President Tokayev outlines measures to ensure fair trade expansion and favorable investment climate
NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stressed the need to focus on a fair justice system, transparent economy and competitive markets to ensure favorable conditions for the growth of local businesses and foreign investment during a meeting with representatives of national companies on May 19 at the Akorda.
“As Head of State, I will pursue the policy of forming a transparent economy with a level playing field for all. We will not allow any redistribution of profitable locations and positions,” he said as he opened the meeting with company representatives.
Ensuring an open and fair justice system and the rule of law are among the government’s highest priorities for businesses to thrive.
“The guarantee of judicial protection of property and private interests is a fundamental condition for developing the economy and attracting investment, that is, for ensuring the overall progress of the country,” President Tokayev said.
The Constitution recognizes and protects both state and private property equally, but according to Tokayev, practice lags behind policy.
“In practice, we often give priority to protecting the interests of individual state bodies, which are sometimes mistakenly understood as the interests of the state. With the introduction of administrative jurisdiction, we have been able to reverse this trend, but there is still a lot of work to do,” he said.
Tokayev acknowledged that the need for judicial reform was long overdue. “We hear these calls from foreign investors, our entrepreneurs and our fellow citizens. Therefore, I will announce specific large-scale measures in this direction in the near future,” he said.
Using market mechanisms to regulate prices is also a key part of Tokayev’s business support proposals. He said price regulation was a necessary step at a critical stage in Kazakhstan’s development, but excessive price regulation in competitive commodity markets “deprives the country of private investment”.
“As a result, the state is obliged to invest in such [competitive market] industries, thereby increasing its presence in business in the form of opaque and clumsy operators,” Tokayev continued.
“We must be extremely careful not to deviate from the basic principles of a market economy. This applies to both commodity markets and natural monopoly service tariffs,” Tokayev said, adding that there is a need to accelerate competition in all sectors.
Given the geopolitical situation and the context of sanctions, Kazakhstan aims to preserve established ties as well as expand investment partners.
“I would like to emphasize that even under such difficult conditions, we will do our best to maintain and increase the volume of investment from the European Union, the United States, China and other countries which not only have financial skills, but also broad technological skills,” said President Tokayev.
Turkey and other Central Asian countries have been touted as increasingly important trade and investment partners for Kazakhstan.
President Tokayev stressed that the involvement of entrepreneurs and representatives of the real economy in these issues is crucial. “The slogan ‘We will build a new Kazakhstan together’ is not an empty word,” he said, inviting businesses to participate in the process of designing effective reforms.
The previous meeting with business leaders took place in January, when President Tokayev urged business representatives to work with the government on building a new economic policy.