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Five areas of new housing program, results of pilot project on health insurance and food prices — as discussed at the Government session

Tuesday, 19 November 2019, 15:29:04

Nov. 18, 2019, at the government session, the progress of the Nurly Zher State Program for Housing Construction and its project for 2020-2025, the implementation of the pilot project on the introduction of compulsory social health insurance in the Karaganda region, as well as the increase in food prices were considered.

On the sidelines of the government, media representatives received answers to their questions. A press conference was held following the meeting, where the First Vice Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development Kairbek Uskenbayev, Chairman of the Committee for Construction, Housing and Communal Services of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development Markhabat Zhayymbetov, Chairman of the Board of JSC Housing Construction Savings Bank Lyazzat Ibragimova were speakers.

New Nurly Zher State Program: Introducing Ladder of Housing Affordability and Determining Population’s Income

During the consideration of the first issue, the prime minister informed that since the implementation of the Nurly Zher state program in 2017, more than 3.3 trillion tenge has been invested in housing construction, of which 85% is money from private investors. About 33.5 million square meters were built, which allowed to provide housing for about 300 thousand families.

Askar Mamin instructed to ensure the implementation of the target for 2019 — the delivery of 13 million square meters of housing.

The head of the government was also informed that the new Nurly Zher state program for 2020–2025 included issues of heat and water supply and sanitation, modernization of the public utilities sector, housing renovation from the Nurly Zhol State Infrastructure Development Programs for 2015–2019 and State Program of Regional Development until 2020.

As part of the new program, the ladder of housing affordability is being introduced. The determining factor will be the income of the population.

The prime minister noted that the new Nurly Zher State Program will allow each Kazakhstani citizen to solve the housing problem depending on their income level. Along with solving housing problems, the project provides for providing the population with high-quality drinking water, modernization of housing and communal services infrastructure, and repair of the housing stock.

Mamin instructed to ensure the adoption of the draft state program by the end of this year.

Implementation of CSHI in 2020: Increasing Availability of Medical Care by 7 Times and Raising Doctors’ Salaries by 30%

Reviewing the implementation results of the pilot project on compulsory social health insurance in the Karaganda region, the prime minister was informed that the pilot, which started Sep. 1, 2019, allowed to test the CSHI system and prepare for its full implementation in Kazakhstan. Over two months, the coverage of the region’s population with rehabilitation assistance increased (by 42.2%), more people began to undergo expensive tests (CT and MRI) with medical insurance (by 192%).

It is worth noting that the new model of the guaranteed volume of free medical care and the CSHI  package provide for the introduction of a three-level medical support system from Jan. 1, 2020.

The state continues to provide the population with the necessary package of basic medical services at the level of primary health care (preventive vaccinations and medical examinations, patronage, pregnancy management, etc.) and access to emergency and emergency care.

Taking into account the introduction of CSHI, in aggregate, the health budget in 2020 for the country will be about 1.5 trillion tenge, including more than 500 billion tenge due to the CSHI. Health insurance will increase the availability of certain types of medical care by 7 times. Tariff growth will be from 10% to 20%. This will increase the salary of doctors from next year by 30%. The level of equipment with medical equipment will increase from 70% to 73%. The introduction of OSMS will reduce current "pocket" expenses in 2020 — by 30%, and by 2025 — almost 2 times.

The prime minister praised the results of the pilot project for the implementation of the CSHI, indicating the need for the regions to take into account the experience of the Karaganda region.

The head of government instructed until the end of this year to ensure the full readiness of medical organizations to start the insurance system, to complete the updating of population data and to ensure the accuracy of information in information systems for children, students and unemployed persons raising children under three years of age.

Rising Food Prices: Necessary to Develop Specific Package of Measures to Stabilize Prices of Socially Significant Goods

At the end of the meeting, Askar Mamin raised the issue of food prices. According to him, since the beginning of the year, threshold prices for socially significant food products have grown by more than 15% in all regions. The largest price increases are observed for buckwheat, rice and flour. By region, the highest price increases were recorded in Shymkent and Kyzylorda, Turkistan, Almaty, Kokshetau, Petropavlovsk, Aktobe and Taraz.

The head of government was informed that the main reasons for the price increase were the presence in the food market of a large number of distributors with different trade margins and other ineffective intermediaries, non-compliance with storage conditions, and lack of established delivery channels. Also, the reason may be an increase in exports. Due to this, prices for imported goods are rising.

The Ministry of Trade and Integration, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and local executive bodies, is working to contain prices for socially significant food products and gradually eliminate the causes of their growth. In particular, various price containment mechanisms have been developed. The main mechanism for stabilizing prices today is the activity of stabilization funds.

The prime minister instructed to create a working group, which within a week should develop a specific package of short-term and medium-term measures to stabilize prices for socially important goods.

In addition, on behalf of the head of government, vice ministers of agriculture, national economy, trade and integration, deputy akims of the cities of Shymkent and Almaty, Kyzylorda, Turkistan, Akmola, North Kazakhstan, Aktobe and Zhambyl regions, responsible for controlling food prices will be brought to disciplinary action.

On the sidelines of the Government, the Minister of Trade and Integration Bakhyt Sultanov explained to reporters the reasons for the increase in prices for some food products and spoke about the ongoing work to prevent a sharp jump in prices.

“Today we are creating an efficient commodity-producing system from producer to consumer,” Sultanov said, adding that the presence of a large number of ineffective intermediaries, whose margin is not so transparent, affects pricing.

Another problem, as noted by the Minister of Trade and Integration, is the lack of a full analysis by the akimats on the balance of production, consumption and the corresponding flows of goods for export, import and between regions, which leads to gradual consequences. Stabilization funds of food products that are available in the regions should facilitate timely response and adoption of measures to resolve this issue.

