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  • Every third resident of Astana is employed in SMEs

    Established to strengthen the negotiating power and protection of businesses with Government and state bodies, "Atameken" - the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan - will celebrate its fifth anniversary this autumn. 

    The Regional Chamber of Entrepreneurs was also established with 14 regional centres in Kazakhstan including in Astana and Almaty. 

    On the eve of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Astana, the director of the Moscow Chamber, Gani Tasmaganbetov, spoke of his work with the non-profit organization in an exclusive interview.

     Our interview was conducted during the annual conference of entrepreneurs. 

    - Gani Mergalievich, please tell us briefly about the work of the Chamber and its achievements over the years.

    - The Astana Chamber of Entrepreneurs unites more than 100 thousand sites belonging to small and medium business (including 256 medium businesses, 36 587 - small businesses, 63 921 - individual entrepreneurs). In other words, 325,000 of Astana citizens are employed by SMEs which shows an increase of 31,000 more than in 2016.

    As of January 1, 2018, the population of Astana was 1 million people and with the statistics show that 325,000 people, which is every third citizen of the capital, is involved in SMEs. 

    All of these growths and changes became possible due to the development of lending capital the creation of business servicing centres and the training of the public on the basics of business.

    With enormous effort from the Chamber since it was first established, more than 4,000 Kazakhstan residents who wished to receive consultations on starting and running their business have received assistance.

    The contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises to the economy by country's main city is becoming more significant every year. The share of SMEs in the GRP structure of the region is 57.4%. The volume of investments has reached KZT944 billion, having shown 10% growth for one year.

    As a result, all the favourable conditions created for the development of SMEs have created a multiplier effect. In 2017, GRP increased by 12%, and Astana has brought a significant increase in revenues of  KZT900 billion to the country's budget. The volume of external commodity turnover in 2017 amounted to 5.7 billion US dollars, which is 4.2% higher compared to 2016.

    At the same time, it is important to note that significant parts of SME capital consists of  33% in services, 32% in trade activities , 11 % in construction,  and 6% in transport and warehousing.

    - One of the defining areas of the Chamber's activities is the protection of the rights of entrepreneurs. What work is being done in this direction?

    - Indeed, one of the main priorities of the Chamber is to protect rights of businesses. A lot of work and effort in this direction is being carried out by the Council for the Protection of the Rights of Entrepreneurs and Anti-Corruption. 312 appeals were considered in its framework last year. Out of these 312 appeals, 100 of which have been resolved positively and 43 are in process. The interests of business entities for this period are protected for a total of more than KZT4.77 billion.

    With regards to unscrupulous officials, 2 private court decisions were issued to take disciplinary actions with the active participation of the Chambers.

    6 state employees brought disciplinary responsibilities and actions following the results of inspections. They came forward with proposals to the central state bodies through the Scientific and Production Enterprise "Atameken" on the development of regulatory acts to regulate the activity of hostels, the sphere of holding jewellery exhibitions by foreign manufacturers, and the reduction of sanctions for using the services of monopolists in water supply and sanitation. 

    It initiated a change in the norms of land legislation in terms of abolishing the obligation to pay cadastral value when changing the purpose of the land. In other words, the data trends from general inspections of entrepreneurs shows a decline in the last two years by 14% from 6,198 in 2016 to 5,323 in 2017. 

    It is also necessary to note the decline rate in appeals and complaints to the Chamber of Entrepreneurs in the city of Astana annually is an average of 10%.

    - Are there local issues, but of a republican scale, that required certain interventions from the Center?

    - Yes. Considering that Astana is the capital and the city of national importance, some issues cannot be solved without the help of the Centre. But a positive fact is that all the bodies that make important decisions are located on the territory of Astana.

    Therefore, out of seven initiatives of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs "Atameken" to stimulate business in the regions in Astana, here are some of the main issues were resolved: 

    - online access to information on land plots, 
    - power capacities and connection to engineering and communication networks was provided; 
    - allocation of vacant space for trade and catering: 
    - businessmen were granted 600 trade places. 
    Within the framework of strengthening regional development institutes, the following SPK projects were implemented: 

    - "Project of 1000 trade places - street trade";
    - "ASTANA TAXI";
    - "Gas station project";
    - "Vegetable storage for 5,000 tons";
    - "Privatization of Saparzhai-Astana (bus station)";
    - LLP "Tselinselmash Astana";
    - "Food security". 
    If you will allow me, I will introduce each of them in detail.


    Firstly, online access to information on land plots, power capacities and connection to engineering and communication networks has been provided. Thus, at present, on the website of the Architecture and Urban Planning Department of the city of Astana, an interactive map of the capital is available, which includes a master plan, a detailed plan, active bends, registered land plots, land plots that have been put up and sold through auction, red lines. These new developments allow the accessing of necessary information which in turn make the work of SMEs easier and efficient.  

