Government of Kazakhstan to strengthen measures to reduce citizens creditworthiness

It is planned to expand the coverage of citizens with financial literacy courses, as well as to develop legislative amendments to minimize risks in lending and protect the rights of borrowers in Kazakhstan. These issues were considered at the Government session of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Finance Yerulan Zhamaubayev reported that to reduce borrowing of population a number of systemic and operational measures are taken. One of them is the creation of regional project offices in all regions and cities of republican importance, which will work directly with the population.

An important task of the project offices will be to assist citizens in solving such urgent problems as settlement of overdue debts on loans, protection from financial fraud, as well as assistance in bankruptcy, employment and obtaining business support measures.

Another direction is to improve financial literacy of citizens. In particular, the introduction of financial literacy courses for university students is currently under consideration. A special course for schoolchildren is being developed.

Along with this, the republic provides for the procedure of bankruptcy and restoration of solvency of individuals. It can be applied to debts to banks, microfinance organizations and collection agencies.

Citizens have the opportunity to apply through the Central Bank of Kazakhstan, portal, e-Salyq Azamat and eGov Mobile mobile applications. A new information system on bankruptcy of individuals called Qoldau has also been launched. It provides for the possibility of filing an application and automatic verification of the applicant's compliance with the entry criteria. In general, to date, more than 6 thousand citizens have been recognized bankrupt for the amount of debt of more than 9 billion tenge.

Deputy Chairman of the Agency for Regulation and Development of Financial Market Olzhas Kizatov also made a report at the meeting.

Prime Minister emphasized that high indebtedness of the population is an important socio-economic issue.

Thus, as of September 1, the total volume of consumer loans of banks amounted to 9.2 trillion tenge. The average amount of debt per borrower reaches almost 1.5 million tenge, for problem consumer loans is 1 million tenge.

"Some citizens take new loans at higher interest rates to close overdue loans. Thus, they increase their credit burden more and more. Moreover, when they are rejected by the bank, they turn to different microfinance organizations, where lending rates are excessively high. People get into difficult situations because of financial illiteracy," Alikhan Smailov said.

He noted that in this regard, the Head of State instructed to scale the project "Karyzsyz qogam", which is aimed at improving financial literacy of the population, as well as counseling in the settlement of bad debts and employment.

Today 45 thousand people in 8 regions of Kazakhstan have already been trained in the basics of financial literacy. By the end of 2023 training will cover another 60 thousand citizens.

"During the next 3 years it is planned to teach financial literacy to 550 thousand schoolchildren and students, to train more than 8 thousand teachers of schools and universities, to assist 200 thousand borrowers of banks and microfinance organizations. All responsible government agencies and akimats should ensure the implementation of all activities of the project "Karyzsyz qogam," Prime Minister pointed out.

In addition, the Government together with the Agency for Regulation and Development of Financial Market is working on legislative amendments to minimize risks in lending and protection of borrowers' rights.

According to Alikhan Smailov, to radically solve the problems of overcrediting, it is necessary to introduce restrictions on the terms of consumer lending in banks and categories of recipients.

"It is necessary to revise the marginal rates, amounts and terms of lending by microfinance organizations, especially those issuing loans "up to salary". All proposed amendments should be worked out and submitted to Parliament by the end of the year. These measures will limit the excessive growth of debt burden of citizens," he said.

Prime Minister also pointed out that the Ministry of Education should work out the issue of introducing financial literacy courses as part of educational programs, and the Ministry of Science - in higher educational institutions.

"Young people with the entry into adulthood should clearly understand how to properly calculate their financial capabilities, how and what kind of loan to take. This experience is available in many countries," Alikhan Smailov noted.

According to him, one of the tools to solve the problem of excessive borrowing of the population is also the institute of restoration of solvency and bankruptcy of citizens. However, not all debtors have the opportunity to use this procedure.

In order to expand the coverage of problem borrowers, the Ministry of Finance has been instructed to take measures to simplify the submission of documents and improve the procedure of extrajudicial bankruptcy by the end of the year.

"But people should realize that becoming bankrupt does not mean that you will just be written off your debts. This is a serious step, which implies great responsibility and certain restrictions," Prime Minister emphasized.

However, Prime Minister emphasized that Internet fraud in the banking sector has become a burning problem. In general, in recent years there has been a 5-fold increase in the number of such facts.

"Since the beginning of this year more than 15 thousand criminal cases of Internet fraud have been registered. The total damage caused amounted to 13 billion tenge. Of these, 65% were committed by fraudsters from abroad. The Ministry of Internal Affairs together with concerned government agencies and cell phone companies should strengthen monitoring of such cases, as well as promptly respond to citizens' appeals," Alikhan Smailov said.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister pointed out that a rational solution to the issue of the population's indebtedness is the creation of new industries and permanent jobs.

"This will have the most favorable effect on increasing incomes of the population and reducing the indebtedness of the population. In this regard, it is important for responsible government agencies and akimats to accelerate the implementation of planned investment projects, especially in non-resource sectors, as well as the development of new ones," he concluded.

#Alikhan Smailov #The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan #Finance #Government session #President's instruction

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