Economic news in brief

The Kazakh national bank intends to require websites that provide loans to disclose the real effective interest rate on loans. The loans with a 100 percent effective interest rate are considered void. Citizens can check the value of real interest rate through a loan calculator. Its methodology will be approved by the National Bank and it will be available on its website. “The bank considers it necessary to protect the population against usury. If the interest rates of bank loans cannot exceed 56 percent per annum, the online loans rates reach 700 percent and higher per annum. The mandatory indication of the effective interest rate in loan agreements with a limit at 100 percent per annum is necessary. This is international practise,” said National Bank Chairman Daniyar Akishev.

The state collected 755.5 billion tenge (US$2.2 billion) in taxes in May, according to the Ministry of Finance. This figure is 15 percent or 98 billion tenge (US$288 million) higher than a year ago. As of January-May, execution of tax revenues is over 3.6 trillion tenge (US$10.6 billion), which is 28.3 percent higher than a year ago and 17.4 percent higher than the forecast. Income tax and social tax totalled 413.7 billion tenge (US$1.2 billion) and 294.1 billion tenge (US$866 million) respectively for a half-year period. Non-tax revenues decreased by almost 20 percent and up to 112.7 billion tenge (US$331 million) compared with 2017. As of June 1, the revenues from the sale of state property increased twofold to 43.7 billion tenge (US$128 million).

An e-freight project will be introduced for air cargo services, Abctv.kz reported June 14. The public private partnership project worth 3.3 billion tenge (US$10 million) will shorten the processing time to one hour. Twenty of the 30 documents will be available electronically. The project will be implemented in all international airports and after 10 years, the state will have the right to own the information system. “This is the standard that is used all over the world. If now the cargo that goes to and from Kazakhstan is processed within 24 hours, this system will reduce the time to one hour. To issue one consignment note, about 30 different documents are needed, this is quite a labour-intensive process. Therefore, about 20 documents will be provided in digital format,” said Civil Aviation Committee Chairman Talgat Lastayev.

Two-thirds of Kazakhstan’s salt is exported, according to energyprom.kz. The supplies to foreign markets increased 27 percent in the last year. More than 99 percent of the salt is extracted at the Zhaksykylysh salt lakes. As of January-May, the country produced 88,900 tonnes of salt, which is 6.7 percent more than a year ago. The major part is produced at the Kyzylorda-based Araltuz company. “We supply 12 percent of the Russian salt market. Last year, we started exporting to Azerbaijan and the work is underway to start supplies to China,” noted the company’s press release. The salt price increased only 0.4 percent or up to 51.3 tenge (US$0.15) per kilogramme in May.

Kazakhstan expects the annual growth of e-commerce to be 40 percent with the active phase of the Digital Kazakhstan programme implementation. A commission on digitisation has been created. Vice ministers responsible for digitisation in five state bodies were appointed. The design offices were launched at the Zerde holding, state bodies and akimats (local government administrations). Kazpost will open the specialised fulfilment and e-commerce centres. The e-labour exchange project helped employ approximately 70,000 citizens. Ten projects were launched at the Astana Hub technology park. It is planned to increase this figure to 33. “Changes were introduced in the Tax Code stimulating the growth of the e-commerce. These organisations are completely exempt from corporate income tax,” said Minister of Information and Communications Dauren Abayev at a June 21 meeting.

Foreign investment will create more than 2,500 jobs in the Kyzylorda region, Kazakh Invest reported June 22. Seven major projects worth $986 million are being implemented in the region. “The unified service centre for entrepreneurs was launched. Eleven road shows were organised in January-May to attract anchor investors and three memorandums with foreign investors were signed today at the regional council meeting,” said Kyzylorda Region Akim (Governor) Krymbek Kusherbayev.

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