Tuesday, 23 June 2020, 09:34:35
At the government session chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, Minister of National Economy Ruslan Dalenov reported on measures taken to improve the business climate.
As noted by Dalenov, the issue of entrepreneurship development is one of the main priorities.
“The development of small and medium-sized businesses is the main factor in diversifying the economy, ensuring employment, macroeconomic stability, as well as the production of goods and services,” he said.
In the current situation, the support of small and medium-sized businesses is of particular relevance. Therefore, tax incentives have been provided to support small and medium-sized businesses, lending is expanding, and measures are being taken to further facilitate the business environment.
In 2019, the share of small and medium-sized businesses in the economy amounted to 30.8%. Over the past year, small and medium-sized businesses’ production amounted to 31.2 trillion tenge. In the republic, 3.4 million people work in small and medium-sized businesses.
“The adopted reforms to improve the business climate allowed Kazakhstan to rise to 25th place in the Doing Business ranking. To support and develop entrepreneurship, a number of measures have already been taken to improve the business climate. These are tax incentives, reduction of inspections and expansion of lending. A Comprehensive Plan was also adopted to restore economic growth by the end of the year and additional measures to support business. There is a special State Commission,” the minister said.
In the medium term, a new agenda for the development of entrepreneurial activity will be created. A further course for the development of small and medium-sized businesses will be provided for in the new Strategic Plan of Kazakhstan until 2025.
Tax incentive measures
On behalf of the Head of State, from Jan. 1, 2020, micro and small business entities applying special tax regimes were exempted from income taxes for three years.
In various sectors of the economy, before Oct. 1, 2020, tax rates, social payments from the wage fund and property tax were zeroed.
For agricultural lands, by the end of the year, the land tax rate has been reduced to zero. The opportunity to pay VAT by offset for imports in the field of livestock breeding have also been provided.
Until Oct. 1, 2020, the VAT rate was reduced from 12% to 8% for socially significant food products.
Also, until June 1, tax administration and control measures were suspended. For all small and medium-sized businesses, a deferral has been introduced for the payment of all taxes and social payments.
Measures to reduce inspections
On behalf of the Head of State, from Jan. 1, 2020, a moratorium on inspections and preventive control of small and micro-enterprises was introduced for three years. At the same time, until the end of the year new planned tax audits will be conducted for subjects of all business categories.
To protect the rights of entrepreneurs, there is a presumption of good faith of entrepreneurs. This will allow interpreting the discrepancies in the legislation in favor of bona fide entrepreneurs.
Measures to expand concessional lending
The final cost of borrowed funds for entrepreneurs under the programs Business Roadmap-2025 and Economy of Simple Things is now 6%.
In the Business Roadmap-2025, the loan size was increased to 7 billion tenge. The term of the subsidy is 5 years.
Under the Economy of Simple Things, the loan amount is unlimited, and the term of the subsidy is 10 years.
Guarantee tools have been improved. Under the Business Roadmap-2025, guarantees can amount to 85% of the loan amount. In the Economy of Simple Things, guarantee is 50% of the loan amount.
The Business Roadmap-2025 removed industry restrictions. This allows small and medium-sized businesses, regardless of type of activity, to become a member of the program and receive preferential financing.
The Economy of Simple Things has significantly expanded the list of goods and services. The total amount of possible lending under this program has been increased to 1 trillion tenge.
Along with this, the National Bank launched a program of concessional lending to small and medium-sized businesses, without industry restrictions, including for individual entrepreneurs.
Loans are issued for 1 year at 8% for replenishment of working capital. 600 billion tenge were allocated for this program. In general, to increase lending, many restrictions were lifted, mechanisms were simplified, and amounts were increased. The loan portfolio for all programs today amounted to 1.1 trillion tenge. About 16 thousand projects were funded.
Within the framework of the Business Roadmap-2025, a new direction will be launched on behalf of the Head of State. This is micro-lending to micro and small businesses. For this category of business, loans through subsidies will be available at a rate of 6%.
Loans will be provided to replenish working capital of up to 5 million tenge, for production needs — up to 20 million tenge. There will be no restrictions on activities.
“The state will also guarantee up to 85% of the loan amount. Loans will be issued by commercial banks and microfinance organizations. The procedures for subsidizing and guaranteeing loans will be simplified as much as possible. The main goal of the program is to provide maximum coverage with concessional lending to micro and small businesses. A new impetus for the development of entrepreneurship will be the adopted Comprehensive Plan for Restoring Economic Growth and additional measures to support business,” Dalenov said.
The Comprehensive Plan was adopted on May 20, 2020. It provides for tax incentives and simplification of administration, export promotion and import substitution, the creation of the Industrial Development Fund, and more.
In addition, in the Comprehensive Business Offer Plan, additional business support measures have been developed. They were adopted on June 18, 2020, by the decision of the State Commission for Restoring Economic Growth.
The proposals from business representatives from all regions of the country on current issues were systematized.
Additional measures include procurement, Kazakh content, leasing of agricultural machinery, opportunities for refinancing loans, promotion of goods for export and simplification of procedures. In general, measures are aimed at solving current business issues. For all measures, responsible state bodies and organizations have been identified, and deadlines have been set.
“On June 18, 2020, the Parliament adopted a new package of legislative initiatives to improve the business climate. This is already the 8th reform package. The new law is aimed at improving the security of real estate transactions and accelerating the registration of enterprises,” said the minister.
The law also provides for the transfer to electronic format of a number of services, reduction of procedures when connecting technically simple objects when connected to electric networks and construction.
This work was preceded by the adoption of seven reform packages. This allowed halving the number of licenses, introducing self-regulation and halving the list of grounds for business inspections.
Currently, work is underway to formulate a new version of the Strategic Development Plan until 2025. The main guidelines of the new economic course will be determined.
The most important direction of the future economic course will be the “new agenda” of entrepreneurship development:
- Implementation of the institution of regulatory appeal. It is proposed to introduce a mechanism for canceling or suspending acts of central and local executive bodies on appeal following a complaint from entrepreneurs and business associations. That is, decisions that interfere with business can be quickly reversed and corrected.
- Reducing the load from control and supervision. This is a transition to "enterprise diagnostics" from scheduled inspections. Such business diagnostics will be carried out without being held accountable and will reduce the number of scheduled inspections.
To simplify market entry, amount licenses and permits will be minimized.
As part of the digitalization of services, it is proposed to provide full coverage of all services for a business in electronic form.
Work will continue to improve financial measures of state support. The point interaction with the guides of the opinion of SMEs will be strengthened.
Implementation of new medium-term measures will ensure high-quality and sustainable development of entrepreneurship. The measures taken to support entrepreneurship will help strengthen small and medium-sized businesses. The development of competition and the reduction of state intervention in entrepreneurial activity will significantly improve the business environment.
Preferential financing tools will be an important tool for new entrepreneurial initiatives.
“All this will ensure the achievement of the strategic objective — increasing the share of small and medium-sized businesses in the economy up to 35% by 2025,” concluded Dalenov.