593. The Naryn oblast occupies 22.6 percent of the whole territory with only 5.2 percent of the total population of the Republic. The low population density reflects the fact, that mountains occupy a major part of the territory. In 2001, the poverty level in the Naryn oblast fell by 9 percent, but it still remains the highest in the Republic, 70.4 percent; it is 22.8 percent higher than the average republican indicator. Poverty in the cities of the oblast is higher than in rural areas. Per capita income in 2001 increased by 16 percent and totaled 5,018.8 soms, but this is only half the average republican level. Weak development of the oblast, low living standards of the population, unfavorable natural and climate conditions require some radical measures to be taken for accelerated development of the oblast.
The whole territory of the Naryn oblast is located at more than 1,500 meters above the sea level. In this connection 37.2 percent of the oblast’s population enjoy various benefits connected with payments for electricity, gas, coal, utilities, public transportation. Many of them receive supplements to salaries and pensions for living in alpine areas, remote areas and those difficult for access. There is the privilege of earlier pension retirement. There are 34.7 percent of families in the oblast who receive a uniform monthly benefit allocated to the poor. As of July 1, 2002 “social passports” have been issued to 59,622 poor families.
594. Social Sphere and Social Mobilization
In 2001 and the fist half of 2002, the number of poor families has been reduced by 7.7 percent thanks to the social assistance provided within the framework of implementation of the regional program, Social Development of the Population till 2004. All state administration bodies, community and other organizations, provide assistance to poor families; micro-credits are extended to the very poor.
A method of social support, such as patronage of organizations, enterprises, and wealthy people over extremely poor families has been widespread. 300 poor families of Naryn cities are supported by the administration of the oblast, city enterprises, organizations, economic agents and sales outlets. Since the beginning of 2002, there were 125 charitable collections conducted in the oblast villages; the resources collected are allocated to support poor families in case of an urgent need.
At present there are 138 secondary schools in the oblast, which are attended by 67.2 thousand schoolchildren. In the last three years some school equipment has been procured at with the support of ADB financial assistance and the heating systems have been rehabilitated in 15 schools of the oblast. At the expense of the republican and local budgets, using the method of people’s construction activities “ashar”, as well as with the financial support of UNICEF and the ADB, 7 new schools and 8 additional buildings have been constructed with a capacity of 1 thousand schoolchildren. By the beginning of the 2002/2003 academic year, capital repairs will have been completed in 7 schools. Since the beginning of 2002, 4 schools have been constructed, funded by the Ministry of Ecology and Emergency Situations. At the same time there are 12 schools in need of emergency repairs and 48 schools require capital repairs. There is a shortage of textbooks and computer classrooms in schools.
The health care system of the oblast includes 5 hospitals, 6 FMCs, 45 GFPs, 69 FOSs. 8 FOPs out of 69 FOPs are in need of emergency repairs, 15 need capital repairs. Out of 45 premises, where the GFP are located, 4 are in an emergency condition, 17 require capital repairs. At the expense of grants provided by the Swiss Government, UNDP and the World Bank funds, 13 hospital buildings, 4 GFP offices have been refurbished in the oblast, including the Naryn Educational Center on Family Medicine. The repairs of 5 more buildings are currently being completed.
Access to pure drinking water is provided to 89.3 percent of inhabitants of the oblast. Under the project, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, it is planned to rehabilitate and construct water pipelines in 10 populated areas of the oblast. Public associations of potable water consumers have been established in 6 villages; after the construction is completed, they will provide for the maintenance of the water pipelines.
As of July 1, 2002, the number of unemployed citizens registered with the employment departments and seeking jobs was 11.3 thousand people, of which 72.6 percent had an official status of unemployed. During the first half of the current year 2,927 people have been provided with jobs and 123 people have been trained, 858 unemployed have been engaged in public paid works. The Inter-Rayon Center of Micro-Financing, local development funds, credit unions, KAFC all together allocated micro-credits totaling 11.3 million soms to 3,367 unemployed. Notwithstanding the measures undertaken in the labor market, the level of official unemployment was 7.3 percent, which is almost 2.5 times higher than the average republican level. It is obvious, that it is necessary to intensify the activities on SMEs, individual entrepreneurship in order to significantly change the situation.
595. Real Sector
The Naryn oblast produces 4.6 percent of the republican GDP. The share of industrial output of the oblast is only 1 percent of the republican volume. Industry of the oblast is mainly represented by 23 large enterprises producing electricity, foodstuffs, sewed and leather items and coal mining. One of the future directions for industry development is increase in coal production at the Ak-Ulak open-pit mine. In this regards, construction of the railway Balykchi-Kochkor-Kara-Keche is of great significance.
In 2001, out of 344 SMEs registered in the oblast, only 19 percent were operating, they produced 6.6 percent of the total volume of industrial output. Such a low level of activity of SMEs is indicative of the presence of significant problems, which shall be addressed in the near future when existing barriers will be eliminated. At the same time, entrepreneurial activities of the population, cooperatives, and private enterprises are widely developed in the oblast, their share in total industrial output being 38 percent.
Grains, potatoes, vegetables are grown in the agricultural sector. Development of plant growing in the oblast is possible by increasing the crop capacity, but in the long run it is limited by the natural and climate conditions, as well as by the small area of arable land. Given the availability of vast pastures, the most promising direction for development of the agricultural sector of the oblast is livestock breeding. The oblast has 11.9 percent of cattle, 16.5 percent of sheep and goats out of the total stock of the Republic. Growth in livestock breeding is possible by both increase in the cattle stock and improvement of production capacity. In 2001 as compared to 2000, the stock of cattle increased by 7.6 percent. At the same time, a real threat is being presented by a growing number of wolves that are significantly damaging livestock farming. The oblast has a favorable future for development of fishing at the Son-Kul Lake.
Cross-border trading with China and development of tourism, in particular, given the interest to the ancient Great Silk Road, are rather important for the Naryn oblast. In 2001, the Naryn oblast was visited by 2,500 tourists as a result of which the contribution to the budget from tourism activity increased.
Addressing of the problems existing in the Naryn oblast will be promoted by implementation of the regional Program, Social Development of the Population till 2004 Araket-Namys, the major objectives of which is creation of conditions for sustainable economic growth and reduction in the poverty level. Major priority areas till 2005 are the following:
· Increase access of the population to pure drinking water through rehabilitation and construction of water pipelines.
· Improve access and quality of educational and healthcare services by continuing reforms in these spheres, effective use of credits and grants for refurbishment of buildings, procurement of equipment and textbooks.
· Provide targeted assistance to poor families, completion of the issuance of social passports.
· Creation conditions for SME development, in particular in the area of processing of agricultural products.
· Develop tourism and tourist business.
· Take active measures in the labor market, promotion of new jobs creating, increase in the volume of micro-financing for the unemployed.
· Create conditions for increase in the stock of sheep and goats, cattle, horses, yaks, expansion of veterinary services in rural areas, taking measures on extermination of wolves.
· Create conducive conditions and attraction of direct investments for:
- further development of the Kara-Keche coal deposit;
- reconstruction of the At-Bashi HPP, rehabilitation of small HPPs, construction of new HPPs at the Naryn River; and
- construction of the railway Blykchi-Kochkor-Kara-Keche.