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Saparmurat Niyazov: "We Have Great Plans For the Future"

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Dear fellow countrymen!

The year of 2003 was a successful one for every family, every citizen of our country. The standard of people's living has grown considerably in the outgoing year. It was contributed to a certain extent by the twofold increase in wages on the eve of Turkmenistan's State Flag Day. Students' benefits and pensions have doubled at the same time.

We held a joint session of the 14th State Council of Elders of Turkmenistan, the Khalk Maslakhaty (the People's Council), the nationwide movement Galkynysh (Revival) in the month of Alp Arslan (August) in Turkmenbashi city. Representatives of all walks of life participated in its work and adopted a number of important decisions on the further strengthening of the foundation of the Turkmen state and long-awaited independence of the people, the further prosperity of Turkmenistan, including raising the standard of living of our citizens. The national program, «The strategy of economic, political, and cultural development of Turkmenistan until 2020», adopted at the meeting of the People's Council, provides for specific measures to develop all sectors of the national economy, build up the economic power of the state. Under the program the standards of living of people will increase twofold every five years.

The people of the country performed a great deal of well-organized selfless work in the name of the motherland's progress and the well-being of people in 2003. Due to this the economic potential of Turkmenistan grew, and its foundation strengthened. Every month of the outgoing year was marked by high growth rates in the economy and, as a result, the GDP grew by 23% in 2003. If our GDP was 66,000 bln manats in 2002, then we increased it to 82,000 bln manats in 2003. We have succeeded in every activity. Let me quote the results and high achievements in some sectors of the economy. Output of the main national resources of Turkmenistan, namely oil and natural gas, rose to 10 mln tons of oil and 60 bcm of gas respectively. In 2003 an 18-20% growth was achieved in power engineering, textile, foodstuff industries of the economy, agriculture and other sectors that enabled us to reach a desired level of development. On the whole, 2003 was a successful one for the Turkmen people. Our country has strengthened, our people's views have changed and their love of the motherland grew up. Lofty feelings, such as being proud of the homeland, of the nation and their culture, deepened in the souls of the young and elders, women and children, and pupils, thus transforming the meaning of the Turkmen state and Turkmen nation into a sacred idea. 2003 also left an impact on the destiny of every individual. Today, sitting at their generously served tables, our fellow countrymen and their families recall the most significant events of the past year and also make wishes for a better life and further successes for 2004. Let all the wishes of all families and every fellow realize.

Dear fellow countrymen!

Recently, the members of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan and leadership of the Cabinet of Ministers have drawn up specific tasks for 2004 to make Turkmenistan even stronger, God willing, and to make the economy grow by no less than 22%. If in 2003, which was favorable for us, we produced 80 bln. manats worth of production then in 2004 it will reach 100 and over bln manats. We have every potential for this. Oilmen plan to produce 15 mln tons of oil next year. God willing, they will successfully fulfill this noble task. New oil fields and deposits have been discovered. We have to put them into operation to use extra profits to the benefit of the people and state. Gas workers produced 60 bcm of gas in the outgoing year and plan to produce 78 bcm in 2004. I believe they can easily attain this result. We have found new markets for our gas and signed a number of agreements. We have enough valuable natural resources for domestic consumption as well as for external sales. Thus we can state with confidence that we will be able to ensure high growth rates in all sectors of the economy. God willing, the standard of living of the population will increase two times.

We expect a considerable growth in agriculture in future. We will hold a session of Khalk Maslakhaty in the month of Garashsyzlyk (October) of 2004 to discuss the reformation of the Turkmen village, the ways of enhancing lands productivity, the well-being of farmers and formation of true land owners. We will back up these plans by the relevant legislation to make our lands profitable. This Khalk Maslakhaty will adopt laws of state importance. We will also discuss taxes. Not everything is going smoothly there. If the private sector is experiencing some problems in this respect, we will reduce their tax burden. We will also reduce taxes in some state-owned sectors, which are not profit-makers. Thus we will have a balanced development of state-owned and private sectors.

