Rural development programme of Turkmenistan: new approaches and requirements

The adoption of the new National Programme for the improvement of social and living conditions in villages, settlements, towns in districts and district centres for the period till 2020 by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the enlarged meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on February 20 is a new important step in promoting the sustainable and comprehensive development of Turkmenistan.

A major requisite for developing the new Programme is the analysis of the implementation findings and the projected activities in changing socioeconomic conditions, including intensification of domestic production through the introduction of advanced technologies and improvement of the standard of living, the quality requirements to construction work, etc.

During seven years since the adoption of the Programme, 832 social facilities had been put into operation, 4.5 million square metres of housing area had been built and dozens of thousands of kilometres of motor roads, water and gas supply lines, power transmission and telephone lines had been laid. Over US$ 6.5 billion were spent on the implementation of these projects.

The new Programme covers the period from 2015 to 2020, during which it is planned to build over 500 facilities, including about 3 million square metres of housing area and thousands of kilometres of infrastructure networks. It is planned to spend over US$ 7.5 billion to implement these projects.

The key areas of the Programme include housing construction and the development of transport infrastructure, health care and education sectors, culture, small businesses and agriculture. The Programme provides for the implementation of the investment projects of new industrial enterprises as the engines of industrial growth of the regions and the improvement of their innovation capacity.

It also provides for the construction of modern infrastructures, communications networks and roads in all settlements throughout the country. According to the State Committee for Statistics of Turkmenistan, 1.1 billion manats were spent in the health care sector, 6.3 billion manats – in the education sector and 2.9 billion manats – in the sports sector in accordance with the Programme. 2.4 billion manats were spent on construction of water supply networks, 1 billion manats – construction of sewage systems, 2.1 billion manats – construction of motor roads, 1.6 billion manats – construction of gas supply lines and 1.4 billion manats – construction of power transmission lines. 3.15 billion manats were spent on construction of apartment houses.

A total of 163 health care facilities, 57 cultural centres, 383 secondary and sports schools and 229 kindergartens were built over the past period. 12 hospitals, 25 medical centres, 75 kindergartens, 75 preschool institutions, 71 secondary schools, including 6 boarding schools, 25 cultural centres, 21 school sports, 11 sports facilities and 1.5 million square metres of housing area were put into operation in 2014.

The volume of investment spent under the rural development policy has risen 7.2 times since the Programme was launched. The volume of investment spent on construction of cultural centres rose 40 times! The volume of investment spent on the construction of hospitals rose 2.5 times, medical centres, kindergartens and schools – about 10 times, sports schools – 18.6 times, water supply networks – 7.8 times and motor roads – 11.5 times.

The volume of investment spent in the regions in 2014 as compared with 2008 rose 8.4 times in Ahal Province, 6.1 times in Balkan Province, 7.7 times in Dashoguz Province, 7.4 times in Lebap Province and 6.5 times in Mary Province.

Though vast amounts of funds allocated by the state for the development of rural areas are bringing tangible benefits, they should be even more significant as all the possibilities exist today for that.