01:20 GMT26 October 2020
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    Kazakhstan's government unveiled a 100-step plan to reform the country's civil service and build an international business center, earning the praise of Russia's former finance minister.

    Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev unveiled his "100 Steps" program, which seeks to reform the country's government and financial sector to create a regional financial hub in the primarily oil-exporting country.

    The program seeks to reform civil service, rule of law and economic governance, as well as create an inclusive identity in a nation with a sizable Russian minority. Russia's former finance minister German Gref was wowed by the program, saying that Russia needs to implement the same steps without any change.

    "Kazakhstan began one of the most ambitious programs in the world. When I read the program, I had a feeling that I was reading the Singapore government program," the head of Russia's Sberbank said at the Astana Economic Forum.

    Financial Hub

    The financial hub will also have a special legal status as a common law jurisdiction, as well as have English as an official language on its territory.

    The plan also seeks to attract at least ten multinational corporations to develop Kazakhstan's oil refineries and metal ore processing industries to diversify its exports.

    The program places a heavy emphasis on English-language corporate governance and education. High school classes will also be partially taught in English as part of the new plan.

    Rule of Law

    The program proposes an extensive reform of Kazakhstan's civil service which includes reforming the police and legal system. Government employees will be paid based on their accomplishments and foreign managers will be invited to work in the government.

    The program also seeks to alter customs law and link it to tax law to avoid tax fraud. In addition, building codes will be updated to European standards while the licensing process will be simplified.

    Kazakhstan will also develop its national identity as part of the "Big Country — Big Family" project. Another project is Kazakhstan as a "Society of Universal Labor," meant to replace the idea of a consumerist society. The project goes alongside the "second five-year plan of industrialization," a program of infrastructure development.

    An Example for Others?

    Sberbank head and former Russian Finance Minister German Gref was wowed by the plans, telling Kazakhstan's officials that it would be a "sin" to criticize them.

    Although Gref is virtually the only person cited by Russian and Kazakhstani media on the reform plan, a UN representative said that the goal also coincides with the organization's Millennium Development Goals.

    Gref also said that he would like to see the plan implemented in Russia. The economies of Russia and Kazakhstan are similar in their reliance on natural resource exports.

    Related:

    Kazakh Leader Chooses Moscow for His First Visit After Re-election
    Kazakh President Nominates Karim Masimov for Prime Minister
    Incumbent Kazakh President Nazarbayev to Continue Current Political Course
    Tags:
    plan, government, economic reform, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan
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