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Kazkahstan: State's Ineffectivess and Expansion

While the government continues to take steps towards expansion into most lucrative and strategic sectors of national economy, simulaneously undergoing an administrative self-restructurization, Kazakhstani bloggers discuss effectiveness of the state bureaucracy.

KZBlog reports on the authorities’ voiced intention to keep on renegotiation of contracts with foreign investors:

“What is more, oil companies are not to be the only targets of renegotations. Steel giant Arcelor Mittal whose mines have come to public attention for disasters that killed miners late last year and in 2006, is under pressure as well. Critics believe that the government is essentially nationalizing its resource industries by canceling contracts that do not give the government enough control or a big enough profit share”.

Zhanna Zhukova is more supportive about giving hard time to Arcelor Mittal:

“Finally, it happened – after series of tragedies, when dozens of miners were killed in blasts on the coal mines of Arcelor Mittal’s Kazakh subsidiary in Temirtau – the government took a firm stance. For years they were putting a blind eye on the violations of labor norms and safety at the enterprise”,

says Zhanna, reporting on the statement by the emergencies minister Vladimir Bozhko on possible cancellation of licence for extractive activities if Arcelor-Mittal fails to meet conditions of the government.

Against this background, it especially interesting to see how a prominent economist and ex-minister Zeinulla Kakimzhanov took the offensive. Recently, he came out with a number of interviews, criticizing the state's economic policies. He also said that he had been voicing his thoughts and suggestions earlier via official channels, but “the bureaucracy in Kazakhstan is not used to criticism” – apparently, he was right:

“Shortly after these demarches, Kakimzhanov was fired from the post of head of the state-owned Investment Fund of Kazakhstan”, reports neweurasia [ru]

Megakhuimyak elaborates on the reasons why it is so, and reminds of the ongoing administrative reform, which presumes reduction of the staff in state bodies:

“There is a wise observation: the more you reduce the staff, the more it grows. Low effectiveness of most of the state agencies is the result of brain-drain, high turnover and lack of competent manpower policy, which results in the situation when people come to public office not to do their job, but to make money” [ru].

Mantrovkz is really depressed about that, and says that the notion of justice is getting devalued, yielding to the cult of rude power and dumb lust for profit in absence of the unifying national idea [ru]. Meanwhile, sarimov have studied the latest Forbes’ list of billionaires:

“Do you know that the aggregate fortune of 8 Kazakh billionaires makes up $22.8 billion, which is more than the size of National Oil Fund with its $22.6 billion! Now imagine how big the National Fund could have been, if we had normal economy and politics!” [ru].

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