Economic news in brief

More than five million tonnes of grain have been exported by Kazakhstan since July 1, 2013, the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan reported on Feb. 6. “Around 5.3 million tonnes of grain, including flour has been exported by Kazakhstan between July 1, 2013 and February 1, 2014. This is 25 percent more than in the previous year,” the ministry statement read. Agricultural products produced between January and November 2013 were estimated to have generated$2.4 billion. This a 27 percent increase compared to 2009-2011 averages. Exports to Customs Union (CU) countries increased by almost 65 percent in the first 11 months of 2013 compared to 2012 figures. “We plan to export 9 million tonnes, which is 26 percent more than in the previous year,” Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan Assylzhan Mamytbekov said.

Kazphosphate plans to invest about $1 billion in the production of new goods and the introduction of energy saving technologies by 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev said at an enlarged session of the ministry board attended by Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov. At the meeting, the deputy prime minister reported on some statistics of the chemical industry’s development in Kazakhstan. “Output increased by 3.3 percent in the sector. The production of sulphuric acid increased by 10.8 percent, ammonia – by 14.5 percent, abstergent – by 62.6 percent,” he said. “Plans to improve and further develop the chemical industry have been adopted. Kazphosphate alone plans to invest about $1 billion into new products and energy saving technologies by 2020,” Issekeshev said.

Recently, 600 million tenge (around US$4 million) was allocated to Aksu, Pavlodar region, as part of a programme to help develop single industry towns. The volume of industrial production there grew by two percent year-on-year. Thanks to the development of business and employment programmes, 954 jobs were created, including 397 permanent ones. The level of unemployment reached 4.8 percent. Along with the growth of employment, the number of families with income lower than the minimum living wage shrank. The average salary increased by 6 percent. Tax deductions to the budget grew by three percent, or by 212 million tenge (US$1.4 million). Transfers totalling over one billion tenge (US$6.4 million) have been approved for Aksu in 2014 within the framework of the programme on development of single industry towns. The main share of financing is planned for development of city utilities – 667 million tenge (US$4.3 million); 240 million tenge (US$1.54 million) will be used for entrepreneurship support and 185 million tenge (USS$1.2) for municipal landscaping. “The biggest task in redeveloping Aksu will be diversifying its economy and developing its small and medium businesses,” Akim (Mayor) of Aksu Bulat Bakauov said.

According to Aidos Sadykov, the Akim (Mayor) of Ulan district of the East Kazakhstan region, social programmes had more of a positive effect on society in 2013 than was expected, BNews.kz reported, referencing the regional information centre. Originally, only 465 people were supposed to be employed by such programmes, but this number reached 847. The number of created jobs topped the target by 25, the press statement read. The number of people who received government sponsored jobs beat the target by nine. In social projects, 645 found work, which far exceeded the goal of 19. Also, 206,181,000,000tenge (US$1.84 billion) was allocated from all financing sources to support financially disadvantaged residents of the district.

Kazkommertsbank (KKB) and businessman Kenes Rakishev recently reached a final agreement to acquire 46.5 percent of the shares of BTA Bank from Samruk Kazyna each, according to KKB’s press service.Samruk Kazyna will transfer the remaining 4.26 percent of shares in BTA that it holds to KKB under a trusteeship agreement, which will provide KKB with more than 50 percent of the voting shares and operational control of BTA Bank. Samruk Kazyna will retain its current shareholding in KKB and an option agreementconcluded in 2009 with the shareholders of this bank will be extended. “Purchase cost of 46.5 percent of BTA shares by KKB is 72.1 billion tenge (about US$465 million),” according to KKB. The bank will pay 31 billion tenge (US$199.2 million) by the [yet to be determined] closing date and 41.1 billion tenge (US$264.1 million) no later than July 1, 2017. The transaction was approved by the KKB Board of Directors on Feb. 5 and will be submitted for approval by the general meeting of its shareholders. “The acquisition and subsequent unification of BTA and KKB will create the largest universal bank in the region, a large-scale diversified institution with assets 1.5 times larger than those of its closest competitor,” Nina Zhussupova, chair of the board of KKB said.

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