Turkmen leader orders government to diversify energy-dependent economy
The president of energy-rich Turkmenistan said in comments broadcast Saturday that his energy dependent country has been hit hard by low oil prices and he urged the government to diversify the economy.
In a rare admission of the exSoviet nation’s economic troubles, President Gurbanguly Berdy- mukhamedov said the country needed to boost earnings and urged officials to cut spending.
“The problems of the world economy have had a negative impact,” Berdymukhamedov told government officials at a cabinet meeting Friday, although the comments were only aired on state television Saturday.
“These difficulties are increasingly affecting our country, (and) to a certain extent are stifling economic growth.”
“In such conditions we are forced to transform our economic policies,” he told the cabinet meeting, urging officials to revise the state budget.
Efforts have been made to boost domestic industries not related to oil and gas, he said, adding that exports from these industries only amounted to US$1 billion.
He demanded that the government increase this figure to US$5 billion by 2020.
“Our country has rich reserves of natural resources,” Berdymukhamedov said.
“In this regard, I believe that we can create a lot of enterprises able to produce high-quality products no worse than the imported products we are now using hard currency to purchase.”
The government of the Central Asian country does not typically make public comments about the country’s economic problems.