Ashgabat, 11 October 2017 (nCa) — As the annual session of the Elders Council wrapped up Tuesday at the Yayla festival grounds, the outcome was vast in scope and impact.
With courageous policies and avant-garde decisions adopted during the session, Turkmenistan has clearly redefined the narrative and terms of the social contract between the state and the people.
The list is fascinating and insightful: 1. Adoption of the national development plan for the period 2018-2024; 2. Legislative support for development plans; 3. Introduction of tariffs on consumption of natural gas and electricity, use of transport and communications services and utilities; 4. Shifting of Independence Day to 27 September; 5. Land reforms in the agriculture sector; 6. Creation of Peoples Council to replace Elders Council; 7. Declaration of 2018 as year of “Turkmenistan – Heart of the Great Silk Road”
National development plan for the period 2018-2024
The national development plan for the period 2018-2024 was discussed and adopted during the last day of the Elders Council session on 10 October 2017.
Some major projects included in the plan were mentioned by President Berdymuhamedov in his speech on 9 October 2017.
In addition to the new projects and works, the plan clusters some 70 state and branch programmes and plans currently in various stages of implementation.
Among the stated and implied objectives of the plan: Creating job opportunities in all the provinces of Turkmenistan; Facilitating self-sufficiency up to province level and where possible up to district level; Fast track measures to reduce imports and boost exports; Nurturing the small and medium enterprises to serve as the backbone of the economy; Creating conditions for the emergence of private farmers as the primary guarantors of food security.
Legislative support for development plans
Since the entire parliament of Turkmenistan was in attendance at the Elders Council session, it was expedient to hold a legislative session of the parliament within the proceedings of the Council. The purpose was to create the legal space for the reform and development plans of Turkmenistan.
The laws passed:
On Free Economic Zones
On Halk Maslahaty (On Peoples Council)
On independence and principles of state structure of Turkmenistan
On amendments to Constitution of Turkmenistan
On amendments to law of Turkmenistan on Migration
On amendments to Labour Code of Turkmenistan
On amendments to Code of Turkmenistan on Land
On amendments to Tax Code of Turkmenistan
Abolition of free utilities and services
With unanimous vote by show of hand, the Elders Council decided to do away with the free utilities and services that were available to the people since independence.
President Berdymuhamedov said on 9 October 2017 that the introduction of tariffs on utilities and services must be introduced ‘step by step, phase by phase.’
Looking at the tariffs approved during the Council meeting, some segments of the population will continue to enjoy some volumes of utilities and services for now.
Here is the tariff list:
- For Turkmen citizens not engaged in entrepreneurial activcity – Manat 20 per 1000 cubic meters, consumed natural gas over the free-of-charge limit
- For foreign citizens with right to reside in Turkmenistan, for stateless persons and refugees – Manat 20 per 1000 cubic meters of consumed natural gas
- For other consumers other than those specified above (excluding the foreign investors in enterprises participating in foreign investments, and construction contractors engaged in construction and installation work under the contracts in foreign currency within Turkmenistan) – Manat 20 per 1000 cubic meters of natural gas consumed
- For foreign investors in enterprises participating in foreign investments, and construction contractors engaged in construction and installation work under the contracts in foreign currency within Turkmenistan – USD 50 per 1000 cubic meters of consumed natural gas
- For housing and some other needs – 20 Tenge per kilogram of liquefied gas, consumed over the free-of-charge limits
For legal entities financed from the state budget and their equivalents – Manat 3.31 per 100 kWh
- For state owned self-supporting legal entities, non-state-owned legal entities engaged in business, individual entrepreneurs – Manat 6.28 per 100 kWh
- For foreign citizens with right to reside in Turkmenistan, for stateless persons and refugees – Manat 2.17 per 100 kWh
- For legal entities established in accordance with the legislation of foreign countries and carrying out their activities through registered offices and branches in Turkmenistan – USD 3.58 per 100 kWh
- For diplomatic missions accredited in Turkmenistan, consular offices of foreign states, permanent missions of interstate, intergovernmental, international organizations of these states, and interstate, intergovernmental, international organizations, their branches and permanent missions in Turkmenistan – Manat 3.31 per 100 kWh
- For citizens of Turkmenistan who do not engage in entrepreneurial activity – Manat 2.50 (including VAT) per 100 kWh of electricity consumed above the free-of-charge limit
Per cubic meter per month (above the free limit) – 50 Tenge
Per square meter per month of living space – 50 Tenge
Per square meter per month of living space – 10 Tenge
Per person per month on use of sewage system – 40 Tenge
Urban transportation (bus service)
- Single ticket – 50 Tenge
- Monthly ticket for pensioners – One Manat
- Monthly ticket for students – Two Manats
Per subscriber per month – One Manat
These tariffs will come into force from 1 November 2017.