    The second project allowed achieving allocation of free areas for trade and public food services. 

    544 trade places were provided in the framework of this project. It should be noted that in the near future, more than 600 trading places will be allocated due to the results of the auction held on March 2, 2018.

    Thirdly, the efficiency of consulting and advisory body (CAB) is ensured. The representation of businesses in CAB is at least 50%.

    The principal issue with ensuring the procurement of local products and services has also been resolved. After all, the question of the shares of local products and services remain one of the topical issues of this field. The share of local products and services in public procurement in 2016 was 62%, in 2017 - 71%. One of the possible ways to increase import substitution is the need for strict pre-tender and post-tender control by local executive bodies and GASK for the composition of domestic content in procurement. The monitoring processes of all designed and estimated documentation for local products and services have been started. 

    For example, in 2018, a plan and a timetable for the work of the Commission for the Support of the Domestic Commodity Producer were developed and approved. The analysis of public procurement in the construction sector was carried out. 

    In its course, 63 purchases (large objects over KZT100 million) related to construction works were established and identified, followed by recommendations to replace imports with domestic products in the amount of KZT400 million.

    And if we consider that the volume of the public procurement plan for 2018 is KZT224 billion, then our entrepreneurs have something to "fight" for.

    And, finally, a course has been taken to strengthen regional development institutions. In 2016-2017 6 strategic projects were implemented: 

    1. The project of 1000 trade places - street trade. 

    2. ASTANA TAXI project (association of the taxi service). 

    3. The project of Autogascript (3 refueling stations). 

    4. Vegetable storage at 5,000 tons. 

    5. Privatization of LLP "Saparzhai-Astana" (bus station), LLP "Tselinselmash Astana". 

    6. Food security.


    In the current year, there are two issues on the agenda, which should be immediately solved.

    The first is the creation of full-format Operations Certificate Programme. To date, this issue is being carefully worked out together with the akimat. A similar project has already been established in Almaty region with the cost of KZT1.5 billion.

    This is the centre where they will provide services in the "one-stop-shop" mode. That is, here an entrepreneur will develop a business plan, consult on measures of state support, and state agencies will also provide services. That is, there is no need to waste a lot of time to apply to every instance.

    The second. In the current year, the need for a small industrial zone will be fulfilled with the provision of a lease for SMEs to premises in the territory of the industrial park (IP) No2. 

    This, in turn, will create an additional 18,000 jobs in more than 130 SMEs. A feasibility study has already been developed. Also, a new SEZ "Astana-Technopolis" is being created, where IP No.2 will be included. It is planned to be built with  ready-made premises for SMEs with the area of 195,000 sq.m.

    - Recently, public-private partnership is actively developing. What are its prospects and what has been done at this stage?

    Three years ago, a separate law "On public-private partnership" was adopted, which aims to create new opportunities on the basis of partnership between the state and business, which allows the expansion of opportunities for  entrepreneurs.

    For our part, 7 PPP contracts have been signed to date (6 projects for education, 1 for transport infrastructure which are the construction and operation of 6 kindergartens, as well as the creation and operation of a hardware and software system for photo and video recording and CCTV in the city of Astana.

    At the stage of consideration of 12 PPP projects:

    - education sphere - 1 project, 
    - healthcare sphere - 1,
    - energy sphere - 1, 
    - cultural sphere - 1, 
    - sphere of highway construction - 1, 
    - sphere of transport infrastructure - 1, s
    - phere of municipal services - 1, 
    - sphere of environmental protection - 1, 
    - sphere of construction - 3, LCS-1).
    As a result of discussion of the projects with authorized bodies for the implementation of PPP projects in Astana city, the most interesting projects of economic, practical and social significance were determined. These include the modernization of street lighting, the reconstruction of school football grounds and the transfer of health services. The modernization in transfer of health services include the centralization of service and maintenance of vehicles, the centralization of patient nutrition, garbage collection and laundry services.

    To date, Atameken has identified 7 most promising projects for replicating in PPPs. These are projects include the transfer and maintenance of medical equipment, the reconstruction and operation of medical outpatient clinics, the modernization and operation of school canteens and sports grounds, projects for the transfer of modular boiler houses into trust management.

    As an example, I can cite the planned implementation of "Modernization of street lighting" project. The cost of the project is KZT3.7 billion. According to calculations, the budget saving for 5 years on this project will amount to at least KZT8 billion.

    And this is only a small part of our huge work, which we managed to do within four years, and there is even more to be done, given that Astana will only expand and increase and so will the number of SMEs. We all have a lot to do. Especially this year Astana will celebrate its 20th anniversary. There will be a huge influx of guests, both from various parts of our country and from abroad, and so the demand for various services will grow, and we should be ready to provide them. After all, the evaluation and opinion of the public does not only influence our work - the level of service will influence the evaluation of our capital and the country as a whole.

    Information source: "Каждый третий житель Астаны занят в МСБ”

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