President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbai Zheenbekov today, on August 1, gave an interview to the "Birinchi radio" of the Public TV and Radio Broadcasting Corporation of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Below are the answers of the Head of State to the questions of "Birinchi radio":
- Good afternoon, dear radio listeners. Traditionally, today the President of the country Sooronbai Jeenbekov will answer the questions of Birinchi radio.
Good afternoon, Mr. President.
- Good afternoon.
- The Day of National Mourning took place in the country recently. Coronavirus infection continues to be the main problem on the republic's agenda. How do you assess the current situation with this disease?
- July 30 was declared the Day of National Mourning. We paid tribute to the memory of the victims of the coronavirus infection and read a memorial prayer for them. I would like to once again express my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims ...
This disease disrupted the peaceful life of every Kyrgyz citizen.
Many compatriots donned mourning and suffered irreparable losses. I also lost my close friends and colleagues, with whom I once worked together ... We are now experiencing one common fate. God forbid, in unity and harmony we will come out of these difficult days.
Experts inform that "the situation is stabilizing, the number of visits to hospitals and hospitals is decreasing." This is definitely a good sign. Nevertheless, it is too early to jump to conclusions. You see and read everything yourself. After all, the situation in the world has not completely stabilized.
In some countries, including developed ones, where it was believed that the outbreak of the disease had subsided and quarantined was lifted, there is now an increase in cases again. It is necessary that everyone continues to take a responsible attitude to the developing situation, to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Therefore, do not forget about strict discipline.
The main attention is paid to the issue of providing medicines, preparing our hospitals for the winter period, building new ones, re-profiling old hospitals in accordance with new requirements.
We strictly control this work, the Government is actively working in this direction. The situation is under control.
I would like to emphasize once again - state bodies and the Government alone cannot correct the situation. If each of us is civic, we will overcome this disease.
- The fight against coronavirus requires a lot of our efforts. Nevertheless, life goes on and there are urgent matters. For example, admitting school graduates to universities.
This year, the process of admission to universities was remote, in a digital format. Also, the Ministry of Education announced that the new academic year will begin with distance learning. This decision was met by parents ambiguously, there are also dissatisfied. In your opinion, how has the country's digitalization policy influenced this area? Is everything okay as the Ministry reports?
- As you know, in the past two years we have been pursuing a policy of complete digitalization of the country. The main goal is to reduce the human factor, corruption elements in the provision of public services to citizens. Particular attention is paid to the complete digitalization of education, healthcare, tax, customs and social services.
Spheres that cover a wide range of people. Only in this way will we be able to reduce the level of corruption, which negatively affects the development of the country. Save people from unnecessary trouble and create comfortable conditions for them. This is not invented by us, it is the world practice.
Our country, of course, joined this process a little late, but over the past two years we have managed to achieve significant success, tangible for our citizens. And henceforth, the digitalization policy will be under my personal control. This is one of the main directions of my presidential activity.
As for the digitalization of the education system, it should be recognized that the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this process. We were forced to fully transfer the learning process to a distance learning format. Of course, our teachers did their job and the parents were forced to participate in this process.
We are all accustomed to the fact that the main responsibility for teaching and raising children falls on teachers.
Therefore, it is quite possible that this state of affairs may cause some discontent among some parents. After all, they, besides teaching the child, have other worries, household chores, work, for example.
Recently, I received information from the Minister of Education about the preparations for the new academic year. It is planned to start the first quarter of the academic year with distance learning, and then make a decision based on the real situation.
Nevertheless, I suggested to both the minister and the prime minister to carefully consider the possibility of teaching our first graders at school.
I think that distance learning for first graders will be difficult for both teachers and parents. Therefore, this issue is now being considered by the relevant authorities.
In general, the process of digitalization of the education sector will continue.
This year, the admission of graduates to universities was carried out on a distant basis. In my opinion, it was convenient for both parents and children.
There was no such thing that, as before, the parents of graduates from remote villages came with their children in a month.
Graduates avoided unnecessary expenses by being able to remotely submit documents to educational institutions in their chosen profession. The human factor was excluded. This is a very great achievement for our country. In addition, we will strengthen the digitalization of the healthcare system.
There are many plans, but now, amid a pandemic, the pace of their implementation has slowed down a bit. We will ensure that the digitalization process covers all areas providing public services to the population.
We must save our citizens from bureaucratic red tape when processing documents, for example, when obtaining a birth certificate for a child, when buying or registering real estate, etc. The human factor must be excluded. This, as I noted earlier, will receive special attention.
I would like to take a moment and mention another situation related to digitalization. We have also covered the system of selection of personnel for state and municipal services with digitalization.
At the beginning of the year, the Government and the State Personnel Service were assigned tasks in several areas and now, one might say, they have achieved their goals.
