international aviation hub will be established in Almaty.

New international communication with the world’s financial leaders, such as Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong will be established to ensure the formation of Astana as a world-class financial centre.

A new common legal act will be adopted in construction sector which will regulate the process of undertaking all licensing procedures for developers based on “one window” principle.

Some types of expertise will be carried out by private companies hence. In 2016-2010 private market of Kazakhstan will receive up to 99% of projects.

Besides, new construction rules based on Eurocodes  entered into force beginning from July 1, 2015.

As for tourism, we are planning to boost it by reducing administrative barriers, developing new tourist sites and routes and improving the quality of the services rendered.

SOCIAL MODERNIZATION STIMULI

 Rapid development of economy requires paying special attention to the process of formation of a new type of labour relations.

For this purpose we have adopted a new Labour Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The document is based on the labour standards of the International Labour Organization and the OECD.

The new Code simplifies the procedures of changing the terms and conditions of the labour contracts and provides for implementation of self-management of staff and a new mechanism of talks of employers and employees.

The reform of the education, healthcare and social protection sectors will let us improve the quality of human potential.

Educational process will be carried out in three languages – Kazakh, Russian and English.

The measures on raising the quality of personnel training for implementation of the State Program of Forced Industrial and Innovative Development have been elaborated.

Healthcare sphere must focus on implementation of compulsory health insurance system. The involvement of private sector in provision of guaranteed volume of free medical care will let expand competitive environment and improve the quality of medical services.

A Unified Commission on the Quality of Healthcare Services will be established.

Healthcare facilities of Kazakhstan will be offered a new corporate model of management.

We also plan to optimize the social care rendering system for needy groups of population.  Such type of care will be rendered since 2018 to the families whose income is lower than 50% of minimum subsistence level per each member.  Meanwhile, the recipients will sign a social contract on compulsory participation in employment assistance and social adaptation programs.

In general, the most important aspect of the new social policy is linked to stage-by-stage growth of investment in human potential development.

We need to persistently implement the idea of Universal Labour Society.

The Employment Road Map program has been updated and its financing has been raised. The program will let the people undertake short-term refresher courses and upgrade their qualification as well as to receive micro-loans.

In 2017 we will launch the implementation of a new project  “Free technical and vocational education for all”, which will let young people get basic labor skills.

SUCCESS OF REFORMS – WAY TO NATION UNITY

Twenty five years of Kazakhstan’s independence proved that nation’s unity is the only tool of achievement of incredible peaks of development.

With its model of successful development our country demonstrates the importance of stability, peace and accord.

All countries of the world live by one economic, political and cultural algorithm. They share common goals of development and common understanding that success of a person is inextricably linked to success of a state.

All developed countries of the world to date are implementing their own modernization projects based on their own identity. As for Kazakhstan, we have just taken this path.

As the world practice shows, there are no universal standards and recommendations in the sphere of identity and unity. None of the countries has ready receipts, models and responses to challenges in this sector.

Meanwhile, the final goals of our work in unity and identity issues or, speaking in technocratic language, our expected results are common with those set by the OECD states.

Our way is the way of unity and consistent formation of the nation based on civil identity.

This is the main idea of the fourth reform on strengthening Kazakhstani identity and unity.

We have already formed two pillars in this area:

The first one is the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan, whose mission is to lead us to the inviolability  of inter-ethnic peace and accord.

The second pillar is the “Mangilik El” (Eternal Country) idea reflecting as a mirror the nation’s belief in future.  This is a basic idea of Kazakhstani patriotism which must be enhanced and handed down from generation to generation.

 We are pursuing a goal of strengthening common identity and unity of the country through the development of Kazakhstan society based on common nationality, national values and on consolidation of our achievements over the years of independence.

In order to continue our work in this area, we are applying the instruments offered by the OECD.

These tools have been adapted to our conditions and are used in modernization of the cultural and educational spheres, youth socialization and patriotic upbringing.

All our identity and unity related activities will concentrate around the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan. This is a key principle.

The experience of the OECD countries shows that identity and unity may rely on certain factors only: meritocracy, professional government, rule of law, economic rise and transparency of work of the accountable state.

In other words, these factors are successful results of implementation of 100 Specific Steps program.

In order to implement the fourth area of the National Plan, the Parliament of Kazakhstan has amended the laws on the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan, on State Symbols, the legislation on culture and historical-cultural heritage, tourism and the activity of the non-governmental organizations.

A new law on charity, sponsorship and philanthropic activity was also adopted.

Important amendments were inserted to the Cultural Policy Concept and the State Program of Languages Development and Functioning.

The Concept of Tourism Development and 2020 Trilingual Education Development Road Map have been elaborated as well.

