Prepared by Sophia Balakina
General Director of Resmi Group Ltd
I consider the idea of the creation of a single investors’ council as better than maintaining the current system. The main reason for this is the change of the general and investment situation in the country. Nowadays, the role of domestic investors, both those of strategic and institutional natures, has immeasurably increased in comparison with the second half of the 1990s. Moreover, one can easily notice their participation in the economies of a number of CIS countries. On the international capital markets, a stated demand exists for the securities of Kazakhstani issuers. I believe that a single council of investors can take responsibility for the successful realization of key initiatives proposed by the President [Nursultan Nazarbaev] and government. This primarily can be achieved through participation in those breakthrough projects having an innovative character, major infrastructure projects, and [industrial] cluster initiatives. In such a situation, the council should include those investors who will define the economy of our country for the next 10-15 years. The role of domestic investors is strategically important.
Сhairman of the Board of Directors of Raimbek Group LLP
The creation of a single council of investors is most likely a future possibility. Another issue is coordination of the activities of the Council of Foreign Investors (CFI) and other public organizations representing the interests of foreign investors, such as the European Business Association of Kazakhstan (EuroBAK), the German Business Club (GBC), the Kazakhstan Petroleum Association (KPA), the Kazakhstan Association of Turkish Investors (KATIAD), as well as Kazakhstani associations of businesspeople, primarily the Forum of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan (FEK) and the Association of Financiers of Kazakhstan (AFK).
Over the years of independence, Kazakhstani investors have gained a large level of investment experience not only in Kazakhstan, but also abroad. Kazakhstani businesspeople are not only within the CIS countries, but in others too. First of all, they are famous for their professional approach in carrying out business, in addition to an ability to build necessary partnership relations with all interested parties, including the state bodies of the countries in which they plan to invest. Therefore, obvious parallels exist between the activities of foreign investors in Kazakhstan and those of Kazakhstani investors abroad. Moreover, with the help of public associations of businesspeople acting on a national level, such as the FEK and AFK, systematic work has been initiated with the participation of the Kazakhstani business community in the process of improving legislation regulating business activities. Our representatives actively participate in working groups of the ministries developing draft laws, in intra-ministerial commissions under the auspices of the national government, and in working groups of the Majilis (editor’s note: the lower house of the Kazakhstani Parliament).
Within the framework of roundtables carried out by state bodies and foreign business associations, we cooperate and meet with the representatives of those associations working within Kazakhstan for the purpose of protecting foreign investors. We sometimes meet in the working groups created by the Majilis. As practice shows, all of our organizations raise practically the same issues before the state bodies, and offer similar solutions. For Kazakhstani business, regardless of ownership, the same issues are valid. At a meeting of the [Exclusive Club of] top managers, we spoke of the necessity in uniting our efforts.
To return to the issue of creating a single council, the prospect of this possibility seems viable. International experts acknowledged that our republic has the best investment climate within Central Asia. The key issue is the entrance into the list of the 50 most competitive nations in the world, as stated by the President in his address. This task has been placed before both state bodies and Kazakhstani companies, regardless of the citizenship of their owners. This is why it seems logical to jointly raise issues relating to the competitiveness of our companies within the framework of the consultative and advisory body [the CFI] under the auspices of the President.
Representatives of European companies in Kazakhstan*
It is not necessary to create a new entity. This is a false ´good energyª. But it is absolutely necessary to organize close cooperation between local and foreign investors. Yes, [it] seems a good idea.
Due to group specific issues, a single council could be beneficial only on condition of continual existence of individual bodies. Yes, foreign investors are not eventually pushed out by the local investors. They have many concerns in common but there are some issues that foreign investors have that local investors do not (e.g. work permits).
(*Directors of a number of European companies to whom Exclusive addressed with its question put forth a collective reply, which was submitted under condition of anonymity.)