The president of Turkmenistan has fired two ministers responsible for the economy and trade and also the head of the tax service.

The dismissals, reported Saturday by the state newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan, come as the economy of the gas-exporting Central Asian nation shows signs of struggling amid falling global energy prices.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov also backed a proposal floated last year to scrap the free provision of electricity, household gas and water to Turkmen households. He said the free utilities are no longer economically justified, hinder the transition to a market economy and cause an additional burden on the state budget.

The officials who lost their jobs are Economy and Development Minister Eldash Sheripov, Trade and Foreign Economic Relations Minister Bayar Abayev and head of the tax service Shatlyk Khummedov.