President Sets Country on Course toward Oil and Gas Independence, Urges Wealthy to Return Money to Country

ASTANA – President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed the government goal of making Kazakhstan independent of oil and gas imports by 2018, urged the entire business community to take part in the country’s current privatisation process and spoke about the need to economise during the 17th congress of the Nur Otan Party Jan. 29.4310ffee65470718995491cc17e8ca03-slider

“In two years, Kazakhstan should be 100 percent provided with domestic petroleum products and gas. I set the task to completely meet our market demand by 2018 with domestic oil products such as petrol, diesel oil, aviation kerosene and gas,” Nazarbayev said in his speech at the congress.

“We expect that commercial extraction in Kashagan will start up. It is necessary to complete the expansion of the Caspian pipeline consortium; expansion provides us with additional volumes,” the President stressed. “The Beineu-Bozoi-Shymkent gas pipeline is nearing completion. We now do not ask anyone for gas: the entire south is provided with gas from Kazakhstan. Oil production volume in the country will reach 92 million tonnes per year in 2021.”

Nazarbayev urged Kazakhstan’s people to get used to living with low oil price conditions earlier in his speech.

Nazarbayev also urged Forbes-listed Kazakh billionaires as well as millionaires to return and invest money in the homeland.

“We have grown many wealthy people. … But it’s our country – Kazakhstan – that allowed you to earn all of this money. So let’s invest here … Kazakhstan has concluded agreements on legal assistance literally with all countries,” he commented implying that no one can feel immune or safe from prosecution for siphoning off money out of the country or avoiding taxes.

The President also again reminded the population to participate in property legalisation processes.

“Initial privatisation, initial accumulating of funds have never been absolutely transparent. … It was this way throughout the world. Therefore, we forgive. … We have even changed the legislation; [we] do not even take taxes now,” Nazarbayev urged, meaning that no taxes are levied on the monies returned to the country. “If you have a house abroad, get it legalised so that we know about it. So that law enforcement bodies will not be looking for you later …”

The President also addressed the principles of austerity and the need to economise.

“Samruk Kazyna saved 53 billion tenge [about US$143 million]. [Director of EXPO 2017] Akhmetzhan Yessimov reported to me that 155 billion tenge [about US$418.4 million] at EXPO 2017 was saved and returned to the government, despite the fact that there used to be disgraceful behaviour [there]. … The preparation process of the exhibition is going normally,” he said.

Kazakhstan’s current large-scale privatisation is an important part of its anti-crisis programme, the President said.

“The entire system of public expenditures will be built on the principles of austerity. This is not such a complicated matter, we are simply reducing surpluses,” said Nazarbayev.

In his speech, the President touched once again on agriculture, calling the agricultural sector one of the key drivers of economic growth.

“Introducing new technologies into production infrastructure should lead to growth in agriculture by 1.5 times. We also need to develop science and innovation,” he said. “As was recently mentioned at the [World] Economic Forum in Davos, the world stands on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution. Stunning discoveries await the planet.”

According to Nazarbayev, construction of the Western Europe-Western China motorway is coming to an end in Kazakhstan this year. He noted that two more promising destinations for road construction are Eurasian transcontinental and trans-Caspian routes.

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