Shifting of Independence Day to 27 September
The Independence Day, which was celebrated since independence on 27 October, has been shifted to 27 September.
The parliament issued on 10 October 2017 the revised list of holidays.
Closed holidays (holidays with day off)
1) New Year – 1 January
2) International Women’s Day – 8 March
3) National Spring Festival – 21-22 March
4) Day of the Constitution of Turkmenistan and the State Flag of Turkmenistan – 18 May
5) Independence Day of Turkmenistan – 27 September
6) Memory Day – 6 October
7) International Day of Neutrality – 12 December
8) Kurban Bayramy (Eid al-Adha) – as determined by the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan
9) Oraza Bayram (Eid al-Fitr) – as determined by the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan.
10) Other festive or memory days as determined by the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan
Festive or memory days without days off
1) Defenders of Fatherland Day – 27 January
2) Day of Diplomatic Workers of Turkmenistan – 18 February
3) Day of workers of transport and communication complex – 7 March
4) The Day of Chemical Industry Workers – 31 March
5) World Health Day – 7 April
6) Day of workers of migration bodies of Turkmenistan – 17 April
7) The day of the Turkmen horse – last Sunday in April
8) Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 – 9 May 9
9) Day of the city of Ashgabat – 25 May
10) Day of employees of the Interior Ministry of Turkmenistan – 29 May
11) The day of the Turkmen carpet – last Sunday in May
12) International Children’s Day – 1 June
13) World Environment Day – 5 June
14) Day of textile workers – first Sunday in June
15) Day of Science – 12 June
16) Day of employees of the justice bodies of Turkmenistan – 18 June
17) Day of employees of the prosecutor’s office of Turkmenistan – 26 June
18) Day of workers of culture and art, and also poetry of Makhtumkuli Fragi – 27 June
19) Day of workers of the judiciary of Turkmenistan – 5 July
20) Day of Health and Medical Industry Employees – 21 July
21) Day of frontier guards – 11 August
22) Day of knowledge, youth and students – 1 September
23) Day of workers in the energy industry – second Saturday of September
24) Day of workers of the national security bodies of Turkmenistan – 30 September
25) International Day of Older Persons – 1 October
26) Day of the Navy of Turkmenistan – 9 October
27) Day of workers of customs bodies of Turkmenistan – 4 November
28) Harvest Festival – second Sunday in November
29) Day of oil and gas industry workers and geologists – 14 December
30) Day of Remembrance of the First President of Turkmenistan S. Niyazov – 21 December
Agricultural land reforms
The Land Code of Turkmenistan has been amended to allow for lease of agricultural land for a period up to 99 years to the citizens and legal entities of Turkmenistan including the farmers’ associations and agricultural enterprises.
The tenants who have fulfilled their contractual obligations successfully for 5 years may use their allocated land for any type and form of agricultural activity at their discretion.
Creation of Peoples Council
This was effectively the last session of the Elders Council. The parliament, in a session on 10 October 2017, decided to create the Peoples Council (Halk Maslahaty), abolishing the present Elders Council.
The status and scope of the Peoples Council was not immediately clear from the material available to the media. However, it is expected that the Peoples Council may enjoy a status higher than the parliament, with some substantial authority and powers.
The first session of the Peoples Council will be held next year in Ashgabat.
2018 as year of ‘Turkmenistan – Heart of the Great Silk Road’
The year 2018 has been declared as the year of ‘Turkmenistan – Hears of the Great Silk Road.’
A book penned by President Berdymuhamedov with the same title was launched a day before the session of the Elders Council.
Conferment of title, medal on the president
During the session, the title of Hero of Turkmenistan was conferred on President Berdymuhamedov. This was the second time he received this title. The medal Altyn Ay (Golden Crescent) was also conferred on the president.
nCa Commentary by Tariq Saeedi
The outcome of the Elders Council session of 9-10 October 2017 amounts to complete restructuring of the social contract between the state and the people.
