Kazakhstan will boost foreign investment

Kazakhstan’s policy of openness to foreign investment remains central Asian republic’s strategic priority, president says Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Investors on February 22.

“As president of this country, I want to assure you that the open door policy for foreign investment remains our strategic priority. The state will fully fulfill its obligations and guarantees to our partners and investors,” Tokayev said, assuring investors that the tragic events of January had no effect on the country’s adherence to the market economy, the rule of law, respect for international and national commitments. . “On the contrary, it became a trigger for further improvements,” he argued.

Tokayev said the investigation was being carried out in strict accordance with international principles. However, he said the January events had brought a degree of uncertainty to investors.

During the online meeting attended by the leaders of the presidential administration, the government, representatives of state bodies, multinational and national companies, Tokayev shared with investors his plans for further transformation from the country. He said the rule of law and its equal application to all without exception will become a fundamental pillar of the new course.

“Now the main idea behind economic reforms is no longer abstract numbers of GDP growth and place in world rankings, but increasing the incomes and living standards of our people. Of course, this goal is not achievable without the formation of a new class of entrepreneurs as well as inflows of high-quality investments,” the Kazakh President said. Our promise to honest people and businesses to end patronage, elite vested interests and rights, corruption and oligopolies, will be fully implemented,” he added.

Addressing the Council members, Tokayev noted that their recommendations would be of great support for Kazakhstan and the course of ongoing reforms.

“I believe that you are no less interested in real reform of Kazakhstan and the emergence of greater economic freedom than domestic entrepreneurs. I therefore suggest that you take an active part in the transformation and renewal of the country’s economic life. By building together new fairer and more effective rules of the game, transparent and stable regulation, we can create a truly attractive investment climate. It is in our mutual interest,” Tokayev said.

He pointed out that the development of competition, the eradication of corruption, the construction of an efficient public administration and the cultivation of high quality human capital are mandatory components to achieve these goals. On this basis, he focused on a number of urgent tasks.

The basis for building a strong economy and a decent business climate is a fair and impartial judicial system, Tokayev said, adding that it should become the main guarantor of the legitimate interests and rights of investors. In the context of resolving investment disputes, the President called for the full use of the AIFC’s independent tribunal and the International Arbitration Center (IAC).

Also, developing fair competition is another important focus of the new course, he said.

“The historical dominance of oligopolies in key sectors of the economy has stifled the development of markets and industries. We are changing this situation decisively, both from a legislative and practical point of view. The law on the development of competition signed this year provides for important initiatives. This includes equal access for market players to limited resources, lowering barriers to market entry and eliminating the negative impact of monopolies in neighboring markets,” he said. he said, adding that an overhaul of the operations of the Samruk-Kazyna Fund is underway.

The Kazakh president also drew investors’ attention to Kazakhstan’s potential in the transport and logistics sector, noting that 83 percent of land transit traffic along the China-Europe corridor passes through Kazakhstan. “A large-scale Dostyk – Moiynty railway project will be implemented. This will increase the throughput capacity fivefold. The new branch of the Darbaza-Maktaral railway will boost the development of transit traffic from Russia to Central Asia. There are plans to build a high-speed railway between Turkestan – Shymkent – ​​Tashkent,” he said.

Green investments

Tokayev also highlighted the prospects for implementing investment projects in nuclear energy, green hydrogen and digitalization based on ESG principles. In addition, he stressed the importance of continuing work on the reform of the quasi-state sector, including privatization and IPOs of state enterprises and holdings.

At the same time, Tokayev spoke about the effectiveness of investment projects. “We know that currently, formalism and lengthy internal approval processes continue to exist at all stages of investment attraction. As a result, investors have to wait months or even years for the appropriate decisions to be made. Therefore, they simply postpone the implementation of investment projects or move to other countries. There are examples of international agreements being stalled in the offices of government agencies, delaying the ratification of agreements for many years. It was a problem in the past, and I think it is happening now, even if similar agreements are signed in a few months in other countries,” he said, calling for a clear and understandable algorithm for support investment projects.

Tokayev called the transformation of the national company KazakhExport an additional mechanism for supporting investors, which will now be able to subsidize loans to foreign buyers of domestic products, as well as guarantee export transactions.

He also addressed the issue of strengthening work on removing administrative barriers, improving regulatory and fiscal policies.

He instructed the government to improve the approaches to implementing the strategic investment agreement, making this document more flexible and freer.

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