During the press conference following the meeting, the First Vice Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development Kairbek Uskenbayev spoke about the draft of the new Nurly Zher program for 2020-2025.

According to him, the ladder of housing affordability will be introduced, the determining factor will be the income of the population. Queues will be formed on the basis of people's incomes, according to cost of living.

“We decided to differentiate by income, having determined that the first step will be families who have incomes up to one living wage (for 2019 — 29,700 tenge) — for them we must build rental housing without the right to purchase. The second category, with incomes up to two living wages (for 2019 — 59,400 tenge) — for them we must provide a soft loan at 2% per annum. The third category is up to three living wages (for 2019 — 92,000 tenge) — for them we offer a mechanism at 5% per annum. And people who have higher incomes, they must participate either in the 7-20-25 program or apply for housing through second-tier banks,” Uskenbayev explained.

According to him, for example, there will no longer be restrictions in the Baqytty Otbasy preferential program, all categories that will be divided by income can participate.

“At the first stage of the program, only three categories of the population could participate. These are mothers with many children, single-parent families and families raising children with disabilities. Now there are no restrictions in the new program, all categories can participate, who is in the queue, but inside we will share by income,” said Uskenbayev.

In addition, Uskenbayev said that the issue of re-qualification of acquired housing, depending on the life situations of the population, is under consideration.

“It will be possible to transfer rental housing to the category of credit, if, for example, a person has rented and accumulated funds in the HCSB. The opposite situation may also arise when, for example, one of the family members is left without work and the family is not able to pay the loan, then the mechanism provides for the preservation of savings in the account, but the transfer of housing to rental, the situation in the family does not even out. In other words, we create maximum conditions for people who may find themselves in different life situations,” Uskenbayev added.

When asked by the news agency correspondent about the launch and conditions of the new 5-20-25 housing program, the Chairman of Housing Construction Savings Bank JSC Lyazzat Ibragimova said that the 5-20-25 program involves a mortgage loan for 25 years with 20% down payment at 5% per annum. Military personnel, civil servants and public sector employees can apply for housing under this program.

“In fact, the formula ‘5-20-25’ has been in force since December 2016. We, as Housing Construction Savings Bank, according to this formula, with a 20% down payment, issue loans at a rate of 5% per annum. Over the entire period of the program, we issued 19,800 loans totaling 150 billion tenge. At the same time, 93 billion tenge was allocated to us from the budget. 57 billion were returnable resources or the resources of those people who have accumulated 50% of the cost of housing,” she said.

Criteria for participation in the program:

  • must be in the waiting list of akimat;
  • not have your own home for the past 5 years.

The price per square meter for this program is 180 thousand tenge in the cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent, Aktau, Atyrau, in other regions — 140 thousand tenge. At the same time, he emphasized that since the implementation of this program for more than 5 years, the cost per square meter has not changed.

The moderator of the press conference addressed the speakers a question addressed to the editorial office of PrimeMinister.kz regarding quality control of housing construction. Uskenbayev noted that in order to increase the transparency of construction processes and ensure quality, a unified information system, E-Qurylys, is being developed, where everyone can observe a certain stage of development. All data on the construction of facilities will be entered into an open platform using Blockchain technology, where all data will be visible, including building materials and the rhythm of work. They plan to launch the E-Qurylys system next year as part of the implementation of the new Nurly Zher housing program.

As Uskenbayev emphasized, the construction of preferential housing for the population will meet all safety requirements.

“In the new program, we need to combine two things so that housing is cheap and affordable for the population. In our program, we focus on class III and IV housing, where, first of all, the security of rented housing will be ensured,” added Uskenbayev.

In addition, Ibragimova commented on the possibility of acquiring housing with money from her pension savings. According to her, citizens with a certain amount of savings will have such an opportunity.

“We are studying statistics, which, unfortunately, shows that the amount of social pension that is paid from the republican budget is growing very annually. Upon retirement, a Kazakhstani citizen must have a savings amount that will allow him to receive a pension in the amount of 70% of his salary. Only a very small number of depositors have the volume of such pension savings. Therefore, the mechanism that is currently being discussed, it will most likely affect that small part of investors who already have a sufficient amount of savings,” Ibragimova said.

According to her, now, on the basis of the Association of Financiers of Kazakhstan, the HCSB is working with the National Bank regarding the use of pension savings for the purchase of housing.

“Of course, now we can make a decision to use the savings, but in 15-20 years we will again come to the budget for new money and resources. A balanced position will be, I think, by the end of the year. Additionally, calculations will be made so that this issue is very worked out,” said the head of the HCSB.

In turn, the Chairman of the Committee on Construction, Housing and Utilities Markhabat Zhayymbetov explained the main differences between the new Nurly Zher program and the previous one. According to him, one of the tasks of the new program will be the issue of providing the population with quality drinking water.

So, in urban settlements at the expense of the republican and local budgets it is planned to build 4,188 km of water supply networks (2,420 km) and wastewater (1,768 km). Extrabudgetary financing, public-private partnership mechanisms, and loans from international financial organizations will be used for network reconstruction. In villages with a population of less than 200 people, the problem of water supply will be solved through the installation of integrated block modules for water treatment, and with a population of more than 200 people, through centralized water supply.

According to him, as part of the modernization and development of the housing sector, the replacement of dilapidated networks is proposed. It is planned to allocate 240 billion tenge for these purposes as part of the budget lending mechanism.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development, the length of heat supply networks in Kazakhstan is 11,511 km, the average wear of which is 60%. 3 381 km of networks are dilapidated, that is, they need reconstruction.

In addition, the new program provides for measures for the overhaul and renovation of the housing stock. Today in the housing stock of the republic there are more than 78 thousand apartment buildings, of which 18 thousand houses require major repairs.

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