ASTANA – Kazakh e-commerce turnover has reached 101 billion tenge ($304.6 million) in the first five months of 2018, with 2.9 percent in retail trade turnover, according to Kazpost. To increase market volume, the government has improved legislation, upgraded the postal service and exempted e-commerce companies from taxes.
Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov reported on the progress of the Digital Kazakhstan initiative, highlighting the positive trend in developing electronic commerce. According to official statistics, the e-commerce market reached 106.9 billion tenge (US$322.4 million) in 2017, 1.2 percent of the total retail turnover and a 36.2-percent increase.
Since the beginning of the year, 110 new e-commerce retailers have been registered, said Suleimenov. The nation has 1,658 online stores employing 71,600 workers and the number of customers has increased 5 percent.
The National Bank drafted an instant payment system with the possibility of mobile phone use to develop digital financial services. The system aims to provide a convenient and affordable tool for online interbank payments on simplified requisites. Plans are underway to test the pilot system in August. Electronic wallet, designed to pay for mobile services, was launched in May.
The government is focused on developing a logistics infrastructure by creating logistics hubs and sorting centres. The first fulfilment centre opened in the capital in April. The number of processed parcels is expected to increase by 20 percent from 5.148 million to 6 million and the parcel delivery time reduced from 15 to 6 days and down to one day on certain express mail routes.
The ministry drafted a bill “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Trade Regulation,” which seeks to systematise the conceptual apparatus and develop mechanisms to legally regulate e-commerce. Adopting the bill will provide a way to control the relationship between e-commerce users and providers and improve protecting the rights of consumers and entrepreneurs.
As part of the legislative changes, the new tax code defines terms such as online store, website and electronic merchandise trade. E-commerce companies and individual entrepreneurs are released from paying corporate and individual taxes for five years. The measures will help increase the number of e-commerce entities, register new ones and withdraw from shadow turnover, said Suleimenov.
As a result of the modern telecommunications infrastructure, 78.8 percent of the population used the Internet last year. By 2021, most of Kazakhstan’s rural settlements will have broadband coverage.