The Government is going to approve the Action Plan on Kazakhstan’s National Brand Promotion.

The work on modernization of museums and the system of usage of the State Symbols is underway.

Particular attention will be given to strengthening the interaction between the state and NGOs under a special Action plan.

The plans on modernization of Kazakhstani mass media, on promotion of the idea of the Universal Labour Society as well as other cultural- educational  and information projects will be implemented.

I would like to highlight that Kazakhstani identity is the identity of success of the state, society and each and every individual.

OPEN STATE ACCOUNTABLE TO SOCIETY

The fifth reform aimed at formation of a transparent and accountable state sets several key tasks:

First, a state corporation “Government for Citizens” will be established.

This new structure will unite the existing Public Service Centres, Real Estate Centre, the Land Cadaster Scientific and Production Centre and the State Pension Payment Centre.

Such merging of state republican enterprises will enable us to reduce administrative barriers and the list of documents to be submitted by the customers.

The quality of this corporation’s services will be monitored and controlled by the government, the corporation itself and NGOs.

Secondly, the entire public governance system will be result-oriented.  Hence then, the Government, all the ministers, each structural division of governmental agencies and every civil servant will work as per individual plan approved by their leadership.

Third, it is crucial to ensure reliability of official statistics. The responsibility of the respondents and administrative sources for provision of statistical data must be enhanced.

 All these aspects were taken into account while developing and adopting the corresponding laws.

The fourth task is the revision and optimization of the state programs.  

On my instruction, all the programs of all levels have already been revised and verified according to 5 key principles and recommendations of the OECD:  expediency, continuity, transparency, monitoring and control.

The state and regional development programs must be revised as per these principles too.

All new state and governmental programs must be discussed by the advisory bodies chaired by the Prime Minister.

The fifth task is to amend the country’s Fiscal Code.

In compliance with these amendments, Governmental agencies will enjoy the right to redistribute budgetary funds to achieve final results. Besides, their authorities on taking decisions regarding the structure and staff number will be expanded.

Sixth, a new system of evaluation of the state bodies’ work is required.

This system will be based on compulsory external independent audit, publicity, feedback and personal responsibility of senior staff. In this regard, the Auditing Committee of Kazakhstan and other financial control agencies will be reformed and their activities will be based on the models of the world auditing companies with enhanced expert-analytical component.

The seventh reform will be ensuring transparency and accountability of the state and providing the population with more access to information.

Beginning from 2016, the individuals and legal entities will enjoy more access to all information of governmental structures and institutions, except for state secrets and other secrets protected by law.

In 2016, all central and local executive bodies will establish special public councils, two thirds of which will consist of the representatives of community.  Their work will be based on the principles of autonomy, independence, publicity and periodical rotation.

Prominent public figures but not governmental officials will head these councils.

The public councils will be entitled to discuss draft programs, strategic plans and development programs of the state bodies as well as the programs’ implementation.

The meetings of the public councils will discuss the reports on achievement of target indicators and will consider the bills regarding the rights, freedoms and obligations of Kazakhstani residents.

The decisions of the public councils will be of advisory nature, but they must be taken into consideration by the governmental structures.

DELEGATION OF STATE BODIES’ FUNCTIONS TO COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT AND LOCAL SELF-GOVERNANCE

The development of the state requires transition of a number of governmental functions  (approximately 4,500 to date) to competitive environment.

For this purpose, a special commission is established now. It will be headed by the Prime Minister and will include deputies of the Parliament, heads of central executive bodies, representatives of Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs and the Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan.

The commission will compile a list of services which could be transferred to competitive environment. The commission will also consider the regulations of delegating functions. It will also monitor and control the quality of their performance.

The delegation of powers  of central executive structures to local self-governance authorities will be carried out in three stages.

NATIONAL PLAN – THE PROJECT OF LARGE-SCALE MODERNIZATION OF KAZAKHSTAN 

The implementation of the National Plan has already started under control of the National Modernization Commission.

Coherent actions, persistency and creativity will be required from all governmental structures, public institutions and people.

We will have to pass a long way, the way where we are doing our first 100 steps.

There will be other steps, I am confident in it.

Evolutionism and comprehensiveness – this is the main principle of modernization process drives now our History of Independence.

We all must remember that any modernization will be successful if there is a strong state with a  united nation.

We have worthily overcome many difficulties. We have become stronger. We have created a new Kazakhstan – The Land of the Great Steppe.

Fulfilling the National Plan, we use all the opportunities which we have achieved over the years of independence and which ensure our  global development.

I am calling all Kazakhstanis to join the implementation of the Naitonal Plan and use the opportunities provided by the reforms offered.

We will confidently reach our Kazakhstani dream and prosperity of our country!