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Kyrgyz president explains what sources contributed to economic growth in country

Kyrgyz president explains what sources contributed to economic growth in country

In the first quarter of 2024, the growth of the economy of Kyrgyzstan made 8.8%. Compared to the indicators of the first quarter of 2023, the growth rate increased by 3 times. Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Akylbek Zhaparov said that these are not just numbers, but the result of hard work of the president’s team over the last three years. In this regard, Kabar Agency asked President Sadyr Zhaparov about the reasons for the growth of economic indicators.

– Sadyr Nurgozhoevich, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, stated that according to the results of the first quarter, our economy grew by 8.8%. Excluding the Kumtor gold mine, this figure was 9.8%. Is this true? Which sectors of our economy contributed to such growth?

Indeed, these figures are accurate. These are official numbers monitored and calculated by the National Statistics Committee. Additionally, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce oversees the process. All sectors contribute to the growth of our economy.

Of course, at the expense of taxpayers:

1. Kumtor

2. Alliance Altyn (Zherui)

3. Altynken

4. Nur Telecom

5. Sky Mobile (Bitel)

6. Alfa Telecom (MegaCom)

7. Red Petroleum (Alfa Oil)

8. Partner Neft

9. Gazpromneft

10. Top Noch

11. Ayil Bank

12. Optima

These companies take leading places.

And I would like to note the significant contribution of the National Bank to economic growth and curbing inflation.

– You said that the National Bank has a great contribution to the growth of our economy. How much reserves we have if it’s not a secret? What about our gold reserves?

– There is no secret. All these are public information. To-date, our total international reserves have reached 3 billion 491 million dollars. From our independence to 2020, our international reserves were only 2 billion 424 million dollars in 30 years.

Today, the team of our National Bank added 1 billion 67 million dollars in 3 years.

As for gold reserves, until 2020, only 16 tons of gold had been collected in 30 years. Today, the National Bank has 51 tons of gold. 35 tons of gold was added in 3 years. You see the difference: 16 tons in 30 years, 35 tons in 3 years.

In addition, the National Bank lowered the inflation rate to 5.2 percent to-date. Compared to other countries, today inflation is lower in our country. This is the result of the correct policy of the National Bank.

— Are there currently problems in the state budget in paying foreign debts, making payments on protected items? There are critics, who state that our external debt has increased…

In simple terms, let’s forget about discussing external debt from now on. We won’t entertain these questions any longer. Some of our citizens may persist in claiming that our external debt has increased, but we won’t pay any attention to them anymore.

Up until 2020, our external debt was around 5 billion dollars, accumulated over 30 years. Apart from recent projects like Datka-Kemin, the North-South highway construction, and the modernization of thermal power plants, not much significant work had been undertaken.

However, these three projects have become essential for Kyrgyzstan’s development, akin to air and water. It’s worth noting that these projects won’t justify their costs even over 40 years, as their expenses have increased by 2-3 times. Comparatively, similar construction and work in European countries are done 2-3 times cheaper than here.

For instance, even a fifth-year student in this field can calculate the required funds for building a thermal power plant

The North-South highway and the Datka-Kemin project are also overpriced. This is not the fault of the Chinese side, which issued the loan, but our authorities and officials are to blame. The money was stolen.

By 2035, we will repay our foreign debts in the amount of 5 billion dollars, which have accumulated to date. The timing of the payment coincided with the period of work of my team. God bless. It is within our power to do this. Our economy has improved. As long as there is peace and stability in the country, we will easily pay.

Remember: we will pay off previous debts at the expense of the people, from the national budget. Because before this there was not a single self-sustaining project. All the money received disappeared like water into sand.

We will direct the debts that we take on now, every dollar taken, to specific projects. We will take on self-sustaining projects. I’ll give one example. About 5-6 billion dollars will be spent for the construction of the Kambar-Ata 1 hydro power plant.

This project will pay off in 13-15 years from completion and commissioning. When the time comes to repay the debt for this project, the republican budget and the people will not pay. The Kambar-Ata 1 hydro power plant will pay for itself before the debt is due. How?

For example, the World Bank provides a loan of 500 million dollars for 50 years with a 10-year grace period without interest. Kyrgyzstan received a loan on such terms for the first time in the history of the country.

Now I’ll tell you about the Kambar-Ata 1 project. Construction period is 8-10 years. The 5-6 billion dollars spent for construction will be fully recouped within 13-15 years from the date of completion of construction and start of operation. It turns out that the longest time for the cost of Kambar-Ata 1 to be fully recouped, including the construction period, is 25 years.

Therefore, even if our external debt reaches 10-15 billion dollars, we don’t have to worry about anything. The most important thing is that by 2035 we will fully repay previously incurred debts. In the future, no matter how much we borrow, every project will pay for itself.

There will be no burden on the republican budget and people’s pockets. Of course, not taking into account the debts incurred for road construction.

I mentioned only large projects. There are projects of small and medium-sized hydro power plants that will pay for themselves in 7-8 years. We must invest in them too. We now asked the Global Climate Fund to help. If they help, we will completely switch to green energy.

We have many projects in other areas. I won’t go into all the little details. We are implementing them with private investors and, to the extent possible, at the expense of the budget.

– Thank you for answering our questions.

– I wish you good luck in your work!

Interviewed by Mederbek Shermetaliev, Director of Kabar News Agency

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