On February 21, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev criticized this government in a sweeping statement that cited failures to raise incomes or improve living standards. Nazarbayev said the government should resign and shortly thereafter the presidential office announced the appointment of an active prime minister.

“Under these conditions, as president and guarantor of the constitution, I am taking into account the interests of our people and making the following decision. I believe that the government should resign,” he said in a statement published on the presidential website and reportedly broadcast on television.

In the statement, Nazarbayev lamented that despite new laws and government efforts, positive results had not been achieved in several areas.  Crediting growth to “raw materials,” Nazarbayev said that the government and National Bank failed to create sufficient incentives to promote high-quality growth. Nazarbayev’s statement places blame squarely on the government, stressing that he issued instructions to improve incomes and quality of life but that members of the government, ministers and regional governors were inadequate in their efforts to listen to people’s problems and work with them to carry out the president’s policies.

In his statement, the president said that the new government “must work out effective steps to improve the standard of living, stimulate the economy and implement strategic objectives.”  The president reportedly plans to allocate money from the budget and the National Fund to new measures aimed at supporting low-income groups and boost regional development.

A separate statement released by the Kazakh president’s office says Askar Mamin, 53, the first deputy prime minister and a former head of national railways Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, was named interim prime minister.  He replaced Bakytzhan Sagintayev, who had been prime minister since September 2016.