The decisions taken during the Council meeting are diverse in appearance but they are actually closely connected with each other.
The president of Turkmenistan mentioned in his keynote address on 9 October 2017 that Turkmenistan had been impacted by the lingering global financial and economic crisis and the slump in the hydrocarbons market.
Turkmenistan is mindful of the fact that the successive waves of the global financial and economic shock are generated by the greed and deceit of certain countries, corporations and banking organizations. Faced with such challenges emanating from the other side of the globe, Turkmenistan has decided to dip into its own reservoir of resolve and resourcefulness. The people of Turkmenistan, regardless of their ethnicity and background, are the ultimate wealth of the country.
Tariffs have been imposed on the use of resources and utilities, most of which were available free of cost in limitless volumes to the population. This is not austerity measure – it is basically aimed at preserving the national wealth for the future generations.
Even if one is inclined to consider this as an austerity measures, let’s keep in view that many countries, with larger economies than Turkmenistan have introduced austerity measures in the recent years. Some such examples are Greece, Italy, Irish Republic, Portugal, Spain, the UK, France, and Germany.
President Berdymuhamedov said in his speech, we are faced with a moral question: Should we continue consuming these resources irresponsibly or should we think of our future generations and leave a solid resource base for them?
His question basically draws attention to the use of oil and gas and the services and utilities that depend on their consumption.
Hydrocarbons are non-renewable. Once they are gone, they are gone.
New technologies and innovations are entering the use at breakneck pace. Every day we see some new breakthroughs changing the way we use the equipment and services for a more comfortable and efficient life.
This year, the power generation through renewable (mostly solar and wind) has already become cheaper than the production of electricity through conventional means (mainly oil, gas, and coal).
The electricity-driven cars are a reality now and some countries are already determined to phase out the automobiles running on petrol or diesel within the next 25 years.
In the next ten years or so, it will be inadvisable to burn the hydrocarbons as fuel.
Natural gas is the main wealth of Turkmenistan. With the advancements in 3D printing, nanotechnologies, and production methods, it is possible to make a wide range of things from single-cell protein, synthetic fuels, and the entire polymer group products from the natural gas. In a futuristic scenario, a whole city including the roads and buildings, and most of the things used by people in that city such as clothing, furniture and electronic and household devices and appliances would be produced from the downstream sector of natural gas.
Surely, those of us who would live long enough to see those times, would enjoy the innovative uses of the natural gas. Nevertheless, it belongs to the people several generations down the road, and for a long time. Come to think of it, we are the ancestors of those people and it is our primary responsibility to leave this planet together with its resources in the best possible shape for them.
The tariffs introduced on 10 October 2017 that will encourage the rational use of the resources, are a very small price for the secure future of the people still unborn.
Predictably, the immediate reaction of the people would be shock and outrage. After all, communism is still in the living memory and in communism there was no concept of market prices driven by their production cost and overall demand.
It will take a little while for the people to start appreciating the need for paying what they use. The awareness will come in due course of time, perhaps in a few months, that the payment for services and utilities strengthens the economic base, makes it easy to assess the economic indicators, invariably helps in ecological safety, bolsters job security for certain sectors, and inculcates the sense of ownership and pride. The media will have to play the key role here.
The Independence Day has been shifted from 27 October to 27 September. At first glance this may sound rather absurd. However, we must not forget that in the CIS space the Independence Day is just a day chosen at that time to mark the achievement of statehood. Neither for Turkmenistan nor for any other country in the CIS, it was not actually a rigidly fixed date but a period of several months when the Soviet Union withered away.
The shifting to 27 September is actually a realistic decision. The weather in September is quite pleasant compared to the end of October when it can be quite windy, rainy and cold. The people taking part in the Independence Day celebrations, particularly the children, will be saved from the hardships of weather with this newly determined date of independence. Also, the festivities will cost less in a mild weather.
As the country pursues its future with a newfound determination, the seven-year development plan for the period 2018-2024 has become available. For best results, this plan must remain flexible and subject to periodic review. It would be viable to review the progress every couple of years or so and adjust the plan accordingly.
The creation of the Peoples Council in place of Elders Council is also an idea driven by the same factors that are behind the other decisions of the Council on 10 October 2017. As a powerful and permanent body, it will have members from all walks of life and all factions of the society. It will be the platfoerem for the people at grassroots level to be heard by the highest authorities in the country.
