World News

One in five Kazakhs seek state aid over coronavirus emergency

ALMATY (Reuters) – Some 3.7 million Kazakhs, or 20% of the oil-exporting Central Asian nation’s population, have applied for financial aid offered by the government because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the cabinet said on Monday.

Out of those applications, about 1.8 million have already been approved, labour minister Birzhan Nurymbetov told a briefing.

The Nur-Sultan government has offered to pay 42,500 tenge (about $100) per month to every citizen who loses their source of income during the emergency period, which began on March 16 and is expected to last at least until the end of April.

The authorities have locked down all provinces as well as several major cities where they also ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down.

Under its $10 billion stimulus plan, the government plans to create hundreds of thousands of temporary jobs by launching infrastructure maintenance and construction projects.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)