Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has vowed to spend tens of billions of dollars to prop up the country’s oil-and-gas sector, which has been hurt by low global prices and falling demand from Russia.
"In the next seven years, we will make investments of 240 billion manats. In the oil-and-gas complex, we will invest 159 billion manats," Berdymukhamedov said.
He was speaking on October 9 at a meeting of the Council of Elders, an unelected body that offers no real check on the powers of the authoritarian Turkmen leader.
Sitting on the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves, Turkmenistan has become dependent on energy sales to China after Russian halted purchases of Turkmen gas in 2016.
Berdymukhammedov also promised that Turkmenistan would soon start producing electric cars in a bid to diversify the country's heavily hydrocarbon-dependant economy.
Berdymukhammedov said he would boost government revenues by cutting state subsidies that had been introduced by his predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov.
Berdymukhammedov said "the time has come to save and use state funds effectively."
The subsidies introduced in the 1990s effectively granted citizens of the repressive ex-Soviet republic free gas, water, and electricity.