Turkmenistan: President Calls Time on Welfare Benefits
The president of Turkmenistan has in a long-awaited move ordered an end to all state welfare benefits except to the most needy.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said at a meeting with finance sector official on June 6 that the “system of benefits has at the current time become utterly ineffectual.”
This is but the latest aspect of the economic crisis seeping into every aspect of life in the deeply authoritarian state.
Legislation providing Turkmenistan’s citizens with free electricity, gas, salt and water was first passed in 1993 and was designed to expire after 10 years. In 2003, the law was extended to 2020. In October 2006, two months before former President Saparmurat Niyazov died, the provision was yet again extended, to 2030.
Berdymukhamedov instructed deputy prime minister Byashimmyrat Hodjamammedov to take charge of the move.
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