NUR-SULTAN – Experts suggested at the recent Strategic Initiatives Forum in Nur-Sultan that Kazakhstan should cease relying on external debts.
“We suggest there is a need for active investment policies. Our previous capital amnesties were formally successful, but there are still many assets abroad, which can be returned. At the same time, while transitioning to new economic policy, we should abolish external debts,” said Senior Partner at the Centre for Strategic Initiatives Olzhas Khudaibergenov.
Implementation of state projects, he noted, can be done without involving external debts.
“We can afford it, particularly given the funds the National Fund possesses. We have a project to finance the construction of customs clearance check points, which was done with the external loans. This is a completely wrong option. We should not use external loans for this, or for state purposes,” he said.
Presidential Administration Deputy Head Timur Suleimenov, former Minister of National Economy, voiced the opposite.
“At zero percent of external debt. I believe that this idea has a right to exist, but in my opinion as long as we are balanced in terms of assets and liabilities of the state and by asset we mean not only the budget but also the National Fund, we have quite a normal situation. I am not saying to actively use the National Fund, because it is within 3-4 percent and we borrow at slightly higher rates of 5-6 percent. We can take advantage from this,” said Suleimenov.
He said external loans should serve as a driver.
“It (external debt) is not very big right now. It is around 23 percent. This is quite a safe level. The total debt of the country is 86 percent. As you may remember, it was above 105-107 percent. The gross domestic product is growing, the debt is not growing a lot, therefore, we are good in terms of percentage value,” he said.
The forum was organised by the Centre for Strategic Initiatives and gathered experts, policy makers and heads of national companies and state bodies to explore the development of a new economic policy, modernisation of the Kazakh pension system and the Kazakh banking sector. The government will consider the recommendations and proposals made by experts at the forum.