Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbaev reshuffled several top economic positions in the cabinet of ministers on February 20. Uraz Jandosov, who until now had chaired the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK), becomes first deputy prime minister and chairman of Kazakhstan’s Investment Committee. Kadyrjan Damitov, formerly deputy chairman of the NBK, moves up to chair the bank. Ahmetjan Esimov, until now chairman of the Investment Committee, is promoted to head the presidential administration. The ethnic Russian Finance Minister Aleksandr Pavlov is replaced with his deputy, Sauat Mynbaev. Pavlov, however, keeps his rank as deputy prime minister.
Changes in the government had been expected following the appointment of Kazakhstan’s new prime minister, Nurlan Balgimbaev, who must be keen to reduce the relative autonomy that Jandosov and Pavlov enjoyed under his predecessor Akezhan Kazhegeldin. Jandosov and Pavlov are competent technocrats who have compiled significant achievements in the country’s macroeconomic stabilization. (See Monitor, January 16) Jandosov, a 36-year-old Moscow-educated economist, is credited with streamlining the banking sector. The 45-year-old Pavlov, a Minsk-educated economist, has overseen an increase of 33 percent in 1997 state budget revenues over the previous year. (Kazkommerts Securities, Kazakhstan Weekly News, February 23) Esimov’s appointment is testimony to his high personal standing with the president. A 48-year-old specialist in agriculture, he is also one of the president’s first cousins. He replaces Sarybai Kalmurzaev, who was appointed head of Zhambyl oblast last year.
When the reshuffle was announced, Nazarbaev declared on national television that that the new appointments sought to strengthen the government’s capacity to promote reforms. The reform process would remain on track, the president stressed. (Xabar TV, February 20; Russian agencies, February 21)
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