The president of Turkmenistan has pledged to raise salaries and pensions and transform the country from an agrarian nation into an industrial one.
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov told a 2,500-strong audience of elders, ministers, and regional delegates in Turkmenbashi on the Caspian coast that salaries would be raised by 10 percent and pensions by 15 percent starting from next year.
He said he would use the country's gas wealth to push up living standards.
Turkmenistan will celebrate the 21st anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union on October 27.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts Turkmenistan will enjoy real GDP growth of about 8 percent in 2012-13, after a strong 14.7 percent rise in 2011 on the back of bigger gas exports to China and increased public investment.
Based on reporting by Reuters and ITAR-TASS