INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT - STATE PRIORITY
An exhibition of Turkmenistan's economic achievements held in Ashgabat in September 2018 on the eve of Independence Day clearly demonstrated the chief objective of development of the national economy. This is about introduction of cutting-edge technologies and innovative development through the adoption of best international and national practices.
The exhibition primarily aimed to present the growing potential of the Turkmen economy, industrial diversification, innovative development of key industries and operation of new high-tech enterprises, a qualitatively new level of import substitution and enhanced export opportunities for the national industry. All these aspects were expressly displayed on more than one hundred stands at the exhibition.
The exhibition demonstrated the pace of development of all relevant spheres of the economy, such as oil and gas, petrochemistry, energy and industry, construction and building materials, transport and communications, textile production and carpet weaving, chemical industry, agro-industrial complex, medical industry, education and sports.
The exhibition presented high-tech equipment, modern construction and finishing materials, computer and communication capacities, achievements in the food industry, successes in solving the environmental issues, development of sports and tourism, scientific, as well as human and cultural potential.
The fuel and energy complex, being a strategic sector of the country's economy, was represented by export and import-substituting products manufactured by the industrial giants such as the Turkmenbashi complex of oil refineries and the recently commissioned Garabogazkarbamid plant for production of urea from natural gas.
The first combined-cycle power plant with the capacity of 1574 MW, which was commissioned this September, is one of the recent achievements of the energy industry. The plant was erected in Mary province. It has four General Electric (USA) gas turbines with the capacity of 263.5 MW each, two steam turbines with the capacity of 260 MW each and other high-tech equipment. The plant boasts cutting-edge technologies that make it possible to combine the use of gas and steam to generate electricity.
The State Committee on Television, Radio Broadcasting and Cinematography of Turkmenistan presented an interactive media project about the international rally Amul-Hazar 2018. Using this application on a smartphone and virtual reality glasses, users can plunge themselves into the atmosphere of the actual rally raid that ran through the Karakum desert and find themselves in place of famous crew pilots.
Visitors were no less interested in viewing the sports outfit used by the President of Turkmenistan at the initial stage of the rally, as well as the Africa Eco Race special award that Jean-Louis Schlesser handed to the head of state in recognition of high quality organization of the rally raid.
Entrepreneurs and commodity producers demonstrated their capacities in various fields, starting from the agricultural and food industry to construction of residential buildings, modern industrial enterprises, construction materials, etc.
The growth dynamics of the Turkmen construction industry and its achievements were most fully illustrated at the exhibition stands of the industry-related departments and largest enterprises producing facing stone, cement, bricks, panel blocks, non-metallic building materials as well as pipes, fittings and channels, finishing and paintwork, facing and insulation materials, plumbing and electrical products that are used in great quantities in construction of new buildings.
Ensuring high-quality and affordable transport services for the population is an important component of the successful development of the country's economy. The stands of the ministries of road and rail transport presented the innovative solutions in the field of electronic booking and purchase of tickets.
"The innovative development of the country's national economy, diversification of industry, building up the capacity of the national economy, steady increase in the standard of living of the people, strengthening its positions in the global economic space are the priority of the state policy," the President of Turkmenistan said in his message to the exhibition participants. "We are proud of the ongoing large-scale transformations in our country, new facilities, high quality services and products manufactured by modern enterprises with cutting-edge technological equipment."
According to economists, Turkmenistan's small and medium-sized businesses have increased investment activities in the sphere of agriculture and industrial production. For example, over 1015 enterprises under the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan operate in the agro-industrial complex. They produce a variety of agricultural and food products for domestic consumption and exports.
The industrial sector accounts for 597 private enterprises, including those manufacturing construction materials, chemicals, textiles, carpets, furniture, faience, glass products, as well as metal, polyethylene and plastic products. Turkmen entrepreneurs satisfy the country's domestic demand for these products, while exporting the surpluses. For example, exports of these products over seven months of the current year increased by 68.7 percent year-on-year.
