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Kazakh President Makes Development Forecasts

A shopper browsing at a market in Almaty (file photo) (RFE/RL) 31 October 2005 -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev today said that incomes in Kazakhstan will double by the year 2012.

"By 2012 Kazakhstan should become one of the world's top 10 exporters of oil and gas," Nazarbaev said. "Overall industrial production should double, and the oil-and-gas sector and the entire extractive industry will be the main donor in the realization of this task."

Nazarbaev made the predictions at the 21st congress of the Kazakh Trade Union Federation in the capital Astana. He said that salaries of government employees will also increase.

The Kazakh president also said that in the same period, spending in the science and education sectors is expected to triple.

Since the early 1990s, Kazakhstan has undergone a successful transformation into a market economy. While its economic reforms are often praised, Kazakhstan's leadership has been criticized for failing to hold fully democratic elections and not allowing adequate rights for its independent media.