New opportunities for Baltic companies in Central Asia

  • 2019-09-05
  • Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Lithuania

So far, at the beginning of this week new President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev delivered his first State of the Nation Address.

The speech emphasised his goal of having a strong president, an influential parliament, and an accountable government. It reflected the government’s continued focus on reducing inequality in Kazakhstan and improving Kazakh citizens’ quality of life.

While much of President Tokayev’s speech prioritised domestic reforms, their realization suggest wider possibilities for foreign partners of Kazakhstan. Since Baltic business has long traditions and its own success stories in Kazakhstan it might be interesting to look more thoroughly on what Tokayev has said.

We bring forward the domestic reforms what can lead to possible joint projects:

- Supporting agriculture – The amount of irrigated land in Kazakhstan must be gradually increased to 3 million hectares by 2030, ensuring agricultural production grows by 4.5 times.

- Improving Kazakhstan’s clean water and sanitation infrastructure – Inequality in access to clean drinking water, natural gas and transportation will be addressed. Over the next three years, the government will allocate around 250 billion tenge ($535 million) to provide citizens with clean drinking water and sanitation.

- Modernising the tax system – The modernisation of the tax system should focus on the more equitable distribution of the national income, and the government will ban all payments and fees that are not found in the tax code.

- Completion of the Saryarka natural gas pipeline – The first phase of the Saryarka gas pipeline is nearing completion, and work will begin on distribution networks, with 56 billion ($120 million) tenge allocated for this. This will ensure more than 2.7 million people have access to natural gas.

- Implementing the Nurly Zhol programme – The government will continue to implement the plan to develop and modernise roads, railways, ports, digital infrastructure, education and the civil service, investing more than 1.2 trillion tenge ($3 billion) by 2022.

- Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises – From January 2020, there will be a three-year ban on inspections of micro and small businesses, and the government will explore mechanisms to develop a legal basis for stopping micro and small businesses from paying taxes on their main activities for three years.

- Developing the healthcare system – On 1 January 2020, Kazakhstan will launch a system of compulsory social health insurance, and more than 2.8 trillion tenge ($7.2 billion) will be allocated for financing a guaranteed amount of free medical care. An additional 2.3 tenge ($6 billion) will be allocated for the development of the health system.

- Increasing the provision of housing – The government should develop a unified model for housing development, based on the principle of increasing the affordability and modernity of housing, especially for socially vulnerable aspects of the population.

Kazakhstan has created the most favourable environment for foreign investments in the region including Astana International Finance Centre run on common English law.

More on country’s insight and Kazakh-Lithuanian relations may be found in Interview with Ambassador of Kazakhstan Mr. Viktor Temirbayev in our latest summer-autumn release of TBT journal.