N.Nazarbayev: International reserves of Kazakhstan exceed $90 bn
Under the leadership of President Nursultan Nazarbayev Astana has hosted the 31st plenary meeting of the Foreign Investors Council (FIC). More than 300 delegates from Kazakhstan and foreign countries, including 35 international companies, as well as heads of state bodies, national companies and organizations took part in it. Read about issues that discussed at this year’s meeting in the review material of Strategy2050.kz.
ASTANA CITY06 June , 12:06
It should be noted that 30 plenary sessions were held under the chairmanship of the Head of State, which discussed a wide range of issues, including improving the legal regime for foreign investments in the country, improving the judicial system of Kazakhstan, optimizing the taxation system and attracting foreign labor, improving the investment image of Kazakhstan, the energy of the future, as well as a number of other issues.
This year there have been three issues on the agenda. The first was a report on the execution of protocol instructions of the 30th plenary meeting of the council. The second one was the recommendations of the foreign side to the council on the implementation of investment policy, energy, environment and oil and gas industry, labor legislation, development of human capital and attraction of foreign labor. And also the main issue of the plenary session was the accelerated modernization.
Opening the plenary session, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev thanked the foreign investors for their contribution to the development of country’s economy.
“In the difficult years there was the acquisition of our independence, through the crisis of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the southeast crisis, the financial crisis of 2007. Kazakhstan has not allowed a recession, thanks to the reserves that it had, thanks to the fact that we made decisions. But there are enough problems, we have enough mistakes and shortcomings”, the Head of State said.
According to him, the index of investments from abroad is higher in the country than in many other countries.
“Most importantly, I can say that for investments per resident Kazakhstan has a figure higher than the world average, and 2 times higher than in developing countries. Thanks to this, Kazakhstan is developing today, we have new programs. We have done a great job, and it’s thanks to all of you”, N. Nazarbayev thanked.
The President noted that in difficult times Kazakhstan was very much helped by investors’ advice.
“You advised us in difficult years, we followed your advice and together made decisions on fighting corruption, bad work of bureaucracy, correcting our legislation. Without you it would be difficult to do – your vast experience has served us enormously. The council is an important platform for discussing the most important issues of country’s economy. I want to express my gratitude to all of you – our partners for all these years of teamwork”, the Head of State concluded.
Further, Nursultan Nazarbayev introduced new members of the Foreign Investors Council.
“I present new board members who have replaced their colleagues in connection with personnel changes. The new members of the council are Neil Duffin, the President at ExxonMobil Production Company, Andrei Belyaninov, the Chairman of the Eurasian Development Bank, Marco Mariotti, the President of Eastern Europe Region at Philip Morris International, Inc., Shigeru Yamazoe, Director, Marubeni Corporation”, the Head of State said.
Ablai Myrzakhmetov, Chairman of the Board of “Atameken”, was also included in the council.
Speaking at the plenary session of the FIC, Minister for Investment and Development of Kazakhstan Zhenis Kassymbek informed about the implementation of the instructions of the 30th plenary meeting of the FIC. The last meeting was devoted to the issues of new energy.
He recalled that the Government of Kazakhstan had 15 instructions of the President given at the previous meeting.
According to the Minister, firstly, the Law on Electricity was enacted in July 2017, which provides the provision of the right to industrial groups to build their own renewable energy facilities in exchange for their obligations to buy renewable energy.
“For these projects, this year, for the first time, international auctions are held with a total capacity of 1 gigawatts. Investors from such countries as Germany, France, the United States, Japan and others are showing interest in the development of renewable energy sources in Kazakhstan”, he said.
Secondly, an International Center for Green Technologies and Investments has been established on the territory of EXPO, the function of which is to finance projects, which, together with the AIFC, attracts investments in “green” projects.
Also, the Government together with foreign investors carried out a lot of work. In particular, specific measures have been developed to improve procedures for attracting foreign labor, as well as regulations in the field of environmental protection.
The recommendation on disclosing the concept of “technologically unavoidable combustion of gas” was adopted and set out in the Code “On Subsoil and Subsoil Use”.
Work continues on the implementation of recommendations regarding the decriminalization of tax violations and currency regulation.
