Kyrgyzstan’s technical government , which replaced its interim predecessor, has set goals for its first 100 days.
“First of all, we need to think about public safety,” said Cholpon Nogoibayeva, head of the anti-crisis group that helped develop the 100-day plan.
“In order for people to feel safe, the internal affairs agencies need reform,” agreed Constitutional Assembly Secretariat Chief Daniyar Narynbayev.
Then-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev called for such reforms in 2005, but they went unfinished.
Interior Ministry personnel need retraining, reformers argue. The 52 OSCE police consultants arriving in August might offer some help.
However, when the plan was introduced to the government, President Roza Otunbayeva gave this issue last priority on the agenda.
“We have clearly seen that the entire law enforcement system needs reform, purification and reinforcement”, she said, adding that Interior Minister Kubatbek Baibolov was suited to lead a comprehensive police reform.
Baibolov declined to comment, saying ministry reform has just begun.
The highest priority for Otunbayeva on the 100-day plan is the rehabilitation of regions affected by the recent unrest.
“We are talking about providing housing to those who lost theirs before the cold weather comes and, of course, about restoring what was destroyed in Bishkek, Talas and, most especially, in the cities and communities of Osh and Dzalal-Abad oblasts”, she said.
The first steps are under way. Otunbayeva and the Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) agreed in July to create an aid foundation with several OSCE countries, including Kazakhstan, as members. The amount of aid remains undisclosed.
“We are appropriating money from the state budget, and we are hoping for donors,” said former interim finance minister Temir Sariyev. Rebuilding Osh and Dzhalal-Abad alone will require at least US $500m, he estimated.
Economist Jumakadyr Akeneyev put the total needed at US $1 billion. He and Sariyev estimated the reconstruction would take 5-10 years.
Kyrgyzstan is counting not only on donors, but also on investment, technical First Deputy Prime Minister Amangeldy Muraliyev told Central Asia Online. “Otunbayeva challenged us to develop a set of measures to attract investment into the country.”
In explaining the need for economic rejuvenation, Otunbayeva said, “The Bakiyev clan literally brought the economy to rock bottom.”
The anti-crisis group suggested reducing the number and frequency of business inspections. Otunbayeva agreed.
“We need to abandon nationalisation; its legality is questionable,” Nogoibayeva said. That suggestion, though, did not make it into the 100-day plan.
Otunbayeva also directed the technical government to examine whether Kyrgyzstan should join the Belarusian-Kazakhstani-Russian Customs Union. She previously supported membership.
Otunbayeva did not mince words about the fiscal situation. She called it “catastrophic”, saying, “We have no income and soaring costs”.
Kyrgyz budget analysts have been failures in recent years, political scientist Jolbors Jorobekov said. “For example, the 2007 budget was adopted only at the end of April 2007. The technical government will not manage to write up a budget for next year in a few months.”
By omitting the anti-crisis group’s plans for total reform of the state administration from the 100-day plan, Otunbayeva missed a chance to at least begin working on a remedy, said administrative reform Sheradil Baktygulov.
“We have to start working on the staffing configuration of state institutions. Duplicate ministerial functions, staffing problems and lack of young people all show badly on the state,” said Presidential Administration Director Emil Kaptagayev.
These problems can exacerbate the government’s challenges, Baktygulov said. “It appears that the problem with public administration in Kyrgyzstan is that it has several templates overlaying it: the Soviet top-down model, Kyrgyz traditions in the government and the more modern democratic model.”
Otunbayeva expressed concern at the prospect of a cold and hungry winter.
“How well-equipped are we for harvest time in the villages and for sowing of winter crops?” she asked. “We need to figure out what awaits us in our city and regional finances … what the condition of our power plants is and whether they will make it through winter … how our coal reserves are faring.”
The most basic need is food as Kyrgyzstan has no tangible state reserves, according to officials who discovered only empty granaries after the April 7 uprising.
Time for addressing all those problems is short. The technical government has a built-in termination date of October 10, when parliamentary elections are scheduled.