President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev held a meeting on social and economic development of Astana and the preparations for the international specialized exhibition EXPO 2017. According to the press service of Akorda, urgent issues and prospects for the development of the capital as well as organizational aspects of the international exhibition were discussed.
The President of Kazakhstan noted the importance of the upcoming EXPO 2017 exhibition for the country and people, drawing attention to careful preparation for the reception of foreign guests and tourists from all regions of Kazakhstan.
"We have reached the final stage of preparation, a lot of work has been done, the capital must be ready to meet a large number of guests. It is necessary to prepare the infrastructure, hotels, cultural facilities, city services", - Nazarbayev said.
He stressed that Astana should become one of the best cities in the world, convenient and comfortable for people's lives. In this regard, the President gave a number of instructions for the further development of the capital.
"It is necessary to introduce modern digital technologies in all areas of urban management and the government should define Astana as the main platform for the introduction of digital technologies. On my request, an international technology park for IT start-ups will be established on the territory of EXPO", - the Kazakh leader said.
The President of Kazakhstan also instructed to develop the city following the example of Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and create a financial and business hub on the scale of the Eurasian space on the basis of Astana.
"Today 2,700 foreign companies work in Astana. They invested about 3.2 billion US dollars in the city economy but the opportunities are not fully used. The potential of the special economic zone of Astana is poorly involved. By 2030, the population could grow by another one million people. This creates another task of providing productive employment through the creation of new permanent jobs", - Nazarbayev instructed.
The President separately touched upon the issue of housing sector development and instructed the government to deal with queues for houses on the expenses of the state housing fund.
"The city needs to keep the annual amount of houses put in operation at a level of at least 2 million square meters per year. It is necessary to intensify the work on the demolition of illegal buildings, the use of 15,000 garden plots that should not even exist in accordance with the Astana city General Plan. I instruct the akim of Astana to make proposals on the compact development of the capital", - the President of Kazakhstan said.
In addition, Nazarbayev noted the growth of the "shadow" house rental market, the problem of co-investors and drew attention to the need for modern transport infrastructure.
"Astana has a significant potential to become a tourist center and I instruct the government together with akims to take measures to develop the capital's tourism", - the President of Kazakhstan said.
The head of state pointed to the insufficient work to provide the capital with food.
"Vegetable stores built in the city, the communal market, a network of shopping pavilions are not loaded enough: two of the eight vegetable stores do not work whereas the rest are loaded by a quarter. Over the past two years import food to Astana alone cost over 42 billion tenge. In most cases, these are products that we can produce ourselves. All this means that the work to provide Astana with food is essentially a failure, "Nazarbayev said.
He focused on the preparation of the city for the international exhibition EXPO 2017 and set priorities for JSC "NC "Astana EXPO-2017" and the government.
"The construction of most facilities is completed and ready for operation. Construction works of the New Congress Center and the hotel are still in progress. It is necessary to ensure their timely delivery. The impression of the guests will come from the moment they arrive at the airport and train stations. The airports of Almaty, Karaganda and Kokshetau, as alternates, should also be ready for meeting the guests", - the president said.
Nazarbayev mentioned the need to organize a roadside service for tourists who arrive by car.
The president also focused on the organization of cultural and mass events and significant events during the exhibition, information work, safety of guests and residents of the capital and also inquired about the readiness of volunteers to meet guests.
"As for the content of the pavilions, not all the participating countries have approved their projects of expositions. I instruct EXPO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to speed up the process of content filling by all foreign participants. Kazakhstan pavilion will also be in the spotlight. 28 domestic developments have been selected including projects of our universities. It is important that our exhibits will not be inferior to the international ones", - Nazarbayev emphasized.
Astana akim Aset Isekeshev, chairman of the board of JSC "NC "Astana Expo-2017" Akhmetzhan Yesimov, Energy minister Kanat Bozumbayev and minister of internal affairs Kalmukhambet Kasymov also spoke at the meeting.
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