MOSCOW (AP) — Kazakhstan’s president has fired the government over what he calls a failure to raise living standards and diversify away from oil and gas in the Central Asian nation.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled since the country became independent after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, says on the presidential website he will soon propose “a range of measures to strengthen social welfare and raise people’s quality of life.”

Nazarbayev says the focus will be on more support for the poor, improving living conditions and regional development. Poor families, he says, are seeing stagnant incomes and spending more of their earnings on food.

The announcement follows a wave of protests by Kazakh women calling for more financial support for children and safer housing after a fire in which five children died.