Tuesday, 12 May 2020, 11:45:14
At the government conference call chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, the results of the country's socio-economic development and the implementation of the republican budget for January-April 2020 were considered. The Minister of Trade and Integration Bakhyt Sultanov reported on the development of the food industry.
According to the results of the first four months in 2020, there has been a significant decline in domestic trade. Therefore, the physical volume of trade decreased by 8.9% compared to the same period last year.
As the minister emphasized, the main drop in trade volumes was observed in April 2020, which is associated with the introduction of quarantine measures. In general, trade volumes decreased in April 2020 compared with April last year by 34.8%, including retail trade by 44.7%, wholesale trade by 27.8%.
“In connection with the introduction of a state of emergency, the suspension of trading facilities is the main reason for the decline in trade. In the structure of trade, Almaty alone accounts for 40%. The quarantine regime, the closure of the Kazakh-Chinese border, including the suspension of the Khorgos ICBC, led to the largest drop in trade among the regions for the period January-April of the current year,” Sultanov said
According to the minister, akims should pay special attention to the state of infrastructure.
“We need to start building wholesale distribution centers and accelerate the further modernization of trade markets. Within the framework of state programs, long-term financing instruments will be expanded, a ‘reverse scheme’ with retail chains and forward purchases will be developed, and e-commerce will receive a new impetus. At yesterday's meeting of the State Commission, President Tokayev gave specific instructions,” Sultanov said.
However, amid the slowdown in domestic trade, e-commerce has been widely developed. For the first quarter of this year alone, the volume of purchases on Kazakhstani Internet sites amounted to 2.8 million parcels worth 89 billion tenge.
“For instance, in Almaty during quarantine, online sales grew more than 4 times, more than 50 thousand citizens received the necessary goods without violating the self-isolation regime,” the minister said.
E-commerce also stimulates the promotion of Kazakhstani goods to foreign markets. Measures are being taken to support the creation of Kazakhstani digital trading platforms. The program School of Internet Exporter was launched, 50 companies were selected to provide access to the international Alibaba platform.
The foreign trade turnover of Kazakhstan in the first quarter of 2020 increased by 2.7% compared to the same period in 2019 and amounted to $21 billion.
At the same time, the trade balance improved due to an increase in exports by 4.2% and a simultaneous decrease in the share of imports by 0.1%. Indicators of export growth were goods such as mineral fertilizers, sunflower oil, etc.
“The COVID-19 pandemic taught us a real lesson about the need to speed up work to increase the share of non-oil exports in circulation. This will open channels with stable external demand amid a decline in export activity,” the minister said.
In addition, support measures were continued for export-oriented enterprises. In 2020, reimbursement of transport costs of exporters will continue.
Of the 7.7 billion tenge allocated for this measure, 20 applications for the amount of 215 million tenge have already been approved (deliveries of oilseeds, flour, confectionery and overalls to China, the Russian Federation and the EU (Belgium, Latvia).
The Anti-Crisis Center for Support of Exporters is actively functioning, a hotline through a telegram channel has been organized, within the framework of which more than 120 appeals have been examined in two weeks, assistance has been provided with the assistance of experts from relevant ministries and organizations.
“We have prioritized 16 product lines, according to which new solutions will be developed for their promotion, including to new markets. Since the beginning of this year, 39 Kazakh exporters have been supported by Kazakh Export through financial measures, 26 of which during the period of the emergency regime received insurance support of more than 6 billion tenge,” Sultanov said.
In addition, the draft law “On Technical Regulation” to improve the quality of goods and improve certification procedures is currently being considered by the Majilis.