The agricultural land reforms have two important elements: 1. The peace of mind that the land is in the hands of the tiller for up to 99 years; and 2. The permission for some tenant to use the land for any agricultural purpose on their discretion.
The lease of land for a period of 99 years amounts to ownership of the land for up to three or four generations. This will generate dedication that is so important for better yield. There is, however, the need to prevent the appearance of absentee landlordism because that will defeat the purpose of these reforms.
The tenants who have tilled the land for five years while successfully delivering the state plan will be free to use their plots for any agricultural purposes. This will encourage the experimentation in niche and cash crops by experienced farmers. This, in turn, will not only augment the food security but also expand the range of agricultural exports depending on the regional market requirements in any given year.
The year 2018 will be the year of “Turkmenistan – Heart of the Great Silk Road.” In plain language, this will be year devoted to connectivity options and infrastructure for better transport and transit relations in the intra- and inter-regional context.
The road ahead is still unpaved and uncharted. However, with meticulous planning and widest national consultations Turkmenistan has put together several elements for a better and secure future.
The key word is self-reliance.
Speech of President Berdymuhamedov at Elders Council on Monday (9 October 2017)
Dear participants of the Council of Elders! Dear elders! Ladies and Gentlemen!
First of all, I would like to heartily congratulate you on the opening of the meeting of the Council of Elders of Turkmenistan, which is a significant event of the Year of Health and Inspiration, to express gratitude and best wishes to all participants of the meeting – to the distinguished elders, dear guests and dear compatriots.
The current national forum is held on the eve of the 26th anniversary of independence, widely and solemnly celebrated in the sovereign Fatherland, and state sovereignty is a matter of our pride!
Turkmenistan is a peace-loving country. We strive to build our relations with all countries of the world on the basis of mutual respect, steadily implementing the policy of positive neutrality on the international arena.
As is known, the legal status of the permanent neutrality of our sovereign state was, first of all, recognized by the General Assembly of the United Nations, and then supported by its relevant Resolutions.
To date, our neutral Motherland is the only state that reflected this Resolution of the world community in its Basic Law [Constitution]. In this connection, attaching exceptional importance to this historic Resolution, we clearly formulated the key provisions of the legal status of the country’s permanent neutrality in its Constitution, emphasizing that the permanent neutrality recognized by the world community is the fundamental doctrine of the internal and foreign policy of our independent state.
Following the main principles of positive neutrality, Turkmenistan pursues an active foreign policy for the benefit not only of its people, but also of the peoples of the whole planet.
In accordance with the “Concept of the Foreign Policy of Neutral Turkmenistan for 2017-2023”, we attach special importance to strengthening and progressive development of political, economic and cultural ties with the United Nations Organization, the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other authoritative international structures, as well as various countries.
At the same time, we are building up and enriching with a qualitatively new content the interaction with the UN and the representations of the specialized agencies of the Community of Nations – the UN Development Program, UNESCO, the Population Fund [UNFPA], the Children’s Fund [UNICEF], the World Health Organization [WHO], the Office for Drugs and Crime [UNODC] located in our country. A fruitful dialogue has also been established with the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia [UNRCCA].
As is known, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed December 12 as the International Day of Neutrality, on April 19, 2017. Our neutral country was elected to the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund for 2018-2020, as well as to the Commission on the Status of Women for 2018-2022.
It is also remarkable that at the meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Turkmenistan was elected to three UN structures: the Commission on Science and Technology for Development for 2017-2020, the Commission on Population and Development for 2016-2020, and the Commission on social development for 2017-2021 years.
At the 72nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, our country proposed a fundamental approach to the issue of ensuring global cyber-security.
As you know, the final Declaration of the International Sports Congress “Asian Games 2017: International Sport Cooperation for Peace and Progress” is circulated as a document of the 71st session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Based on this document, Turkmenistan envisages the holding, under the auspices of UNESCO, of the seventh international conference of ministers and leaders responsible for physical culture and sport.
This year our country fulfills the duties of the chairman of the International Energy Charter Conference. The election of Turkmenistan in such authoritative international structures is a clear indication of the comprehensive support of the world community for the peaceful policy of our neutral state based on the traditions of good-neighborliness and humanism for the sake of the interests of all mankind.