In 2003 export revenues totaled $6 bln. God willing, we will make it $8 bln next year. A net profit of Turkmenistan from exports will amount to $2 bln. We will retain high growth rates in the capital construction in the New Year. The construction of the Turkmen lake as well as big water reservoir being jointly built with our Iranian brothers near Serakhs will continue. There will be commissioned a chemical fertilizer plant in Tejen, a paper mill in Ak Bugdai district, a cement plant in Bakharly district. With the help of God, in 2004 big power stations will be built in Ashgabat and Turkmenabat (former Charjou). Besides, funds will be channeled into the development of motor and railways and the civil aviation. It is provided that 27 bln manats will be allocated to strengthen the economy and state authority in Turkmenistan in 2004. One third of this amount will be spent on cultural-educational activities, science, and culture, building new museums, constructions of large socially important objects. As in previous years specific attention will be paid to residential housing construction. Highrisers will be built in all regions of Turkmenistan and Ashgabat. Cities and villages connected to a network of roads will become even more beautiful. A great job is being done in the framework of an experiment in Rukhabat district on the establishment of all social services, construction of the collector, water pipeline, uninterrupted supply of electricity, reconstruction and accomplishment of the streets. Eventually, it will have a more respectable look. God willing, we will expand this experiment to Geoktepe and Ak Bugdai districts in 2004.

With the blessing of God, we will produce 2 mln 200 thousand tons of cotton in 2004. Every year we hope for a good harvest but it has not happened so far. However, we will change our approach to this task. To fulfill this objective we will change both labor management and attitude towards land for it is our common asset. We will grow and harvest 2 mln 800 thousand tons of white wheat. God willing, we will have livestock of over 15m and over 2m cattle. All this wealth will contribute to multiplying the well-being of the population.

Dear fellow countrymen!

Our people most of all wish peace and brotherly relations with neighbors. We will take all measures to maintain peace in Turkmenistan, unity and consolidation of the people, a stable social-political situation. We have every condition for that. Our soldiers, border guards, security service, interior ministry officers protect freedom and security of every family and every citizen of the country.

We are committed to maintaining fraternal relations with foreign countries. Some 60 of 78 bcm of gas, which we plan to extract in 2004, will be sold to foreign countries produced in 2004. If we produce 15 mln tons of oil next year we will refine 8 mln tons of them domestically to produce gasoline, diesel fuel, lubricants, liquefied gas and other products. The remaining part is to be sold abroad. Thanks God, our trade relations with other countries dynamically grow and develop. There are plenty of customers. Our goods are in high demand and we are making timely payments for imported goods, thus maintaining mutually advantageous trade links.

We will keep political, economic, cultural relations with our neighbors - Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan. Friendly and brotherly relations have caused no harm to anyone. A poor peace is much better than a small quarrel.

Dear fellow countrymen!

Our country enjoys prosperity and lives in peace, so you should feel happy. Educate your children, raise them to be useful for the motherland, to be true patriots! The state covers the expenses related to education of youth in secondary and high schools and health care of the population. The state will contribute by all means to educational activity and will allocate enough funds for that. We have great plans for future. They all have been reflected in the adopted programs.

Today, on the eve of New Year, I sincerely thank all the people of Turkmenistan - workers and servicemen, farmers, scholars, teachers, students, elders, clergymen, mothers and fathers, all compatriots for tremendous work on the maintenance of peace and stability in the country and wholeheartedly congratulate them on the New Year. This is the success of the entire population of the Turkmen state. On the eve of the year 2004 I once again sincerely congratulate every family, every citizen of Turkmenistan on the New Year.

Let peace be in every district, town, region of Turkmenistan and the state as a whole! Let the life of our working people become wealthy and meaningful! Let our motherland prosper and progress! May Almighty bless our Turkmen state, Turkmen nation, Turkmen family and all ethnic groups living in Turkmenistan.

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