Economic news in brief

Kazakhstan’s Senate passed an amendment raising taxes on certain luxury goods, including alcohol, tobacco, cars with engine capacities over 4,000 cubic centimetres and real estate worth over US$1 million on Nov. 21. The amendment will affect hard liquor products, on which tax will rise from 500 tenge (about $3.25) to 1,000 tenge (about $6.55) in 2014, 1,200 tenge ($7.85) in 2015 and 1,600 tenge (about $10.45) in 2016. A bill to increase the tax on low-alcohol products will be considered in 2014. The excise tax on cigarettes will be raised 30 percent annually from 2014-2016. It is currently 3,000 tenge (about $19.60). Cars with engine capacities of 4,000-5,000 cubic centimetres will be taxed at 130 MCI (monthly calculated index), an index set annually by Kazakhstan’s government used to calculate welfare payments, fines and taxes. This year’s MCI is 1,731 tenge (about $11.30). Cars with engine capacities of more than 5,000 cubic centimetres will be taxed at 200 MCI. The tax will go into effect on cars purchased starting Jan. 1, 2014. Taxes on individual property valued at above 150 million tenge (about US$1 million) will triple. The bill is being presented to President Nursultan Nazarbayev and will come into force upon his signature.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev received Chairman of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Kairat Kelimbetov on Nov. 21, who reported on the activity of the National Bank and on prospective future avenues for the country’s banking sector. The president noted that an analysis of risks posed by current global economic conditions needs to be carried out and that it is necessary to ensure the stability of the main macroeconomic indicators in the currency market. The chairman of the national bank informed the president that key monetary policy indicators are in the ranges that they were expected to be. He also emphasised that in case of the emergence of risk in the financial markets or related fields, the national bank would flexibly correct the used instruments. Kelimbetov informed that as of October this year, inflation equaled 4.9 percent year-on-year. The country’s international reserves, including the assets of the National Fund have increased by 7.3 percent up to $92.4 billion since the beginning of the year. Kelimbetov also elaborated on the execution of the president’s instructions regarding transferring pension assets to the Unified Pension Savings Fund. It was also noted that the project would be completed by April 1, 2014. Upon completion of the meeting, the head of state gave a number of instructions on ensuring the stability of the financial system and preserving the pace of development of the nation’s economy.

Over the past three years, 18 thousand people joined the regional Employment Programme, Akim (Governor) of Almaty region, Ansar Mussakhanov said at a CCS press conference on Nov.22. “More than 7,000 people were trained and educated in courses focused on in-demand professions and over 4,000 people found work. More than 800 rural residents received micro credits and started businesses. In three localities, 50 individual houses and 3 apartment buildings were built in 2012. A total of 150 families were provided with the opportunity to move away from places with low economic potential. The total number of people that moved is 640; 310 of them are employable. Presently, 259 of them are employed. Also, 141 repair projects on public facilities and utilities infrastructure totaling 9.5 billion tenge (US$62.1 million) were implemented in 209 locations. This created more than 3.5 thousand jobs. As a result, the self-employed population shrank to 40 percent and the unemployment level dipped down to 4.8 percent,” Mussakhanov stated.

Mazhilis Speaker Nurlan Nigmatul in chaired a plenary session of the chamber on Nov. 13. Amendments to the Law “On the National Budget for 2013-2015” and legislative amendments regarding EXPO 2017 were approved at the session. As a result, additional funds totaling 100,137,816,000 tenge (US$655 million) were allocated to big investment projects in priority sectors of the economy. This includes 30 billion tenge (US$196 million) for the construction of the Zhezkazgan – Beineu railway, 30 billion tenge (US$196 million) for an increase of the share capital of Baiterek Holding and 20 billion tenge (US$131 million) for the preparation of EXPO 2017.