Altay Kulginov is one of the most successful alumnus of the “Bolashak” program. He is the youngest governor ever served as Akim of the West-Kazakstan Region (oblast). Notwithstanding his busy schedule, Mr. Kulginov has found time to talk to us and answer several questions.
Q: As a governor of one of the largest regions of the country, you obviously pay a lot of attention to the level of professional training of the staff within and outside of the country. To what extent does Bolashak program meet your requirements? And the necessity of what professions are in priority in your region?
A: The issue of personnel has always been one of the most critical questions in all spheres: public service, business, medicine, industry and others. That is why a professional that got a good education and a high-level qualification is always very valuable.
“Bolashak” Presidential scholarship is designed for the preparation of professional staff for the needs of the Republic and it has been successful achieving that goal. Thanks to the presidential scholarship initiative, Kazakhstan gained many young specialists that already work and apply their knowledge and competences to the benefit of the development of our economy, the system of education and social healthcare.
The training of personnel in our region is treated systemically and comprehensively. Therefore, we have allocated finances from our municipal budget to finance learning of foreign languages courses for applicants to “Bolashak” scholarship.
If we talk about priorities, nowadays, training of school teachers and healthcare specialists is of utmost importance for us. New teaching technologies and health treatment methods develop as fast as time runs. Moreover, the implementation of the trilingual policy is not realizable without improvement of qualification of teachers. The importance of engineers is also critical, their knowledge and experience are the key for meeting the challenges of industrial innovation.
Q. Coming back to the previous question, I would like to point out that there are 129 “Bolashak” alumni working in the West Kazakhstan Region and 42 are current scholarship recipients. How efficiently is their potential used? Are there any problems with finding jobs for them?
In total, in the period of 2000 to 2013, there were 141 students from our Region studying in 9 different countries. The list of their specializations is quite broad: engineering, international relations, energy and chemistry, public policy, medicine, oil and gas, educations, economics and management.
“Bolashak” alumni do not have any problems with employment, they are highly valued and wanted on the job market. We should note that work places of those who were sent by their employers to study abroad are kept for them until return from academic leave. Once completed studies, they open new prospects for their career growth. As a result, their salaries increase and their new knowledge and skills make them more attractive at the market. But the most important is that they apply their academic potential enhanced at the World’s best institutions for the benefit of the region and the whole Republic. In the West-Kazakhstan Region, about 32% alumni work for international companies, 18% in education, 15% in healthcare system and business, and 10% in public service.
Q. In the “100 Concrete Steps” Nation’s Plan, the Head of the State set a new course of reforms in all key directions of the development of the state. In this context, what work is being done and what tasks do you deliver as the Governor of the region?
The “100 Concrete Steps” Nation’s Plan is a well-timed critical document that demands due and exact implementation. The modernization of the state, described in the Five institutional reforms and the Nation Plan is a direct response to the present challenges.
The realization of the tasks, which are described in the industrialization and economic growth section of the Nation’s Plan, is launched on the basis of good starting positions. In the Region we pay a lot of attention to attraction of investment, development of new and incumbent industries. There are 41 projects being implemented under the Industrialization Map. The total value of the projects is 330 billion tenge while the total number of jobs that these projects create exceeds 2200. Last year, the share of innovation-based projects in the aggregate industry was 30%.
For instance, on the base of Oral Transformer Factory together with our Turkish investors we are establishing JV “Oral Electro”, which will be producing electro-technical equipment. As requested by the President, we pay special attention at the energy sphere. The first line of gas-turbine electro station with the capacity of 100 Megawatts has been launched in the Region. This project will ensure our energy security and will decrease the region’s dependence on energy import. Moreover, it makes Oral a net electricity exporting region. “Kondensat” JSC is building a new factory on the production of the K5-class engine fuel, which would enable us to have high-quality fuel made in Kazakhstan. For the first time we have been able to establish the production of black caviar and sturgeon in Uralsk under the conditions of closed water recirculation.
One of the important priorities was and still remains to be is the development of small and medium size enterprises. Notwithstanding the effects of the global financial challenges, the business activity and entrepreneurship in the Region are growing. Such a growth is primarily fostered by the implementation of the state programs.
The state programs let us create new and ensure existing jobs. Since the inception of the “Roadmap for Business – 2020” program, more than half a thousand of projects have been approved and more than 3 300 jobs created. The biggest part of the projects that received state support last year was implemented in rural areas. As to the “Roadmap for Employment” program. More than 230 micro-loans with a total value of 460 million tenge were provided under the program, and about 3000 work places have been created.
According to the requirements of the Nation’s Plan, a more rational approach is needed in the agricultural sphere. Especially, taking into account that Priuralie is considered as an agricultural region. Today, the goal is to integrate modern technology and scientific developments into accumulated experience, knowledge and skills. Last year, for the development of agriculture we provided more than 7 billion tenge from municipal and republican budget, as well as from the National Fund. It is 42% more than in 2014. A project on enhancement of the meat livestock export capacities of the region has been successfully realized. The growth of livestock count is stable. There are more than hundred breeding reproduction herds, 21 breeding farms and six feeding stations in the Region. Four more feeding stations for 2 800 cattle are under construction. “KazAgro” JSC provides funding for ten investment projects with the total value in excess of 3 billion tenge.
At the moment, we are drafting the Program on development of the Region till 2021. We are discussing with all stakeholders the content of the Program. 14 public councils take part in the discussion on the county, city and regional level. The public councils were created under the auspices of the Nation’s Plan. We have visited the largest districts of the Region, where we held discussions on all important initiatives. In the near future all the wishes and comments will be analyzed and subsequently reflected in the Program, which will set the path for the development of the Region. These efforts are the effective tools of a responsible state we are forming under the Nation’s Plan.
Literature in your life. Is there time in your schedule for reading and what book are you reading now or you have recently read?
The last books I read were “Hard Choices” by Hillary Clinton and “Can Singapore Survive” by Kishore Mahbubani.
Of course, my busy schedule does not let me spend much time reading but, to be honest, I love reading. I am of the opinion that regardless how hard it is to find time for reading, you have got to find some spare time for it. A good book provides food for thought, and an opportunity to learn something new. It offers rethinking of important matters and helps self-improvement.
On the 4th of July it is going to be 100 days since you became the governor. Could you name your three important initiatives in the development of the Region?
Among set priorities – construction and reconstruction of roads, development of small and medium size enterprises, and attraction of investment into the Region, in particular to the agro-industrial sector. In our opinion, these are the most essential problems of the Region, the solution of which will improve the infrastructure and well-being of the people in the Region. This is actually what the work of akimat should be directed at.