Economy News in Brief

Kazakhstan’s trade with its two Customs Union (CU) partners Russia and Belarus exceeded $1.6 billion in January, a rise of 7.7 percent on January 2012, the Kazakhstan Statistics Agency said. The KSA said minerals accounted for 42.2 percent of exports to the other CU countries, metals and metal goods comprised 24.3 percent and chemical goods another 14.5 percent. Minerals were also Kazakhstan’s largest import from its CU partners.

Production of pharmaceuticals in Kazakhstan has almost trebled since the start of the State Programme of Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development (PAIID), the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies said. Pharmaceuticals are a priority sector in PAIID. The proramme has met the goal of half of pharmaceutical drugs used in the country to be produced domestically by next year. “This indicator was almost achieved in 2011 when 49 percent of pharmaceuticals were domestically produced. The value of pharmaceuticals produced domestically in 2012 came to 29.4 billion tenge ($190 million), almost three times greater than in 2008,” the ministry said. In 2012, 93 Kazakhstan companies exported 291.2 million tenge ($1.93 million) of pharmaceutical products to foreign markets.

The creation of a Kazakhstan, Russian and Belorussian integrated financial market within the Single Economic Space (SES) is planned for 2020, Eurasian Economic Commission Minister for Economy and Financial Policy Timur Suleimenov said at the 8th Kazakhstan’s financial forum, held on March 14. Suleimenov said the Eurasian Economic Commission was working with representatives from the three SES member countries on an agreement on financial market activity requirements to provide a basis for harmonizing different national laws on the subject. The process will proceed in three stages.

The retirement age for women will be raised by six months every year starting from Jan. 1, 2014, Minister of Labour and Social Security Serik Abdenov said on March 12. Over the next decade, the retirement age for women will rise from 58 to 63. In most countries, the retirement age is 65-67, irrespective of gender, Abdenov said. He said women accounted for 70 percent (1.253 million) retirees in Kazakhstan out of a total of 1.8 million people. However, women hold only 3.8 million individual retirement accounts, 45 percent of the total number and the average women’s pension savings is 25 percent lower than men’s. The gap in pension savings is caused by a shorter period for pension contributions as women retire earlier than men and gender pay differences.

Kazakhstan will revise its existing tax benefits this year. “In order to increase the role and effectiveness of tax incentives in the development of non-resource sector in 2013, the current tax benefits will be revised,” the government and National Bank said in their report on economic policy for 2013. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has instructed the government to audit all tax programmes to provide favorable taxation terms, especially in the fields of new technologies and industrialization.

Latest research from the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan has revealed that in schools which have adopted e-learning, the success rate of students has risen by 15%. Deputy Minister of Education Sayat Shayakhmetov said it had been planned to introduce e-learning in all schools by 2020. But with these latest figures showing that the gap is growing between students exposed to e-learning and those who are not, it is now planned to speed up this process so that e-learning will be available throughout the system of secondary education by 2016.

A committee for protection of financial services consumer’s rights has been set up at Kazakhstan National Bank on March 14. The committee will work to secure proper protection for the rights and interests of financial services consumers and services of micro-financial entities. Gulbanu Aimanbetova has been appointed as its chairperson.

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