National news in brief

Kazakhstan has created a tourist police force, the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has announced. Units have been created in Nur-Sultan, Almaty, and the Akmola, Turkestan and East Kazakhstan regions in the first phase of the programme. Tourist police are intended to help keep visitors to Kazakhstan safe and informed. “The ministry initiated proposals to create e-visa and e-hotel databases and the tourist police as part of the concept for the development of the tourism industry. Today, visas are issued electronically for citizens of 117 countries. A hotel database will create accounts for all places of residence and eliminate the obligation to visit the police for registration,” Minister of Internal Affairs Yerlan Turgumbayev said April 19.

A solar power station worth $61 million will be completed in the Karaganda region in June, Kazinform reports. The 50-megawatt-capacity plant is located on an area of 120 hectares. Some 150,000 panels and power substations will be delivered in the near future. “Work is going according to the schedule. A line from the KEGOC substations to our substation will be ready soon. We need to finish the project by June 30,” said General Director of SES Saran Evgeny Grebennikov.

KazAgro national holding will move from lending to funding, according to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Agriculture. Entrepreneurs will be able to take out loans through the Economy of Simple Things programme. Loans are provided for seven years at a final rate of 8 percent per year, taking into account subsidies. For the production of agricultural products, loans are provided at a rate of 5 percent. “The work is being done by funding second-tier banks, credit partnerships and microcredit organisations to solve debt problems. The dominance of KazAgro in the financing of the agricultural sector should gradually decrease. KazAgro will shift from direct lending to funding private lending organisations. Access to financing for agricultural producers will become available at the banks, credit partnerships and micro-lending organisations. Second-tier banks should enter this sector, accumulate experience through funding from KazAgro, and then invest… in the agro-industrial complex,” Vice Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan Rustem Kurmanov said April 18.

The construction of the Saryarka gas pipeline will be completed in December, according to the press service of the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund. “Major construction work will be completed by the end of the year and the commissioning is planned for 2020. The pipeline is intended for the gasification of the capital, the central and northern regions. The capacity of the gas pipeline will be 2.2 billion cubic metres of gas per year. A total of 171 settlements in the Karaganda and Akmola regions will be supplied with gas. The consumption of coal fuel will decrease by 650,000 tonnes per year. The construction provides jobs for more than 800 people and more than 2,000 people in the busiest months,” reads a press release from the fund.

A pasta-making plant worth $580,000 will be opened in the Saryagash district of the Turkestan region. The district’s gross output was $380 million in 2018, and 13,660 small and medium-sized businesses operate there. Seven projects worth $643,000 have been implemented through the Business Road Map 2020 programme. “We added an investment project worth $1.1 million to the business support map. Last year, we attracted $55 million to the region. It is planned to attract $60 million this year. Last year, we built four tourist facilities and created 80 jobs. This year, we will launch five facilities,” said district akim (mayor) Kairat Abdualiyev.

Direct flights between Petropavlovsk and Moscow will be launched starting from May 29, reports the regional press service. “Ticket prices start from 45,990 tenge (US$122). The flights, operated by Russian airline IrAero, will be weekly. Flights will be carried out on Sukhoi SuperJet 100 aircraft. The airline will also provide flights to Moscow from Karaganda and Kokshetau,” the North Kazakhstan region’s Facebook account said.