Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has announced a major streamlining of the government, as well as the creation of a super-sized Energy Ministry.
Nazarbaev said at a cabinet meeting on August 6 that the number of ministries would be cut from 17 to 12, while the number of state committees will be decreased from 54 to 30.
Nazarbaev also announced the creation of a new Energy Ministry, as the country's economy suffers from the shutdown of the giant Kashagan oil field and the collapse of exports to Ukraine and sanctions-hit Russia.
Nazarbaev's close ally Vladimir Shkolnik, a two-time former energy minister, was named to head the former Oil and Gas Ministry, which has been combined with the Industry and New Technologies Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry.
Nazarbaev said that "it is time to concentrate the entire energy sector in the hands of one person."
Until August 6, Shkolnik was in charge of the national uranium company KazAtomProm.
Former Oil and Gas Minister Uzaqbai Qarabalin will now serve as Shkolnik's first deputy in the new ministry, while Environmental Protection Minister Nurlan Qapparov will head KazAtomProm.
In addition, the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the State Agency for Communications and Informatics, and the National Space Agency have been merged into another giant body -- the Ministry of Investments and Development.
Aset Isekeshev, who led the liquidated Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, was named to head the new ministry.
The ministries of health and social protection were merged into one ministry, to be led by the former minister of social protection, Tamara Duisenova.
Kazakhstan’s Financial Police was dissolved and its functions transferred to the Agency of State Service and Anticorruption Efforts. Kazakh Security Council Secretary Qairat Qozhamzharov was named as the agency's chief.
The Emergency Situations Ministry was also closed and its duties transferred to the Interior Ministry.
Nazarbaev explained all of the changes by saying it was a "necessity to have an effective and compact government."
With reporting by KazTAG, Kazinform, and Reuters