“Thanks to your industrial policy, the manufacturing industry has become attractive to investors. In 2017 every fourth dollar invested in the economy of Kazakhstan falls on the manufacturing industry”, he stressed.
The Minister said that constant work is done to create favorable conditions for investors, taking into account the OECD standards and the best international practices.
First, the investment climate has been significantly improved. In June 2017, Kazakhstan became an associate member of the Investment Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“Over the past 6 years, we have seriously changed our legislation in accordance with OECD standards: we simplified the permitting system, improved legislation in the fields of taxation, customs control, migration and visa regime, and others”, he said.
Secondly, new approaches to attracting investments aimed at increasing efficiency were adopted. A full-fledged system of interaction between all government agencies and organizations, embassies and regions has been built.
“Kazakh Invest” National Company implements the function of a “single negotiator” on behalf of the Government with targeted transnational companies and large investors, and ensures the implementation of investment projects and the timely resolution of all emerging issues”, he concluded.
Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan Timur Suleimenov shared his forecast on GDP growth in 2018.
“In 2017, 4% GDP growth was secured, our plans and forecasts for the current year also expect growth approximately 4%. The target corridor expects inflation of 6.2%, the unemployment rate remains low and it is 4.9%. As for the qualitative changes in the structure of the economy, we can note the following: for the period from 2010 to 2017, largely reflecting the change in the world technological order, the share of services in the structure of our GDP has increased from 52% to 58%”, he said at the plenary session of the Foreign Investors Council.
T. Suleimenov voiced five principles, which, in his opinion, will help move to a new economic model.
“We believe that the transition to a new economic model requires the following basic principles from the state, business and society: ubiquitous orientation to productivity and quality, technological orientation of people, enterprises and industries, competition as a catalyst for growth, the predominant role of the private sector, balanced regional development”, the Minister listed.
“In order to achieve our goal of joining top 30 by 2050, in the period until 2025, we need to ensure GDP growth per capita at parity from the current 26 thousand dollars per person to 46.1 thousand”, T. Suleimenov added.
Head of the office of the Eurasian Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Kazakhstan Agris Preimanis made recommendations on the development of our country’s economy and attracting investors.
“Allow me to provide the following recommendations. To continue work to improve the quality of human capital in accordance with the Address of the Head of State and the third modernization of Kazakhstan “Global Competitiveness”, especially with regard to the professionalization of work on personnel using advanced world experience. As for foreign companies, and for local companies, the lack of quality labor remains one of the key barriers to business development in the country”, A. Preimanis said.
Secondly, according to him, it is necessary to develop a new environmental code and to exempt those who paid penalties and taxes voluntarily from criminal liability.
He also recommended considering the issue of maintaining the current regime of currency regulation in relation to branches and representation of foreign legal entities in accordance with the current legislation of Kazakhstan.
Concluding the meeting of the Foreign Investors Council, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that Kazakhstan’s international reserves exceeded 90 billion dollars. This, in turn, is the basis for creating the second economy, solving infrastructure problems and improving the social well-being of our people.
Nursultan Nazarbayev mentioned that Kazakhstan has risen from 64th to 36th place in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking over the past ten years.
“In a short time we built our new capital, for the first time in history the Kazakhs chose a place and an opportunity to build their capital. This city admires all our guests today, and Kazakhstanis are very proud of it. It has grown up before our eyes, from scratch in the wide steppe. This year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary. A wonderful million-city appeared in the country, which is also a point of economic growth”, Nursultan Nazarbayev summed up.
The Head of Kazakhstan also proposed the subject of the next meeting of the FIC.
“I propose the theme of the next meeting to be defined as “Development of human capital”. I think that this topic will be very timely for us”, the President said.
The next meeting, on the proposal of Nursultan Nazarbayev, will be held on June 6, 2019 in Astana.
It should be noted that this year the Council celebrates its 20th anniversary since its inception. Over the years, about 300 billion dollars of foreign direct investment was attracted to Kazakhstan. In 2017, the inflow of foreign direct investment amounted to 20.8 billion dollars.
For reference: The Council was established in 1998 to provide direct dialogue between the government of Kazakhstan and foreign investors for effective solution of problematic issues related to their investment activities in the country and improvement of the investment climate in Kazakhstan. The FIC includes the heads of 35 large multinational foreign companies and international organizations.
Source: Kazakhstan 2050