Economic News in Brief

The growth of social and economic indicators of Astana and new approaches to tax administration allow the city to occupy a leading position in ensuring the growth of the state budget, 24.kz reports. According to the State Revenues Department of Astana, the figures exceeded the forecast by 7.4 billion tenge (US$22.7 million) to 227.2 billion tenge (US$696.3 million) in the first quarter. Of this, 175.6 billion tenge (US$538.2 million) went to the national budget and 51.6 billion tenge (US$158.1 million) was provided to the local budget. The forecast was exceeded by 6.2 billion tenge (US$19 million). These figures were the result of comprehensive measures to create conditions supporting economic growth in the city, increasing the collection of state revenues and effectively counteracting the shadow economy in Astana.

Bank card activity in Kazakhstan keeps increasing, as the number of active cards grew 20 percent over a year and reached 9.9 million units at the end of February, ranking.kz said. Credit cards are the fastest growing segment, increasing 31.9 percent to 1.4 million tenge (US$4,291). For comparison, debit cards grew only 19.3 percent, as prepaid and debit cards with a credit limit decreased 2.7 percent. The share of credit cards in the total number of active cards increased from 12.9 percent to 14.2 percent over a year.

The government of Kazakhstan is considering the possibility of introducing a new tax regime: a single cumulative social payment, abctv.kz reports. This payment is supposed to combine individual income tax, mandatory pension contribution, deductions from the State Social Insurance Fund and the Social Health Insurance Fund. Thus, the government expects to formalise the category of so-called self-employed citizens who are now in the shadow market. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, today, approximately 2.7 million citizens are classified as self-employed or informally employed. At the same time, they refer to people working without an employment contract or without social deductions, unemployed people and a number of other categories. For several years, the government has been trying to solve the problem of self-employed citizens, since these people remain without pension savings. Ahead of the introduction of a compulsory medical insurance system, the problem of self-employed persons has become once again urgent.

Kazakhstan investment week continued in South Korea, 24.kz reports. Representatives of the Kazakh delegation in the country for the event held dozens of meetings daily with the heads of major South Korean corporations. Their discussions focused on logistics, high technology, agriculture and other areas of the economy where investors from South Korea are ready to invest. Some agreements were already signed: The largest logistics corporation of South Korea is expected to help increase the transit potential of Kazakhstan through a memorandum signed with Kazakhstan’s national railway company. The sides agreed to cooperate to use the capabilities of Kazakhstan’s terminal in the Chinese port of Lianyungang.

Kazakh and Ukrainian producers are increasing export capacities. In the first quarter of 2018, Kazakhstan’s fuel exports to Ukraine grew 30-fold, kazakh-tv.kz reports. Ukrainian operators imported nearly 36,000 tonnes of natural gas from Kazakhstan. According to them, the product meets the European standards. “According to our calculations, since 2010 this is the largest amount of imported Kazakh liquefied gas. This year, the figure is supposed to increase. The contract with Tengizchevroil contributed to addressing the shortage in August and September last year. Now, due to the supply of Kazakh liquefied gas, our market has become more predictable,” Ivan Kudinov, analyst of petroleum products market, said. The demand for gas in Ukraine is estimated at 150,000 tonnes per month. Petroleum product market analysts forecast that with this demand, the volume of supplies from Kazakhstan will continue to grow.

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