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  • Every third resident of Astana is employed in SMEs

    Established to strengthen the negotiating power of business with the Government and state bodies, "Atameken" - the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan - will celebrate its fifth anniversary this autumn. In 14 regional centers of the country as well as in Astana and Almaty, the regional Chamber of Entrepreneurs was also established. On the eve of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Astana, the director of the Moscow Chamber Gani Tasmaganbetov told about the work of the non-profit organization in an exclusive interview. Our meeting was held on the basis of the annual conference of entrepreneurs.


     

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

    - The Astana Chamber of Entrepreneurs unites more than 100 thousand sites of small and medium business (including 256 medium businesses, 36 587 - small businesses, 63 921 - individual entrepreneurs). In other words, 325 thousand of Astana citizens are employed in SMEs, this is 31 thousand more than in 2016. If we take into account that as of January 1, 2018 the population of Astana was 1 million people, it turns out that every third citizen of the capital is involved in SMEs. All this became possible thanks to the development of lending, the creation of business servicing centers and the training of the public on the basics of business.

    For all the years of the Chamber's work, more than 4,000 Kazakhstan residents who wished to receive consultations on starting and running their business have been assisted.

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

    As a result, all the favorable conditions created for the development of SMEs have a multiplier effect. In 2017, GRP increased by 12%, and there was a significant increase in revenues to the country's budget from Astana - KZT900 billion. 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 a significant parts of the structure of SME capital take services - 33%, trade activities - 32%, construction - 11%, transport and warehousing - 6%.


     

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

    With regard to unscrupulous officials, with the Chamber's participation, 2 private court decisions were issued to bring them to disciplinary responsibility, 6 state employees were brought to disciplinary responsibility 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 jewelry 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 norm on the obligation to pay cadastral value when changing the purpose of land. In other words, the dynamics of 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 dynamics of decline in appeals and complaints to the Chamber of Entrepreneurs in the city of Astana annually by 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 Center. 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, 5 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 is 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 on (through) auction, red lines. All this makes the work of SMEs easier on the way to accessing the necessary information.

    The second project allowed achieving allocation of free areas for trade, public catering. 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 formed due to the results of the auction held on March 2, 2018.

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

    The principal issue with ensuring local content in procurement has also been resolved. After all, the question of the share of local content remains one of the topical issues of this field. The share of local content in public procurement in 2016 was 62%, in 2017 - 71%. One of the possible ways to increase import substitution is the need for strict pretender and post-ender 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 content 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 take into account 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 OCPs. 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 center 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 issue of creating a small industrial zone will be solved 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 build 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 expanding the opportunities of entrepreneurs.

    For our part, 7 PPP contracts have been signed to date (6 projects for education, 1 for transport infrastructure), that is, 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, sphere of municipal services - 1, sphere of environmental protection - 1, sphere of construction - 3, LCS-1).

    At the stage of consideration of 12 PPP projects (education sphere - 1 project, healthcare sphere - 1, sphere of energy - 1, sphere of culture 1, sphere of construction of highways - 1, sphere of transport infrastructure - 1, sphere 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: from the centralization of service and maintenance of vehicles to 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 on 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, so the number of SMEs will also continue to grow. 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 different 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 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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