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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08ASHGABAT390 2008-03-28 12:28:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

TURKMENISTAN'S RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOCUSES ON

Tags:   PGOV ECON TX 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ASHGABAT 000390 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB
TREASURY FOR BAKER/LANIER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN'S RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOCUSES ON
INFRASTRUCTURE, RATHER THAN EXPERTISE

REF: ASHGABAT 0201



1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.



2. (U) SUMMARY: The long-awaited National Program on Rural
Development finally became public in March 2008. The Government of
Turkmenistan plans to spend $3.661 billion on development in the
provinces between 2008-2020. Each province was allocated 15-16
trillion manats ($800 million), except for the oil-rich Balkan
region, which only got about half that amount. The program
specifies the sectors the government intends to focus on and the
activities to be undertaken. The education, water supply, and
electricity sectors received most of the funds. END SUMMARY.

PROGRAM ROLL OUT



3. (U) The National Program of the President of Turkmenistan on
reforming social/living conditions of the population of villages,
settlements, cities of districts and district centers for the period
of 2020 -- the official title of the program -- has been one of
President Berdimuhamedov's most important initiatives since his
inauguration. This program encompasses a broad range of social and
economic sectors, including education, healthcare, sports, water
supply, roads, electricity and gas supply, telecommunications, and
housing. First announced on April 2007, the National Program was
finally completed in March 2008. The total amount of funds
allocated for the program is 72,501 trillion manats ($3.661
billion). The total amount of funds is divided among Turkmenistan's
five provinces as follows:

Ahal 16.4 trillion manats ($828 million)
Balkan 8.8 trillion manats ($444 million)
Dashoguz 15.8 trillion manats ($798 million)
Lebap 15.3 trillion manats ($773 million)
Mary 16.2 trillion manats ($818 million).

Implementation will take place in three phases: I) 2008 - 2010, II)
2011 - 2015, III) 2016 - 2020. The program indicates the percentage
of funds to be spent for each phase in every region.

SECTOR DIVISION



4. (U) In addition to the division of the funds among the regions,
the program also oversees the distribution of funds among various
sectors:

-- HEALTHCARE ($74 million)

A total of 1.461 trillion manats ($74 million) is allocated to
improve the healthcare system in the regions. Mainly, the funds
will be directed towards constructing new hospitals, renovating
existing clinics and medical centers, and providing regional
ambulance services with sufficient vehicles, equipmen,t and means
of communication.

-- EDUCATION ($1.047 billion)

The education sector is receiving the most funds. A total of 20.74
trillion manats ($1.047 billion) will be divided almost equally
between schools and kindergartens. The primary areas targeted for
development in the education sector include modernizing and
strengthening the material-technical base of educational
establishments and organizing technological training. (NOTE: The
government has been keen to promote the multi-media, interactive
method of teaching and has set up high-tech equipment in a number of
schools in Ashgabat. END NOTE.)

-- CULTURE ($41 million)

The amount of funds allocated to the culture sector is 815.4 billion
manats ($41 million). The range of cultural activities includes

ASHGABAT 00000390 002 OF 003


preserving historic monuments, developing museums, organizing
cultural festivals, and establishing branches of art schools in
villages and settlements.

-- SPORTS ($332 million)

A total of 6.580 trillion manats ($332 million) will be directed
towards promoting physical education and sports in general. The
funds will be spread among building 212 sports schools and 180 sport
facilities as well as organizing annual sports competitions on the
district, provincial, and national levels.

-- WATER SUPPLY: ($570 million)

To improve water supply, the government has allocated 11.022
trillion manats ($570 million) -- the second-largest allocation,
behind the education sector. The scope of this work includes
building almost 23 thousand kilometers of water pipes and digging
vertical wells to provide drinking water as well as water for
agricultural purposes.

-- ROADS: ($321 million)

A total of 6.348 trillion manats ($321 million) will be spent to
improve Turkmenistan's roads under the National Program. Work in
this sector includes building new roads, and refurbishing existing
ones, with a total length of about 24,000 kilometers. In addition,
the program oversees renovation of the roads to production
facilities, such as grain barns, livestock farms, and production
brigades. An embassy contact has stated that a district in Dashoguz
region has already received its allocated funds of 17 billion manats
($2.72 million) to build roads in that district (reftel).

-- GAS SUPPLY: ($151 million)

The government plans to lay 2.999 trillion manats ($151 million) of
gas pipe in the outlying regions. According to the National
Program, the pipes will reach the most remote areas of the country
and "economically beneficial, efficient, and environmentally
friendly technologies" will be established. The total length of gas
pipe being built totals about 12,000 kilometers. (NOTE: During the
Cabinet of Ministers Meeting on February 2, Chairman of the
TurkmenGaz State Concern Kakayev reported that officials had
purchased various sizes of pipe, valued at $40 million, and had
delivered the first batch to the sites. END NOTE.)

-- ELECTRICITY: ($565 million)

To increase electricity supplies, the government plans to lay about
24,000 kilometers of power transmission lines for a total of 11.1847
trillion manats ($565 million). One of the main goals in this area
is to ensure provision of an uninterrupted supply of electricity.

-- TELECOMMUNICATIONS: ($43 million)

The goal in developing a telecommunications system is to provide
modern telephone communication and other information services. In
addition to installing telephone lines in villages, the program
foresees gradually transforming analog telephone stations to
digital. (NOTE: There are a handful of remote districts and villages
in the regions that still lack telephone service. There are also
some places that have only one or two telephones per village. END
NOTE.) The government allocated a total of 854.1 billion manats
($43 million) for this sector.

-- HOUSING: ($365 million)

The government has allocated 7.219 trillion manats ($365 million) to
develop the housing sector. The range of activities in this sector
includes allocating plots of land, assisting families with 10 or
more children to purchase and build houses, providing soft loans to

ASHGABAT 00000390 003 OF 003


newlyweds, constructing residential buildings, and renovating
existing residential buildings.

-- MUNICIPAL SERVICES: ($152 million)

For improvement of municipal services, the National Program has
appropriated 3.018 trillion manats ($152 million). The scope of
work involves establishment of sewage systems and organizing timely
collection of garbage. (NOTE: Only Ashgabat and a few other major
cities of Turkmenistan have sewage systems. People in districts and
villages pour wastewater into man-made wells. According to a
provincial contact, it may take as much as several weeks for the
local government to take garbage out from the wells; until then,
environmental contamination remains a problem. END NOTE.)



5. (SBU) COMMENT: Although Berdimuhamedov deserves credit for
recognizing the need to develop Turkmenistan's regions -- something
that was almost totally neglected under Niyazov -- he fails to spend
the $3.7 billion for the National Program in the most efficient and
needed form to develop the country. Building numberless new schools
and equipping them with the latest modern technology will not
produce graduates able to think on their feet and eventually assist
in their country's development. Moreover, simply setting up
thousands of kilometers of transmission lines, gas and water pipes
will not provide "uninterrupted supplies of electricity" or gas and
water, unless the governmentalso emphasizes regular maintenance and
invests in developing management teams to assist lower-level
government officials to deal with these problems. END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND