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Local Gov’t Barely Copes with Unemployment

October 11 2012, 15:56

Collage: WKT designAccording to the oblast employment department, for the year to date, 5,300 people have been released just from Karabatan. Another 2,900 will be reduced by the end of the year. Half of them live in Atyrau Oblast.

Employment of jobless after the end of construction in Karabatan and Kashagan is the most critical issue for the local government today. Big hopes were put in the construction of an aromatic hydrocarbon production complex at Atyrau Refinery and Future Growth Project at Tengiz. Unfortunately, things are going otherwise. In the first case a contractor came with its own workforce, including China nationals (Sinopec). The proportion of local staff isn’t high there. Partly because local employees are low paid and have poor living conditions in local subcontractor companies. Owing to this, last week, employees from Shymkent working for Southern group of companies, which is involved in the construction of an aromatic hydrocarbon production complex, didn’t show up for work. In May, similarly, a group of people from the East Kazakhstan Oblast came out to strike. In both cases, people claimed they would leave as soon as they get paid.

Apparently, FGP will get all the required approvals. In return, Kazakh businesses will take part in TCO procurements and orders for construction of modules will be placed with Kazakh plants and shipyards. But FGP is still at a design phase, given that we need jobs here now. Couple of years ago, Agip KCO reps had promised vacancies at the construction of branch railway line in Karabatan. Atyrau government planned to employ there 4,000 workers released from Karabatan. But the tender on construction of railway overpass extended for no good reason. Our sources said it has been twice delayed. Allegedly it is intentionally being delayed until the moment a certain contractor (a Kazakh company) gets ready to perform the project.

On the sidelines of the Investment Forum in Aktau, the NCOC External Relations Director Pierre Delpont confessed that the contract wasn’t signed yet:

- We are considering this project as an option for sulfur export. As per procedure we receive tender proposals from service companies first and then these are considered by a relevant agency. Agip KCO deals with the project. I can only say the contract has not been signed yet.

By Laura Suleimenova 

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