02/01/2023, 09.06
Send to a friend

Bishkek intensifies fight against poverty

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Extended €1,000 subsidy plan per disadvantaged family. Recipients can use the sum to start a business and become self-employed. The model is China's. However, waste is feared: many Kyrgyz only want the money without participating in work activities.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Kyrgyzstan has decided to take strong measures to combat poverty at a time of severe economic crisis, also looking to the example of Chinese policies.

A subsidy of 100 thousand som (about 1,000 euros) will be distributed to 10 thousand needy families in 2023: the goal is to create an independent source of income. Last year a similar policy reached 2,800 families, and according to the authorities it proved very effective.

Kyrgyz economists and businessmen warn, however, that in order to truly give continuity to these projects, it is necessary to elevate the financial knowledge of citizens to prevent these funds from being wasted.

Various uplifting examples are cited in the local press, such as that of Almaz, a citizen of Biškek who managed to open a small business last year thanks to a grant called the "Social Contract."

As Almaz tells it, "We were already receiving a little monthly aid, but they told us that we could have 100 thousand som at once, without having the subsidy anymore, so I started buying fruits and vegetables and selling them in the markets, and I did quite well."

The money is tied to the business initiative: a business plan must be submitted, with the help of a special office, and if it works out you can get a new loan after three years, even doubling it to 200 thousand som with benefits in credit installments and opening a dedicated bank account.

Another inhabitant of the capital, Stalbek Isakov, with the money he received bought himself a Honda Civic in installments and started working as a taxi driver, greatly raising his standard of living: "After my wife's death I was left with two minor children and unemployed; I went through the whole rigmarole through 4-5 commissions, now I manage to pay the installments and have enough left to feed the whole family."

The Social Contract is offered to those already receiving survival benefits, which are suspended to stimulate work activities.

The pilot project was activated in 2021, with UN support, helping 50 families in the poor regions of Džumgal and Kadamžaj, and then became a stable government measure last July 15.

According to data from the Ministry of Labor, 58 percent of the subsidy recipients engaged in agriculture, 24 percent in industry, 10 percent in services, and 7 percent threw themselves into small business.

The director of the department, NargizaTurkebekova, explained that "we pay great attention to the implementation of initiatives, down to the preparation of feed and veterinary visits for those who bought productive livestock."

Prime Minister Akylbek Žaparov announced that these programs will go ahead and be expanded, committing more than a billion of the state budget, with adjustments borrowed from the example of China, which carefully digitizes all data of the assisted and monitors poverty conditions with more detailed and personalized parameters.

"In China, much attention is paid to orphans, lonely people and pensioners, offering renovations and heating in homes, technologies for daily life. The authorities link these measures to the granting of the productive subsidy to one of the family members, which many are able to enjoy," the premier explained.

One group of beneficiaries of state support is women from the Nurluu kayrjmduu kyzdar association of young women entrepreneurs, which since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic has begun to help destitute people unable to defend themselves against the disease.

Chairwoman Inaat Nimatova warns that to make state aid truly effective, efforts must be made to train citizens: "In an orphanage in the Čujsky region, we placed 10 sewing machines and recommended that those in charge supervise the orphans around the clock. We stimulated them to learn a trade for life, but it did not work, most people just want to get free aid and do not want to make any effort to participate in social and work activities."

Yet women entrepreneurs assure that there are jobs: at least 5 thousand in the textile sector, if only "we could avoid throwing money invested to the wind."

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Growing unemployment in the Philippines, also due to corruption and waste
Beijing: record unemployment, spending on welfare up 256% in one year
24/08/2022 19:41
More and more villages ban the sale and consumption of alcohol
11/02/2017 15:20
Church leads the way in helping Vietnam cope with its educational emergency
11/03/2016 17:00
Competition over textile quotas threatens hundreds of millions of jobs


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”