Being invariably committed to the principles of neutrality that are legally enshrined in our Constitution, we will continue to pursue a policy of openness, friendship and broad international cooperation that fully meets not only our national interests but also the interests of the world community, and the goals of universal peace, security and prosperity. Proceeding from this, we will continue to make every effort to strengthen the positions of our sovereign Fatherland in the international arena.
Dear participants of the meeting! Dear elders! Dear friends!
At a recent meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, devoted to the results of 9 months of this year, we reviewed the economic indicators of the country’s development. They were published in the press, covered on television, and you probably saw them, so I will not once again focus your attention on the work done. I want to touch only on the main issues.
Our goal is to diversify the economy, and expand its export opportunities. Guided by these tasks, we started realizing state programs for the production of import-substituting products and increasing the volumes of export goods, as well as the State Program for the Creation of the Electronic Industry.
Good results have already been achieved in their implementation. The volume of imported goods decreased, and export supplies increased.
As is known, in 2007 the National Program of the President of Turkmenistan was adopted to transform the social and living conditions of the population of villages, settlements, cities of etraps [district] status and etrap centers for the period until 2020. As a result of its implementation, thousands of social facilities and engineering infrastructure were built and commissioned in the country. Dozens of major projects of international significance were implemented in the framework of the President’s Program for the Social and Economic Development of the Country for 2012-2016.
Today, all branches of the national economy are being reformed. A solid foundation has been laid for dozens of important sources of the country’s economic development. Thanks to the systematic implementation of these measures, the formation of a reliable foundation of a powerful industrial, social and engineering infrastructure that ensures the stable growth of our economy continues to form.
An example of this is the construction of transnational gas pipelines, including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas main, railways, highways, bridges, dozens of facilities in the Avaza National Tourism Zone and other large facilities.
Taking into account the average GDP per capita, now Turkmenistan has overcome the threshold of generally accepted indicators characteristic of high-income countries in terms of socio-economic parameters.
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other authoritative international organizations confirm the successful implementation of monetary, fiscal, price and investment policies in our Motherland.
According to the forecasts of authoritative international financial institutions, in our country in 2017 and 2018 is also expected a high GDP growth, namely at 6.4 percent. This serves as a clear confirmation of the fact that since 2007, Turkmenistan has implemented most of the Sustainable Development Goals proclaimed at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015.
The ongoing economic reforms and the progress achieved were made possible through the improvement of the levers of macroeconomic regulation and the broad support of the native people.
Today we can fully confirm that in our country there has been a dynamic growth of a powerful, modern, socially oriented economic sphere that is based on various forms of property and provides for a phased transition to market relations.
Dear elders! Dear guests! Dear friends!
High-level events held in Ashgabat – V Asian indoor and martial arts games – have become important this year, an event of international importance.
Our country prepared itself in the most responsible manner for the Asian Games. In 2010, we started building an Olympic town in Ashgabat, which, as you know, received huge investments. The facilities erected here are equipped in accordance with the requirements of the International Olympic Committee.
The artistic embodiment of the image of the Akhalteke horse, which adorns the podium of the Olympic stadium, as well as the high-quality international water sports center, built of environmentally friendly materials, is included in the Guinness Book of Records, which indicates the most serious and responsible approach to the construction of sports facilities in our country.
At the sports facilities of the Olympic town, 21 kinds of sports were held, in which athletes from 65 countries of the planet took part.
It is very gratifying that in these Games our athletes took the first place, having won the greatest number of medals in the team event. We have the right to say that these remarkable sports victories have multiplied the patriotism and pride of the native people for their beloved Motherland. Holding the Asian Games at the highest level has strengthened the prestige of the sovereign Fatherland in the world Olympic movement, and facilitated the recognition of independent neutral Turkmenistan as a world sports center.
Dear participants of the meeting! Dear friends!
Today we will discuss and adopt the most important document – the country’s development program for the near future.
As is known, some economic and political events that have taken place in the world in recent years have had a negative impact on the economic growth of our country to a certain extent. In this period, first of all, the growth rate of the global economy has decreased.
This is due to the geopolitical situation, the drop in prices on world markets for hydrocarbon resources, the insufficient stable development of the economies of the states that are key trade and economic partners of Turkmenistan, the change in the rate of freely convertible foreign currency, the volatility of securities in the stock markets and other factors.
A deep study of these processes occurring in other countries of the world allowed us to focus on making adjustments to the practical goals and objectives of the social and economic development of Turkmenistan for 2018-2024.