The economy of Turkmenistan is gradually being transformed into a non-raw-material producing economy through development of processing industries and establishment of new high-tech enterprises, whose products are competitive in the foreign markets. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov made a statement in this regard this September at the coastal city of Garabogaz at the ceremony of commissioning of a new carbamide plant with the annual capacity of 1.155 million tons of urea. This plant will help Turkmenistan to increase exports of mineral fertilizers.
The diversification of Turkmenistan's industrial output based on the deep processing of local natural resources also influenced the diversification of exports, in which new export products improved their positions. For example, in the first half of 2018, exports of cement increased more than 8 times year-on-year, exports of sulfur increased 2.3 times, exports of wool, iodine, vegetable oil and textile materials also increased significantly. In 2018, the range of exported products featured new items such as construction fittings, glass and glassware.
The national economy reorientation from the raw material course to an innovative type of economy is supported by the active development of industrial infrastructure in all the regions of the country through establishment of large-scale industrial clusters. At the same time, the government supports the private sector by providing it with preferential terms, loans and investments. For example, Turkmen businessmen started construction of a mining and processing plant at the Tyubegatan potash salt deposit in the east of the country. The project is financed through a credit worth USD 600 million for 11 years with a three percent annual interest rate and a four-year grace period.
Turkmen businessmen also promote innovations in the food industry. Two new plants were put into operation in the east of Ashgabat this September. One of them is for processing and pasteurization of milk, and the other is for canning of fruits and vegetables. These facilities expanded the production infrastructure of the individual enterprise "Parakhat", helping to set up production of natural juices that literally forced foreign brands out of the local shops. These juices were awarded the gold medal at the All-Russian Agro-Industrial Exhibition "Golden Autumn."
In accordance with the Program of Industrial Development until 2030, Turkmenistan is expected to build several new modern gas and oil refineries. Construction of such industrial facilities is one of the key factors of the further development of the country's economy, improvement of its technological security, expansion and diversification of markets for hydrocarbon products and stimulation of development of virtually all sectors of the national economy.
Turkmen and Japanese specialists have worked out a plan for construction of new industrial enterprises fitted with cutting-edge technologies that will process natural gas for production of polypropylene, polyethylene, caustic soda, polyvinyl chloride, acrylic fiber, gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and other gas-chemical products, in total 17 types of products.
Overall, there will be built 10 facilities, including big gas processing complexes in Kiyanly settlement in Balkan province, in Dashoguz province, at the Turkmenbashi complex of oil refineries and the Galkynysh gas field as part of the third stage of its development.
And the first industrial facilities of the new petrochemical industry of Turkmenistan already come into operation. In fact, while we were composing this issue, a gas chemical complex for production of polyethylene and polypropylene from natural gas was commissioned in Balkan province on October 17. This is the first-of-its-kind plant in the region that will annually process 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas and produce 381 thousand tons of high-density polyethylene, 81 thousand tons of polypropylene and other products.
This plant will use modern technologies that are known for deep purification of raw material to remove impurities. As a result, the plant will produce environmentally friendly products in compliance with international standards.
In December this year, a big plant on production of gasoline from natural gas is expected to be put into operation in the town of Ovadandepe, 30 kilometers from Ashgabat. The plant is being built by the consortium of companies from Japan and Turkey under a contract with Turkmengaz State Concern. It will be fitted with state-of-the-art equipment from foreign manufacturers and the technology from Danish company Haldor Topse. It will process 1.785 billion cubic meters of natural gas and produce 600 thousand tons of gasoline annually in accordance with the environmental requirements of Euro-5 standard. It will also produce 12 thousand tons of diesel fuel and 115 thousand tons of liquefied gas per year.
Speaking at the first meeting of Khalk Maslakhaty (People's Council) this September, the President of Turkmenistan noted that the draft state budget for 2019 would provide for maintaining invariably high rates of economic growth due to the intensive development of industries and diversification of the economy, implementation of large-scale and particularly important investment projects of international and regional importance.