President of Turkmenistan pleased with results of 2018, but his people are not
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov summed up results of development of his country in 2018, noting that he was pleased. According to him, despite difficult situation in global economy, Turkmenistan has managed to maintain high growth rates - by the end of the year, the GDP will be around 6.2%. Head of state said that new program of economic development until 2025 will be adopted in the near future, and it will become the basis for sectoral reforms. However, population will last year remember for abolition of social benefits, reduction of state subsidies, dropping employment rates, drop in income and food crisis.
Despite difficult situation in global economy and problems in several industries, Turkmenistan, has managed to maintain high growth rates of the national economy, Berdymukhamedov announced at an expanded government meeting after 11 months of the year. "According to forecasts, the GDP growth at the end of the year will reach 6.2%. Production volumes increased in almost all sectors of the national economy. Thanks to adopted programs, share of private sector in the economy has increased, and it currently stands at 65%," state news agency quoted him as saying. "Wages, pensions and government benefits are paid as planned. Numerous industrial and social facilities were commissioned this year. State budget for 2019 has been adopted, and the Stabilization Fund has sufficient funds," Berdymukhamedov noted.
Turkmen leader stressed that there's a need to accelerate privatization of state-owned enterprises. To achive this, according to him, it's necessary to create stock market and ensure competitive market, in which shares of enterprises will be sold. However, privatization in Turkmenistan was announced back in 2016, but during this time only state-owned association Turkmenkover and system of consumer unions were privatized. Bankrupt enterprises are usually put up for privatization, which leads to job cuts and increase in unemployment rate in the country. According to experts, Berdymukhamedov solves problem of lack of money in the state treasury at the expense of budget cuts.
However, successful privatization is almost impossible in the Turkmen realities. "President has took certain position - all investments must go through the Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists, and foreign investors have no autonomy and can't propose any initiatives. In other words, if you come to Turkmenistan with your money and technology, you have to find local partnerts, which will be playing more dominant role. It's a dead end. Protection of investments won't work, local partner will always have priority,” Turkmen expert said on condition of anonymity.
Despite the fact that government meeting was dedicated to results of the economic development of Turkmenistan, the word “crisis” has never been mentioned. A few days ago, Berdymukhamedov held a video meeting, during which he demanded the Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations, Amandurdy Ishanov, to reduce imports and fill the country's markets with various domestic products at affordable prices. The reason for that demand is that it's no longer possible to hide the existing food crisis.