Proceeding from this, the task was set to fully utilize all the resources and opportunities for a stable growth of the national economy, accelerated transition to market relations, in particular, the rapid development of the non-state sector of the economy. It envisages the creation of joint ventures and joint-stock companies, the strengthening of the activity of stock exchanges and the securities market.
On this basis, we developed the draft “Program of the President of Turkmenistan for the socio-economic development of the country for 2018-2024 “, and it is provided to you for review.
The Program defines the goals of the social and economic development of the sovereign Fatherland in 2018-2024, reflects the challenges ahead, the main principles, priority directions and expected results. In addition, measures have been outlined for the implementation of these goals, including improving the efficiency of the work of economic structures, formulated tasks to improve the system of state regulation and ways to modernize it.
It is also planned to take all necessary steps to improve macroeconomic regulation in the conditions of the global financial and economic crisis, to achieve a balance of these indicators, to continue reforming the financial and banking sector.
In accordance with the Program, over the next 7 years it is planned to maintain a high annual growth rate of the country’s GDP (at a level of 6.2 to 8.2 percent).
In this period, the share of industry in the structure of the national economy will make up on average 33 percent, construction – 14, the share of agriculture – 10.9 percent. This indicator for the transport and communications industries will reach 9.1 percent, in the trade sector – 12, for the sphere of various services – 21 percent.
In order to form an industrialized economy, work will continue to create and ensure national priorities, support scientific and technical initiatives. In general, state support for the diversification of our country’s economy is implemented through a system of measures related to the implementation of economic policies at the global and regional levels.
The implementation of these works will create full-fledged conditions for a significant increase in export potential, and will also create capacities for the production of import-substituting products in all regions of the country.
During the implementation of the Program, an active investment policy will be conducted. As the main investment for the socio-economic development of the country in 2018-2024, we will allocate more than 240 billion manat. During this period, investments into the oil and gas complex will amount to 159.9 billion manat, and over 6900 new jobs will be created.
At the plant under construction in the village of Ovadendape Akhal velayat, the plant is to start producing 600000 tons of clean gasoline A-92 from natural gas in 2024. By this time, the construction of a gas compressor station for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline will be completed at the Malay field, all of which will be done on our own. This is a great thing!
The total amount of electricity produced in the country by 2024 will be brought up to 33 billion kilowatt-hours, which is 27.2 percent more compared to 2018.
Along with this, in 2018-2024 in the village of Kiyanly Balkan velayat, a gas chemical complex for the production of polypropylene, polyvinylchloride, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid and liquid chlorine is envisaged.
As for the chemical industry, in the city of Garabogaz of the Balkan velayat in 2018 it is planned to put into operation a carbamide [urea] plant with an annual capacity of 1,155 million tons, which will become the largest urea production plant in the country.
In addition, in 2018-2024 in the territory of the Balkan velayat it is planned to increase the capacity of enterprises for the production of iodine, bromine and products from them based on the processing of iodine-bromine waters. As a result, in 7 years the production of technical iodine will increase by 2.3 times, and in 2024 the export volume of this product will exceed 1000 tons.
During the implementation of the Program, the Turkmenbashi International Sea Port will be established – one of the largest centers of the country’s transport infrastructure.
In addition, in 2022, in the city of Mary will begin the construction of a complex for the annual production of 300000 tons of ammonium nitrate and 450000 tons of carbamide. Completion of the construction of this facility is planned in 2026.
Along with this, it is planned to develop capital investments for commissioning in 2021 at the industrial site of the Turkmenabat chemical plant an enterprise for the production of 300000 tons of concentrated phosphate fertilizers per year. This project is aimed at providing the domestic agricultural industry with this type of fertilizer.
In comparison with 2018, the volume of mineral fertilizers produced in the country in 2024 will increase by 1.6 times and amount to 3,825 million tons. 74.5 percent of these products will be supplied to foreign markets.
In the cities of Atamyrat of Lebap province and Garabogaz of the Balkan velayat in 2019-2021 it is planned to build modern airports – each with a capacity of 100 passengers per hour.
The launch of the national artificial satellite, which promotes the development of communications, into outer space, testifies to the transformation of our country into an economically powerful state. In 2018-2024, it is planned to channel about 1.3 billion manat of capital investments for the development of the domestic space sphere and the improvement of its activities.
