Kazakhstan officials come to three conclusions from the pandemic
The third conclusion is that the health care system should come first, "because the situation related to the coronavirus is not short-term, we see that the coronavirus has come for a long time and we will have to continue to live with it."
Agris Preimanis, Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Kazakhstan, noted that the Kazakh government successfully supported the business and population in the pandemic, which helped to avoid a deep crisis.
- But the moment comes when you need to think about reducing the role of the state and reducing support. There is a great risk, for all countries, that people and companies will begin to get used to the support they receive. It is very important to choose the right time and the right way to reduce state support for companies and the population, - he said.
Today, many countries, including Kazakhstan, "are faced with the question of the time of release and how to reduce their support programs." But in Kazakhstan, the EBRD representative reminded, there were many supporting programs before the crisis.
- At the moment, the instruments that are used are replacing private financing, thereby distorting the market. Perhaps it is worthwhile to come to the conclusion that state support does not go to the full cost of the project, but only to its half, and the second part - from the private sector, thereby pushing towards its development. We need to think about how to change these programs in the direction of creating the right signals for companies, - says Preimanis.
Adviser to the President of Kazakhstan on Economic Development, ex-President of the EBRD Suma Chakrabarti, speaking of reforms for long-term effective development, noted that an open dialogue with investors is necessary to attract investments.
- It is necessary to create such conditions that investors are not afraid to talk frankly with a government agency. There are also investment litigation issues that have not yet been resolved. Investors talk to each other, share information, where not to go. And Kazakhstan must understand: investors have a choice, they are not obliged to come to Kazakhstan. Therefore, it is necessary to take measures to resolve the protracted investment litigation, - he said.
It is also necessary to intensify the privatization process, while critically reviewing the approved privatization plan. The presidential adviser remarked skeptically that "a lot has been said about it, but it is high time to put it into action."
Among his recommendations are the reduction of business regulation, taking into account the inequality coefficient between the regions of the country when building development programs.
With particular criticism, Chakrabarti spoke out in relation to the current system of government. The quality of the civil service is low, and the remuneration of civil servants does not allow attracting young people. The culture of decision-making that has been formed does not help to improve the performance of the entire system.
- Everyone is used to the fact that decisions are made only at the top level. At the middle level, no one makes decisions, there is no such experience, because they are afraid of it. This needs to be changed, - the adviser to the president is sure.
It is high time to think about the introduction of modern technologies and digitalization, since a lot of time and effort is wasted on solving unnecessary tasks.
- This is always a very bad answer when the question: "Why are you doing this?" you hear, "We've always done this." My blood just boils from such answers. Do we really need to keep doing a lot of reports, and often manually? What's the point of this? - Chakrabarti is surprised.
His main advice is to build the right communication strategy. Moreover, this means not only PR work or branding the country abroad, but also building communications within the country - with the people.
- The president says that you need to be a listening state, and that's great. But the state has not yet heard, communication is going in a one-way direction. This needs to be changed. If you want public policy to be of high quality, you need to hear what citizens need, and not just tell citizens what they need, ”Chakrabarti stressed.