Business news in brief

French IVECO BUS company and Kazakhstan Astana LRT signed an agreement in February on the delivery of 350 natural gas powered IVECO buses to Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Currently, about 700,000 people travel by bus in Astana every day, but the existing municipal bus fleet needs about 400 more busses to meet the city’s demand. “The factory is located in France; Astana has bought 350 buses for the city,” Talgat Ardan, chairman of the board of Astana LRT said. These cutting edge vehicles have been adapted for Astana’s harsh winter conditions and come with a full set of service applications. The 350 vehicles procured by the contract include 270 12-metre buses and 80 18-metre buses. Both of these models are high-capacity vehicles. “We will provide the most advanced natural gas fuel busses,” Pierre Lahutte, president of IVECO BUS company said. Passengers will enjoy first-class comfort, quality and safety. There will be an entrance ramp, places for handicapped people and an information system. “The same buses are used in France,” Lahutte added. Two hundred buses will be delivered by August and 150 more by October. This will allow significant improvements to passenger transportation and help improve the ecological situation in the city.

In Almaty region, 30 investment projects totalling 26.5 billion tenge (US$143.1 million) will be implemented this year. According to the Akim (governor) of the Almaty region Ansar Musakhanov, gross agricultural output reached 381.5 billion tenge (US$2.06 billion). The planted acreage for agricultural crops totaled 910,900 thousand hectares. Thanks to new technologies, the volume of production of many agricultural crops increased. Figures show that 1.15 million tonnes of grain crops have been produced, including 389,500 tonnes of corn and 57,500 tonnes of rice. The number of all types of livestock and poultry also increased. Statistics read that 312,300 tonnes of meat has been produced, as well as 670,000 tonnes of milk and 8,000 tonnes of wool. A total of 115 farms for 5,600 thousand heads of cattle have been built under the Sabyga Programme, feed yards for 4,600 heads of cattle have also been built as part of this programme; also 3,300 heads of foreign cattle have been purchased. A total of 30 investment projects totalling 26.5 billion tenge (US$143.1 million) are being implemented around Almaty under the Food Belt Programme. Nine of them totalling 7.8 billion (US$47 million) tenge were launched in 2013.

The National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan launched a unique online project called the Register of Problems for Entrepreneurial Support on Feb. 19. The updated website of the National Chamber was also presented. This project is also to be launched on the chamber website. Deputy Chairman of the Board of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Gulnar Kurbanbayeva and developer of the project, director of the chamber IT department Nurlan Omarov took part in the presentation. The register is an online platform where businessmen can leave messages about barriers faced at work. All submitted problems will be reviewed and entrepreneurs will receive chamber assistance.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs signed a cooperation memorandum on Feb. 19. Minister of Emergency Situations Vladimir Bozhko and Chairman of the Board of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Ablai Myrzakhmetov signed a memorandum of mutual cooperation on reducing pressure on businesses, the press service of the ministry said. This memorandum is one of the measures taken to implement presidential instructions on reducing administrative pressure on business. The two parties will cooperate in protecting the rights and interests of businessmen, detecting problems and barriers that hinder business development and implementing solutions to these issues. Pursuant to the instructions of the President, the Ministry of Emergency Situations undertook a number of measures over the past few years. Thus, 165 out of 199 permits issued by the ministry were cancelled and five permits were replaced by notifications. The number of fire safety permits was reduced by five times and the amount of safety permits were reduced by 10 times.

KazAgro financed 346 projects amounting to 237.5 billion tenge (US$1.28 billion), Chairman of the Board of KazAgro Dulat Aitzhanov said at a Feb. 18 Central Communications Service (CCS) briefing summarizing KazAgro’s 2013 operations. “In total in 2013, 346 projects amounting to 237.5 billion tenge (US$1.28 billion) were financed by the investment programme. Of these, 290 projects have already been completed and 68 projects were launched this year,” he said. Aitzhanov noted that 42 applications totalling 29 billion tenge (US$156.6 million) were currently being considered. He stated that there are plans to implement another 75 development projects this year.

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