In the meantime, it is planned to create and launch into space orbit another artificial satellite intended for ground control, which will allow monitoring of work in agriculture and the oil industry, as well as the state of the environment.
The universal accessibility in our country of the Internet will give an opportunity to accelerate the growth of the economy. According to the most modest calculations, until 2045 around the world, more than 100 billion pieces of equipment will be connected to the Internet. This includes mobile and portable devices, home appliances, medical and industrial devices, safety equipment, cars, and other equipment and technologies.
All these devices will accumulate in themselves and spread a huge amount of information, which will lead to a fundamental turn in our life and work. People will use the information received via the Internet to make more informed decisions, with a deeper understanding of their life and the events around them.
In addition, thanks to the equipment connected to the Internet, most of the control, management and repair functions that today require human labor will be automated. Proceeding from this, I instruct the deputy chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Mejlis [parliament] of Turkmenistan, and the Academy of Sciences to prepare a special program for the development of the Internet network and the creation of the electronic industry.
In the near future, it is planned to develop solid investments in the healthcare sphere with the introduction of modern technologies. In the context of solving social problems, the acceleration of the country’s economic growth will be carried out in accordance with the goals of sustainable development adopted by the United Nations.
In 2018-2024, the average salary will increase by 10 percent annually.
In order to strengthen the material and technical base of the healthcare system and provide it with modern equipment, work will continue on the construction, overhaul and reconstruction of medical institutions. For the upbringing of a healthy generation, measures will also be implemented to expand the infrastructure of sports and sports facilities and facilities due to new construction.
In 2018-2024, work will continue on the modernization of all levels of education. It is planned to expand the network of secondary and higher professional educational institutions on the basis of economic entities of the non-state and mixed sectors. Along with this, the system of paid education will also develop.
Steps will be taken to ensure state information support for the sphere of culture and artistic creativity, create conditions for innovative development, increase access to the national cultural values and familiarize them with the achievements of world culture.
During the implementation of the Program, effective measures will be taken to improve the well-being of the population; in particular, residential houses have been built, and provided with a wide range of communal services and clean drinking water. It is also planned to erect thousands of social facilities, housing area of millions of square meters, and laying of modern engineering communications.
In this regard, the volume of residential houses, raised by credit funds, will increase. In order to provide housing for young families, the system of lending and providing land plots will systematically develop.
In accordance with the Program, within a period of 7 years it is planned to create hundreds of small and large industrial enterprises in the field of entrepreneurship. In this period, cardinal reforms will also be carried out to establish foreign and joint ventures.
Special economic zones will be created in the country, existing state enterprises will be privatized, joint-stock companies will be formed. In the process of transition to market relations, fundamental changes will be made. As a result of such a large-scale work, the share of the non-state sector of the national economy will systematically increase.
In order to expand the country’s export capabilities, it is also planned to build a joint factory for assembling electric vehicles.
Briefly, in general, these are the main directions of development of our country in the next 7 years. You are given information to discuss this issue, so I ask the members of the Council of Elders to express their opinion on this matter.
Dear participants of the Council of Elders!
We must discuss another very important issue. Today we are actively working on the key areas of socio-economic development of the sovereign Fatherland, formulated in the draft state budget for 2018. I want to address only its separate aspects.
I think that in this issue our main goal will be to achieve rapid, stable economic growth due to the accelerated development of industries and the diversification of the economy.
The reforms on diversification and integrated development of the national economy will continue, which envisage the implementation of large-scale, especially important investment projects of international and regional importance.
Ensuring social welfare, and protecting the rights and interests of our citizens is a key vector of the state policy of independent Turkmenistan. Proceeding from this, as in previous years, the social policy that we conduct in 2018 should be oriented towards improving the quality and standard of living of the population.
Conditions should be created for building human potential on the basis of increasing the effectiveness of the health, education, culture and other activities related to the service sector.
In this regard, the amount of financing of the social sphere in the next year should be at least 75-80 percent of the total expenditure of the State budget of our country, in which the growth of incomes of the population and improvement of living conditions, based on sustainable economic development, financial and social stability. It is also necessary to take measures for the state protection of motherhood and childhood.
A significant place in the State budget should be to finance measures to effectively manage labor resources and meet the challenges of the labor market, create conditions for the realization of citizens’ constitutional rights to work.
