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Turkmen Leader Dismisses Economic Officials

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (file photo)

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has sacked his economy and trade ministers as well as the top taxman.

Economy and Development Minister Yaldesh Sheripov, Trade and Foreign Economic Relations Minister Bayar Abayev, and the chairman of the tax service, Shatlyk Khummedov, were dismissed on April 9.

Berdymukhammedov cited "serious shortcomings" in their work.

The dismissals come as economic growth in the gas-exporting nation has slowed and exports have fallen.

The Central Asian nation's gross domestic product growth slowed to 6.3 percent in the first quarter from 10.0 percent a year earlier, Berdymukhammedov told a government meeting on April 8.

Currently China is Ashgabat's leading buyer of natural gas while Russian firm Gazprom announced at the beginning of the year that it had ceased importing gas from the country.

The World Bank expects full-year economic growth in the former Soviet republic to slow to 5.0 percent in 2016 from 6.5 percent a year earlier.

In 2013 and 2014, Turkmenistan's gross domestic product had grown at double-digit rates.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP