Kazakhstan sets 20-nation entry target by 2020

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Astana, Jan.31 (ANI): Kazakhstan has set itself an ambitious goal of making its presence as a business and investment powerhouse in at least 20 countries by the year 2020.

Addressing the nation this week, President Nursulatan Nazarbayev said the forthcoming decade should be seen as a period of "new economic growth" for Kazakh society, and urged the people of his country to strain every sinew in taking advantage of emerging opportunities.

"Kazakhstan must enter the top 20 countries with the most favorable business climate by 2020," Nazarbayev said, adding this was necessary to ensure stable development of the country's economy.

"The first element of the task is to improve business climate essentially, the second one - to ensure sustainable functioning of the financial system, the third - to continue formation of secure legal environment," Nazarbayev said.

He also gave the government the responsibility of reducing the appeal costs of doing business connected with registration and conduction by 2011.

"Kazakhstan will achieve much in the future. The model of solidarity which became an important precondition for our development was highly appraised by the leaders of the confessions and heads of the states worldwide. Kazakhstan has become a strong and successful state and through its initiatives achieved high international respect," the President said.

Suggesting that only innovations would enhance productive labour and make Kazakhstan join the 50 most competitive countries of the world, Nazarbayev focused his attention on 162 key projects with the total amount of investment of 43,3 billion dollars.

He said these projects on fruition would contribute more than 40 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create over 200,000 permanent jobs "in the nearest three years".

"Within five years, we will put into operation a powerful gas chemical complex, plants for production of mineral fertilizers, a number of large electric power stations such as Balkhash Thermal Power Plant, Moinak Hydro Power Plant and many other facilities. By 2014, we will reconstruct all three oil refinery plants and will be able to meet the domestic demand for oil products", President Nazarbayev said.

Calling for a common budget program for the development of an entrepreneurial sector, Nazarbayev said funds sanctioned for the program would be used to subsidize interest rates, fractional loan granting to small and medium businesses, service support to business dealing, staff retraining and development, youth practice and social jobs.

He suggested to name the program as the Business Road Map 2020.

"The state resources won't be enough for the program on diversification of the Kazakh economy. Foreign investments must become the main source of financing," he said.

He was particularly welcoming of the investment of 20 billion dollars from companies from China, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, France, Italy and Russia.

"These funds will be directed to the non-primary sector of the economy, ensure launching dozens of facilities of the industrial program, infrastructure and joint projects", the President said.

He also stressed on the need for new approaches to the functioning of special economic zones and industrial parks in Kazakhstan, which he added "are necessary due to the priorities of industrial development of the country."

Preparing a new draft law on special economic zones was the first step, he further said.

"The mechanism of state-private partnership has great potential in attraction of investments in Kazakhstan, but it needs modernization in accordance with the world's best practice. I charge the Government to introduce amendments to the legislation on concessions in the first half of the year,"Nazarbayev said.

Almaty, widely regarded as the business capital of Kazakhstan, he said would continue to be central to the future business plans and projections of the country, especially in the "Business Road Map 2020".

A large metallurgical complex, focus on the nuclear, chemical and agrarian industry were other areas that would require attention, he said.

"Almaty is still the largest donor among the regions of the country which provides over 30percent of the budget revenues," he said.

"Salaries of public sector employees and scholarships of students will be increased from April 1, 2010," the Kazakh President said.

"The Government must activate the processes of accession to the World Trade Organization on the conditions meeting priorities of the economic development of Kazakhstan. I believe that our entrepreneurs need to consider new opportunities and start working on the development of a strategy on entry to the market right now, increasing their competitive advantage", he noted.

The President stressed that the state resources won't be enough for realization of plans on the economy diversification and foreign investments must become its main source of financing.

Kazakhstan will do everything possible the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has become the structure recognizing the diversity of the world of XXI century.

Kazakhstan intends to extend ties, strengthen the consensus sphere on solution of security issues as well as the development of the OSCE itself, he concluded. (ANI)

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