Proceeding from this, I instruct all heads of ministries and sectoral departments, deputy chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers, as well as the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, to take the most responsible way in preparing the state budget for the next year and accept it before the end of this year.
Dear participants of the meeting!
As you know, in the first years of the country’s independence, our people were provided with free gas, drinking water, electricity and salt. Symbolic was the fee for utilities. During that difficult period, these measures were aimed at alleviating the social and domestic situation of our citizens.
At that time, the state treasury was empty. There was no money to pay wages, buy necessary medicines, and maintain military and law enforcement agencies. All this created an unfavorable situation for the adaptation of citizens to the conditions of a market economy, so we were forced to take such drastic measures.
Our people have used many resources for free and have been enjoying these social benefits for many years. Such benefits that our country provides to its population are not found in any state of the world. To finance these expenditures, huge financial resources are being released from the State Budget of Turkmenistan, but I think that the time to cancel these benefits has already come.
Deep integration of the country’s economy into the system of market relations requires careful, rational, economical and highly efficient use of national wealth. The systematic increase in the incomes of the population and the improvement of employment now give us the opportunity to introduce a certain payment for social benefits that were previously provided free of charge. I believe that this will create all the prerequisites for establishing a profitable work of the industries previously associated with social benefits.
In addition, I think it will be right if we are guided by the fact that our esteemed elders regularly advise for the last few years to establish a fee for the consumption of natural resources and to cancel the existing benefits.
Proceeding from this, supporting and taking into account the opinion of the elders, I consider it expedient if in the future we gradually introduce a regular payment for services, natural gas, electricity, drinking water and salt. I am sure that you will support this proposal.
Dear participants of the meeting! Dear elders! Ladies and Gentlemen!
I want to touch on here another important issue. As a rule, applications and proposals received from citizens are always analyzed by the relevant institutions. All of them are carefully studied, and the necessary work is carried out on them.
Recently, a number of proposals have been received from citizens to change the legal status of the Council of Elders of Turkmenistan and improve its activities. The Council of Elders of Turkmenistan has been active since 2008, playing an important role in the life of the country. In accordance with popular customs and traditions, without any discussion with the elders, no important law or document is adopted.
During the past period, the Council of Elders discussed many issues related to the development of the national economy and the improvement of the well-being of citizens, and very important decisions were made. Undoubtedly, the implementation of these documents has yielded positive results both for the development of the country and for the well-being of the people.
Proceeding from this, in order to enhance the role of the Council of Elders in our state, I propose to change its legal status and conduct a structural transformation. I consider it expedient to call this Council the Halk Maslahaty (People’s Council), and also to expand its membership to ensure the participation of representatives of all strata of society in its work.
It is also necessary to create local bodies of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan. Speaking about local authorities, I mean the currently operating etrap, city and velayat halk maslahaty. I believe that we will create conditions for registration of these representative bodies as local bodies of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan, as well as their productive work.
To implement these tasks, appropriate legislation should be adopted. In this regard, I instructed the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, deputy chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministry of Adalat to submit proposals for the preparation of drafts of relevant documents.
We have submitted to you these prepared drafts for consideration at this meeting. If approved, we will accept them. This work needs to be done, not postponing for later, because time does not wait. We have big and important tasks ahead of us. I ask you to fully study these proposals and express your opinion on them.
If we deem it necessary, we will make appropriate changes and additions to them. Within the framework of the current meeting of the Council of Elders, we will ask the Mejlis of Turkmenistan to hold its meeting, consider the relevant documents and adopt them.
If we talk about elections, then a number of such events await us. In 2018, we need to conduct elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, members of the velayat, etrap and city halk maslahaty, as well as the Gengesh [village council], therefore, we should immediately begin preparations for these elections.
Dear participants of the Council of Elders! Dear elders! Ladies and Gentlemen!
Our major long-term goals, our foreign policy course will continue to remain unchanged. For we are committed to further enhancing the international authority of the sovereign Fatherland and the people, following the principles of creation and peace, and confident progress in order to strengthen and improve the legal framework of our democratic state, a just civil society.
We, with our word and deeds, must whole-heartedly serve our sovereign Fatherland and the people in the name of our beautiful future. This is the guarantee of our present and future achievements.
Dear participants of the meeting!
I sincerely wish you good health, longevity, a happy life and a peaceful sky, great successes in your work for the prosperity of an independent neutral Motherland. /// nCa