Speech by A. Kozhakhmetov at a meeting of the National Council of Public Confidence under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on September 6, 2019
Dear Kasym-Zhomart Kemelevich!
Dear Council Members!
I am pleased to welcome you at today's meeting of the National Council of Public Confidence! At the beginning of my speech, let me express my gratitude for the invitation to take part in the meeting with 34 representatives of public councils of the regions, in close relation to the people.
Dear friends, I am honored to be a member of the National Council's Political Reform Working Group. Of course, I will try to meet your expectations.
At the first meeting of the National Council, which was created on the principle of “different views - a single nation”, on August 28, we conducted a general review of issues that will be discussed in the future, and we also managed to make a number of proposals.
Today, the Head of State calls to solve problems of the society, it suggests that our country has risen to a new level. It is a really important and bold step.
As you know, in his first message on September 2, Mr. President said: “It is impossible to implement successful economic reforms without modernizing the country's socio-political life.” Civil society has always been considered the most active part of the population, and parties are an organized part of society. Civil society does not seek power, unlike parties, but if civil society can control the pyramid of power, the activity of the population, the desire for self-government increases.
Strengthening the status and effectiveness of public councils
1. I think that one of the main issues of the Public Councils’ activity is the promotion of development of civil society. In fact, this direction is indicated in the name of our national council, based on trust structures that complement civil society and public councils. We must not forget that recently our Kazakhstani society has been much more active.
So, at present, there are 229 public councils operating under the ministries and akimats of regions, cities and districts, 75% of which are representatives of civil society. Unfortunately, the composition and content of the activities of public councils created in ministries and akimats do not correspond to the tasks assigned to them. Public councils do not fully realize their potential.
I think that the National Council of public trust should once again develop its structure, since it is a structure of consolidating and stimulating public councils. Therefore, local and regional public councils need public expertise of the National Council to study the social situation in the region. Such actions would be one of the ways to improve the work of the Public Council and increase efficiency. I think it is necessary to involve representatives of regional and sectoral public councils in the work of the National Council and working groups. Therefore, in the future, it is necessary to raise the status of local public councils to the level of a national council and jointly solve bothering problems. In order to increase the significance of 34 representatives of regional and sectoral public councils participating in this meeting, they need to be given an advisory vote at the level of the National Council.
Control over the work of the quasi-public sector
2. Supporting the proposal of President K. Tokayev to reduce the quasi-public sector, in order to increase transparency and accountability of this sector, which makes up more than 60% of the entire economy of Kazakhstan, I propose adding one qualified civic activist to the Board of Directors of each of the national companies of Samruk-Kazyna JSC, Baiterek JSC, KazAgro JSC and their subsidiaries, as well as the board of directors of regional socio-entrepreneurial corporations (SEC).
Accessibility of government
3. Throughout the country, the inaccessibility of state bodies for citizens still causes discontent, the principle that the population should not work for state organizations, but state organizations should work for citizens is not fulfilled. It was not possible to see the open doors of government offices for citizens. Therefore, applying successful experience, I suggest that representatives of non-governmental organizations create special multifunctional spaces on the 1st floor of each institution for holding meetings and public events in each state body without permission documents, restrictions, and cell phones.
Transfer of part of state functions to the civilian sector
4. Supporting the proposal of President K. Tokayev to reduce the state apparatus, I propose to transfer part of the state functions not to a competitive sector, which involves business, but to the civilian sector. First of all, the civil sector is ready to accept the functions of providing service assistance to socially vulnerable segments of the population, education and leisure of youth. Along with that, it can commit itself to conducting a comprehensive social research in the field of regional policy, preparing state and national reports and reports, advisory assistance in all areas, examination of laws and regulations, monitoring and civil control, organizing forums and exhibitions.
This year, I propose, before the upcoming second meeting, to participate in development of a roadmap on the transfer of part of the state functions of the National Council of public trust to non-profit organizations until 2025. Of course, such work contributes to the rapprochement of the state and the civil sector.
It will also testify to the implementation of the 97th step of the nation’s plan “100 concrete steps”, aimed at the bright future of the Kazakh people.
Open Government Partnership Initiative
5. The government should, whenever possible, be open and explain its decisions in a simple accessible language. This issue can be effectively addressed through the adoption of specific government obligations, such as in developed countries. Today, the Open Government Partnership includes 79 countries, including such post-Soviet countries as Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Taking into consideration the aspiration of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan for membership, I propose to begin the process of Kazakhstan's entry into the Open Government Partnership. Inclusion in the initiative will increase the efficiency and accountability of the government, transparency, improvement of anti-corruption methods, as well as ensure the wide involvement of civil society in government. According to OGP, Kazakhstan’s suitability meets 75% of the Open Government Partnership requirements. I propose to strengthen the work on joining the government to this initiative. Together, it is necessary to develop a national plan of action for three years, reflecting the high level of openness and accountability of our country.
Infrastructure support for civic centers in Kazakhstan
6. Civil society needs infrastructural support (offices, conference rooms, Coworking Space). For the effective functioning of civil society it is necessary to have its own space. We propose introducing civil society centers into the Friendship Houses of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan. Because these two bodies together with existing structures. This measure will allow the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan and non-governmental organizations to work in the “common house” in their interests and develop synergies, influencing each other.
Dear colleagues, where there is no mutual trust, there will not be growth and development. I think that the task of our Council members is not a high position, not so much counseling, but conscientious service to the country, thereby justifying the entrusted confidence.
I wish you success in your work!