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Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago

[17.09.2OO2] Excerpts from the interview with M. Kerimkulov, Mayor of Bishkek

According to the official data more than 780 thousand people are registered as Bishkek residents. However due to migration, the real population of the capital is over a million. The greater part of newcomers settles in the outskirts, in the newly built-up areas. At the present time there are more than 100 thousand residents in the 24 newly built-up areas of Bishkek. As a rule, these new residents face employment problems, which results in the low living standards.
Poverty level in the capital is twice as low as overall throughout the country. A program on annual 5% reduction of poverty level among the capital residents is adopted and in progress. Every 5th resident of the capital is registered with the social security institutions, which totals to about 180 thousand people eligible for more than 40 types of social assistance.
There are 60-70 mln. soms set aside in the city budget to assist low-income residents annually
2002 budget is socially oriented: almost 54% of the funds have been directed for Social Security, Education and Medicare purposes. About 65% of 2003 budget will supposedly be directed for development of the social sphere
Local budget along with externally borrowed funds are used to finance reconstruction and rehabilitation of city highways. 10 mln. soms is provided annually for city highway maintenance.
Bishkek is a capital of the Republic and a business center. A greater share of investment, about 60% of the total amount, is concentrated here. However it is not sufficient for further development of urban economy.
There are an infinite number of problems that need immediate attention in the capital. In the recent decades, urban facilities, such as electricity supply network, heating system, water-pipe system, refuse collection and snow removal equipment, elevator system, residential fund, street lighting and public transportation systems have been barely renewed. There fore additional internal investment reserves are of extreme importance for the capital. We support municipality and distribute funds for its development. For instance we are constructing a new trolley-bus line along the Ahunbaev Street to Jal and Ak-Orgo microdistricts.
Budget funds along with grant financial assistance from the foreign donors are invested into development and reconstruction of urban transportation, water supply and heating systems
At the present time installation of electric kitchen ovens is completed in Jal. 20 mln. soms were invested in the project. The works will be continued in 2003 with planned expenditures of 20-25 mln. soms. A domestic investor JSC Severelectro is involved in the program as well. The company carries out works on increasing capacities of feeding electricity networks and replacing transformers at its own expense
Slovo Kyrgyzstana, September 17, 2002

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