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№ 19 (63) October 2007
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Until 2010, the Government of Tajikistan intends to reduce the number of poor in the country by one quarter. In connection with this decision, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the country has developed a program "Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) for the period 2007-2009." This program was presented at a consultative meeting of donors on Tajikistan, which was held in early June of this year.

In the nineties of the last century, Tajikistan was among the eight poorest countries in the world. This was facilitated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the civil war, which lasted for 5 years. As a result of these events, the national economy was practically destroyed, and unemployment reached its peak. The low standard of living and the same unemployment led to the fact that a part of the republic's able-bodied population left their homes in search of earnings in other countries of the former empire. This process continues until their pores.

In 1999, the World Bank (WB) monitored and identified data on the number of citizens living below the poverty line. The monitoring was carried out according to the following method: if a person’s income per day does not exceed $ 2, then he is considered poor. Then, according to the WB, the number of poor in the country was 83% of the republic’s population, while the population of the country is 7 million.

In 2001, the Government of the Republic for the first time developed the Poverty Reduction Strategy Program, and in 2003, a donor meeting was organized in Tajikistan, where this issue was central. The outcome of the meeting was a decision to provide assistance to the republic in the amount of $ 900 million.

According to some of the promised amount of donors, over the next three years more than $ 600 million were spent. However, according to experts, they did not produce effective results.

Based on this, at the beginning of this year, the government of the republic refused to offer the International Monetary Fund to allocate funds in the amount of $ 50 million to solve the problem of reducing the number of poor in the country over the next three years.

In 2005, according to the international financial institutions, the number of poor fell to 64%, but these figures were not official. Moreover, the method by which the World Bank conducted a study twice, based on the purchasing power parity of citizens, does not fully reveal the picture of poverty in the country. In addition, the situation is complicated by the fact that the official “consumer basket” has not been approved in the country, especially since, ideally, such measurements should be carried out continuously throughout the year for the same families.

According to sociologist Firuz Saidov, poverty indicators may change over time and new research on the level of poverty is necessary.

The new program to reduce poverty for the period 2007-2009, which is presented to donors, provides for reducing the number of poor in the country to 32%. Currently, the number of poor in the country is 57% of the population. The implementation of this program will require $ 5 billion. This includes loans, direct investments, grants, which will be directed to the development of the economy, the creation of new production facilities and jobs. Already, $ 2.2 billion, or 49%, sources of financing have been identified. In particular, the government’s share in the implementation of this program will be $ 339 million and $ 1.2 billion is projected to be raised through investments. "Uncovered" remains 51% of the planned amount.

Presenting these programs, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Gulomdzhon Boboev argues that the problem of reducing the number of poor for Tajikistan has a priority direction. For the first time, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Program was developed for the period 2001–2006. Taking into account stable economic development, the number of poor decreased from 83% to 57%. For the implementation of the new program “Strategies ...” a National Development Council will be created under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, which will include representatives of the country's government, parliament and civil society. In addition, a Council Secretariat will be created, whose task will be to analyze the implementation of the PRS. The Council will also include representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and the public expert and methodological Council.

International financial institutions and donors insist that the government of the republic pay special attention to the allocation of sufficient funds for the growth of industrial production capacity, which will create jobs and resolve labor migration issues. Donors believe that the number of Tajik labor migrants is increasing year after year and this has negative consequences for the health of the nation.

According to Saidov, in the time remaining until the target date (that is, until 2010), it is extremely difficult to reduce the number of poor people by a quarter. “Even in the case of resolving issues of settling labor migration, it will take 10-15 years to develop agriculture, as well as implement large energy projects and access to electricity for the population,” he said.

According to independent economist Rustam Babadzhanov, most of the current year’s budget is officially aimed at supporting the social sphere. This is a landmark step that confirms that the republic nevertheless pays great attention to the "social sphere". Of course, the economic sphere, in particular, the development of energy and transport, is not forgotten, but for these programs the government takes preferential and long-term loans from partners, donors and international financial institutions, which should ensure a certain development.

“The allocation of large funds to the social sector is due to the fact that the government is responsible for its people. The problems of the transition period, which so far exist, of course, affect the population, in particular, in the low standard of living, low income and so on. Therefore, the government through the budget is trying to protect the population as much as possible, ”says Babadzhanov.

The draft 2007 budget for the development of the social sphere provided about $ 321 million, or 33.5% of total expenditures, including $ 280 million or 49.5% of budget expenditures from the state budget. The education system will be financed at $ 147 million, with a growth of 104.2%, and $ 51 million for health care, with an increase of 158.3% compared with 2006. The increase in funds for the social sphere is due to the fact that the state policy in the coming years is aimed at improving the lives of the population and reducing the number of poor in the country.

According to electronic media in the rest of Central Asia, the number of citizens living below the poverty line is from 20 to 28% of the population. All countries in the region signed the Millennium Declaration, which defines the Millennium Development Goals. The number one goal is to halve the number of poor people by 2015. Some countries in the region intend to solve this problem by increasing funding to the social sector from the state budget. Most of all, people with disabilities, pensioners and people in rural areas live below the poverty line.


The notorious former Deputy Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Daniyar Usenov assured that all the talk of poverty in Kyrgyzstan is almost a myth. Also all the other officials think. They make such conclusions based on the fact that Kyrgyzstan owns shares of $ 400 million from the Canadian company Centerra, which is developing the Kumtor gold mine. On the basis of these actions, a certain Development Fund of the country is created, which should subsidize the development of medium and small businesses in Kyrgyzstan. The same opinion is shared by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). More than half of government revenues or exports of Kyrgyzstan are mineral resources.

