Kazakhstan: Indian investors have reason to cheer with Kazakhstan initiating major economic reforms

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed the decree on measures to liberalize the economy on May 10 aimed at ensuring freedom of entrepreneurship by developing competition, reducing state stakes in the economy, and decreasing business costs in a step that would encourage Indian private investors to explore the regional market by making Kazakhstan as a base.

Firstly, it is envisaged to create a National Privatization Office at the Kazakh Agency for Protection and Promotion of Competition. This office will be responsible for developing the standards for state assets that are eligible for privatization and compiling a list of those assets.

Secondly, steps are taken to enhance the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund and its subsidiaries’ corporate governance autonomy, quality and independence, as well as to improve the procurement procedures they carry out.

Thirdly, a number of specific measures are envisaged to develop competition in product markets.

Fourthly, measures are proposed to improve regulatory policies and liberalize procedures for opening and running a business. Thus, it is planned to simplify and automate (digitalize) consumer access to commercial services provided by quasi-governmental organizations, procedures for obtaining technical conditions and connecting to utility networks.

It is instructed to provide the opportunity to use projects that meet advanced international standards for the construction of facilities without the mandatory development of design and estimate documentation in accordance with Kazakhstan standards.Fifthly, the decree includes a set of measures aimed at strengthening the protection of the rights and legitimate interests of business, including through the decriminalization of criminal offenses in the economic activity, coordination with prosecutors of prohibitive and restrictive measures initiated by government agencies, etc.The decree’s implementation will expedite and significantly reduce the state sector’s share in the economy while also creating more room for private enterprise.

Indian private investors are looking for a liberalized economic environment with fair competition in the Central Asian region. Kazakhstan being the biggest and modern economy in the region provides a platform to expand business. Kazakhstan is India’s largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia. FICCI and the Chamber of International Commerce of Kazakhstan have set up a Joint Business Council (JBC) to promote trade, economic and investment cooperation between the two countries.

Kazakhstan provides investment opportunities in infrastructure, energy, IT and associated fields, medical and allied areas, digital infrastructure besides hospitality and pharmaceuticals and mining.

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