Business news in brief

President Nursultan Nazarbayev toured the Tau-Ken Altyn Gold Refinery in Astana on Dec. 20 as well as Kazakhstan Aselsan Engineering, a Kazakh-Turkish enterprise that produces electronic and optical devices. During his visit to the gold refinery, the head of state inspected production lines, viewed sample products and talked to staff. The main area of the plant’s focus is the electrochemical refining of precious metals. The enterprise has an area of 3.4 hectares and is located at the Astana – New City Industrial Park Special Economic Zone. The factory is expected to produce 25 tons of refined gold a year, which could be increased to 75 tons thanks to the introduction of innovative technologies. The project incorporates the ways of the best practices worldwide. In touring the joint Kazakh-Turkish shops, Nazarbayev laid special emphasis on the importance of creating similar high-tech factories in Kazakhstan. Moreover, during the visit, Mayor of Astana Imangali Tasmagambetov discussed current events at the industrial park. Overall, 49 projects are being carried out at the park with a total volume of investments reaching 181 billion tenge (US$1.2 billion), 11 of them are  currently functioning, 8 are being launched and the rest (30) are being developed. Kazakhstan Aselsan Engineering was established in 2011 in accordance with an agreement between the President of Kazakhstan and the President of Turkey. It is planned to increase Kazakhstan’s share in the enterprise from 30 percent at the initial stage to 67 percent in the near future.

There are currently 36,000 small- and medium-sized businesses in the Kostanay region. It is worth noting that the number of people employed in this sector increased by 1.9 percent compared to last year to a grand total of 134,455 people. Thus, the share of people employed in SMEs is 15.5 percent of the employed population and 25.4 percent of the economically active population. This year, SME entities produced goods and services worth 313.271 million tenge (US$2 million). The state entity that issues business loans contributes to the development of the SME sector. As of October 1, second tier banks extended credits totalling 37.656 million tenge (US$245,000). Non-banking credit institutions, such as rural credit associations and micro-crediting organisations are active in the region.

Kostanay region is in fifth place nationally for providing housing, the Akim (Governor) of Kostanay region, Nuraly Saduakasov said at a CCS media briefing on Dec. 19. “Investments in housing construction are increasing year by year and this year, the amount of investments totalled 14 billion tenge (US$91 million),” the akim told. The head of the region also talked about the implementation of the Affordable Housing Programme. “More than 4 billion tenge (US$26 million) was allocated to the programme this year. Approximately 212,400 square metres of housing was commissioned. This is 3.7 percent more than last year. However, the issue of housing affordability still remains relevant despite all the measures that have been taken,” Saduakasov noted. “More than 17,000 people are on the akimat’s housing waiting list. Over 50 percent of these people are from vulnerable social groups. Therefore, we need to increase the amount of housing commissioned per year to a minimum of 300,000 square metres,” Saduakasov stated.