Such an expert conclusion completely refutes the myth of the country's poverty. Representing the state in such a way is beneficial for corrupt officials who strongly oppose the transparency of economic activities in the country's mining industry - IMF experts say. Thus, the average annual export of gold now amounts to 40.5% or 13.2% of GDP. Only one gold mining enterprise, Kumtor Operating Company, provides within the industry about 90% of all mineral products, experts at the Bishkek Consensus Economic Policy Institute said. The new government and IMF experts directly link the level of poverty in the country with the reserves of natural resources in Kyrgyzstan.

Experts from the Institute of Central Asia and the Caucasus adhere to the same optimistic picture of the development of the situation. Within the Silk Road Research Program at the Hopkins Universities (USA) and Uppsala (Sweden), they prepared a report: “The Economy of Central Asia: Cartography of Future Prospects until 2015”. According to their data, by 2015, the overall level of poverty in the region will drop to 25.1% of its total population. In particular, in Tajikistan - up to 33.2%, in Turkmenistan - up to 21.9%, in Kazakhstan - up to 19.7% and in Uzbekistan - up to 17.8%. According to forecasts, the highest real GDP growth can be expected in Uzbekistan - up to 7% per year. According to the authors of the report, this indicator for Central Asian countries from 2008 to 2015 will be on average 5% per year, and the per capita GDP will increase from $ 889 to about $ 2,000.

Precisely such optimistic forecasts about poverty reduction were made by the former authorities. The former head of state, Askar Akayev, in an interview with the Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta in 2000, said: “In 1998, 56% of the population of Kyrgyzstan lived in poverty, of which 24% were in poverty. Today, we have 47% of the poor and 16% of the poorest. If we keep this dynamic for five to eight years, the poverty threshold will disappear. ” In other words, the fact that citizens of Kyrgyzstan do not live in boxes from under TVs or refrigerators gives local authorities, regardless of political orientation, a reason to assert that there are no poor people in the country, and even more so beggars.

Maybe this is why the country's government has opened a certain fund to which citizens of the country voluntarily-compulsory must donate their hard-earned money in order to reduce the state’s debt burden. All this prednitsya as a manifestation of patriotism and civic consciousness. That's right, there are no poor and beggars in Kyrgyzstan, so everyone can throw off the dollar to pay off the government’s debts over the past fifteen years.

If the government of the country determines the level of poverty by reserves of gold deposits, then the citizens themselves determine this level by the availability of bread, meat and butter in the daily diet. And a lot of other things that are essential in everyday life. The authorities are probably “not aware” that the level of poverty and poverty of the population can be estimated by the level of emergence of spontaneous towns around the wholesale markets where people live by themselves. This is the so-called "Shanghai-towns." Their inhabitants live in wooden houses, containers, or in abandoned garages. The number of these spontaneous towns gradually increases. They turn into a “state in a state” with their own laws and constitution. The overwhelming majority of the residents of such “Shanghai towns” are peasants impoverished as a result of government reforms, since according to official statistics, 66% of the country's population is made up of rural residents. It is on this data that one can imagine the extent of the problem.

According to the research of scientists of Kyrgyzstan devoted to the determination of the level of poverty in the country in the face of declining real incomes of the population, the structure of consumption has changed significantly. Compared with 1990, currently the population of the republic consumes 62% less meat products, 61% less dairy products, 25% less vegetables and melons. The energy value of the daily diet is 1872.9 kilocalories per day against 2370.5 - in 1990. This is a critical feature, below which it is impossible to fall - on the assurances of physicians the consumption of calories below 2000 per day leads to depletion of the body. Therefore, female and children's anemia in Kyrgyzstan is almost like a flu, not to mention tuberculosis.

Experts of the Center for Corporate Technologies, who conducted a study of the poverty level in Kyrgyzstan in the late nineties, concluded that the so-called “Soviet” methods for determining poverty still exist in the country. State calculations in determining the minimum wage were based on the so-called “consumer basket”. By the way, since 1998, the cost of the minimum consumer basket has increased almost 700 times compared with 1990. These results served as a basis for setting targets and developing a poverty policy. The concept of "poverty", in itself, in most cases is not used. This state of affairs lasted until 1996. The first analysis and monitoring of this issue in the Kyrgyz Republic was conducted with the assistance of the World Bank. The collected results were the basis for further regular monitoring and distribution of research results throughout the state.

Poverty continues to prevail in the agricultural regions of the country, where low-income families make up 80% of the total population. The most vulnerable category of residents among whom there is a high level of poverty is the age group from 30 to 50 years. The highest poverty rates are in rural families, where the breadwinner is 60 years old or more - 56% of the total number of impoverished families. The lowest poverty rates are observed in families with young breadwinners. Among impoverished families are dominated by families where there are children under the age of 15 years - 60%. As with the rest of the world, financial difficulties exacerbate poverty in families with many children. Poverty tends to “reproduce” - children who grow up in poor families are less likely to break the poverty cycle, according to UNDP experts in Kyrgyzstan.

In regional and other small polyclinics in administrative centers (note, not in the villages) there are not enough doctors and nurses, because no one is eager to work for $ 30 a month, while a piece of land of several hundred square meters already costs thousands of dollars. or when a two-room apartment costs up to $ 100 thousand. And, in general, for reference: when a kilogram of meat costs 3 dollars in Kyrgyzstan today, an air ticket on the Bishkek-Osh route is 60 dollars, a vacation on the shore of a mountain lake costs up to five hundred dollars per person per week.
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