The introduction of this new competition system will begin on August 1, and now only the candidate who will receive the most points during testing will be nominated for the vacant position.
Our main goal is to eliminate nepotism in appointments.
“Cadres decide everything” - this was known before us.
It is no secret that some of the best personnel could not get into the civil service. So, our main task is as follows.
Specialists who have expressed a desire to take part in the selection process should be confident of success, relying on their capabilities, knowledge and experience. We must restore their faith in fair selection of personnel.
We need to attract ready-made professional, experienced and well-educated guys and girls to work in state and municipal bodies. Appropriate decisions have been taken to implement this reform, and it will achieve its goal.
- You have said several times before that the previously launched socio-economic projects will not be suspended amid a pandemic, despite the difficulties. The country's economy suffered huge losses. There is a deficit in the republican budget.
In such a situation, we say that entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses are the locomotive of the country's economy. Do you think the government pays enough attention to this sector?
- In the current difficult situation, a lot of work has been done to support entrepreneurship. I will not dwell on the details of fiscal and financial support for entrepreneurs. The government, relevant ministries constantly provide information, active work is underway.
I would like to especially note that a special program "Financing of Entrepreneurship Entities" has been approved. The total amount of funding for the program is planned to be at least 14 billion soms. And these are only plans for this year, for the initial stage.
In 2021, we will increase this amount to 40 billion soms. On this issue we are working with the relevant financial institutions. We will also raise funds from there. Within the framework of the program, the Ministry of Finance provided 2.2 billion soms to commercial banks.
Many people ask where these funds will be directed.
Within the framework of this program, special emphasis will be placed on the development of tourism, light and pharmaceutical industries, the sphere of transportation of goods, production and processing enterprises.
We will use these funds to create jobs, especially for exporting companies and enterprises that are engaged in import substitution.
Work in this direction will not stop, it will be under special control. To help the Government, I am also working to attract external sources of funding. We will form a fund to support our entrepreneurs and achieve our goal.
- The funds you are talking about, and which should be provided by the state, will be targeted for entrepreneurship? There is a certain distrust in the business sphere. Will it not turn out that the bureaucratic bureaucracy and nepotism will have a negative impact here too?
- On the one hand, there are some grounds for such fears. In 2019, for the first time, 2 billion soms were allocated from the republican budget. Particular emphasis was placed on supporting the export-oriented processing industry. But due to bureaucracy, only 534 million soms were issued, and the rest of the funds remained unused. Therefore, concerns are expressed.
I also touched on this issue, Deputy Prime Minister Erkin Asrandiev took control. This entire process must be controlled through banks. Entrepreneurs and businesses that create jobs, export and import substitution must have immediate access to these funds. The work is already being carried out under special control. Following the results of 7 months, we will return to this issue.
- Now the Government is carrying out organizational work to prepare for the winter. Repair work is underway at power facilities. However, a great danger is posed by a decrease in water volumes in the Toktogul reservoir. Is there a guarantee that we will not be left without electricity in winter?
- This problem is not only with us. Water scarcity is observed throughout the region. Last year, the snow in the mountains fell on average. We proceeded from the forecast that the water in Toktogulk will be about 17 billion cubic meters. But, unfortunately, "life takes precedence over conceived plans", it rains, sometimes it snows in the mountains, mountain glaciers do not melt, and in Toktogulka, as in other reservoirs of our republic, which are of international importance: Kirovskoe, Orto-Tokoiskoye, Papanskoe, we received a little water.
Most of the water comes in June and July. Compared to last year, now there is a shortage of 2.4 billion cubic meters of water. Let's wait for August, see how August starts, government agencies will act on this basis. Let's hope for the best.
But, the population will not be left without electricity and electricity. If we experience difficulties, measures will be taken to attract electricity from outside. We are calculating. Before that, we have our own capabilities. If the weather gets warmer and hotter, more water begins to flow, then there will be no need to buy electricity from the outside. God willing, we can go out on our own.
- Some human rights defenders in the country have made statements about Azimzhan Askarov, who recently passed away. This issue is treated differently ...
- Since 2010, this case has attracted the attention of the residents of Kyrgyzstan and the world community. Both parties applied to the courts of various instances. International standards have been followed. The rule of law should prevail in Kyrgyzstan. And it would be incorrect if I comment on court decisions.
Unfortunately, many of our citizens have died during the current pandemic. And these days Kurman Aita, I would like to once again express my condolences to all citizens who have lost their loved ones, whoever they are.
May the Almighty grant us his grace, may there always be peace and prosperity on our blessed land. Together with all the peoples of the world, we will defeat this disease. I wish goodness and peace to every home.
- Dear Mr. President, on behalf of the radio listeners, we thank you for the next conversation. We wish you every success.
- Thank you, and all the best and success to you.