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Kazakh President Replaces Finance Minister With Aide in Shakeup

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev named his deputy chief of staff as finance minister and deputy premier after faulting the government for its shortcomings on spending policy and fighting the shadow economy.

Bakhyt Sultanov will replace Bolat Zhamishev as finance minister, according to a statement on the Kazakh presidential website. Zhamishev will in turn become regional development minister in the place of Bakytzhan Sagintayev, who will serve as first deputy prime minister, according to the website.

Nazarbayev, who has ruled the central Asian nation since 1989, is shuffling top officials weeks after appointing a new Senate speaker, the next in line should the president step down. Kairat Kelimbetov, a deputy prime minister, replaced Grigori Marchenko as central bank governor on Oct. 1.

Speaking on Oct. 11, Nazarbayev called on the government to improve budget planning and execution as economic conditions deteriorate. Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov yesterday reprimanded deputies at government ministries, including the finance and regional development ministries, stressing “the need for quality and timely implementation of the president’s orders.”

Kazakhstan is the world’s largest uranium supplier and the second-largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia.

“The problem is that ministerial teams come and go, while the situation in many areas of development doesn’t change,” Kazakhstanskaya Pravda, the government’s newspaper of record, said in a Nov. 2 opinion piece. “Success will belong to whomever approaches state programs and strategy with greater responsibility before history and future generations.”

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