KAZAKHSTAN

KAZAKHSTAN-IN-BRIEF

February 25, 12:00. Almaty. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kasymzhomart Tokaev, will address the members of the American Chamber of Commerce*. The main theme of his speech - the investment climate in Kazakhstan and steps the government is taking to increase further foreign investment. After Tokaev’s speech, the US Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Richard Jones, will speak. The business roundtable meetings are reserved exclusively to members of the American Chamber of Commerce. The number of attendees tomorrow, strictly reserved at 140 persons.

*The American Chamber of Commerce in Kazakhstan represents the interests of over 70 companies doing business in Kazakhstan, including American, international, and Kazakhstan entities. For further information, contact Diana Brett, Executive Director, Tel.: 58-79-38 or Email: amcham@nursat.kz

Kazakhstani scientists can save the economy of Kazakhstan, heads of the recently created Association of Scientific and technological Organizations of Kazakhstan believe. In their opinion, the orientation to the raw material export does not justify hopes. The volume of the world’s raw material market cedes to the market of up-to-date technologies. Besides, it is subject to crisis, from which countries supplying raw materials suffer most of all.

Today the main problem of non-state scientific and technological organizations is defects of the legislation and unclaimed Kazakhstani science. Though 60% of scientific researches are conducted by the private scientific sector, in fact, standard acts do not mention non-state organizations and academies. Hence, at present the government is preparing a bill on science, as well as the conception in the national scientific policy.

Feb 24 (THE GLOBE)


Eurasia Site Again Presents False Information

ALMATY, Feb 24

(THE GLOBE)

“The information regarding my meeting with President Nazarbaev and the conflict with Galym Abilsiitov are not true,” Pyotr Svoik said in his interview to THE GLOBE on February 23 in Almaty.

We remind you that on Monday Eurasia presented in its site the information concerning “Pyotr Svoik’s agreement with the official authorities.” It states as if Svoik met Nursultan Nazarbaev and that was promised to receive a deputy’s mandate. The author of the article logically concludes on the reason for this meeting: that was the conflict between Svoik and another Azamat leader Galym Abilsiitov.

It is unclear, who needs this roughly fabricated and obvious lie? Evidently, the Eurasia article touches some problems. The point is different: why Eurasia places this lie? Why does Eurasia accumulate false information?

We tried to ask these questions to officials of Eurasia site in Moscow. However, the site does not give any concrete telephone numbers. But some opposition leaders in Almaty so have them. We sent a letter to the e-mail of the center, but did not receive any response.

Comments:

Rozlana Taukina, President of the Association of Independent Media in Central Asia:

The published article is a provocation and it is necessary to find who is interested in it.

Eurasia uses different information.

I personally had a conflict with the site. They published my article violating the breach of copyright. I failed to clarify the situation. It is difficult to prove them anything.

Sergei Duvanov, director of the Independent Informational Agency PoliTon:

Eurasian journalists made an unfortunate mistake. They trusted the source which obviously tripped up them. Eurasia is the only alternative informational source in the country. Authenticity of the information on the site is questionable, but, unfortunately, we do not another one.

Seidakhmet Kuttykadam, leader of Orleu party:

Though some published materials are exaggerated, on the whole I trust publications by the site.

But Eurasia journalists often consider what they want as real things.

They are inclined to “paint” the reality with “pink” color.


Privatization of DPC: not Stoppage, but Modification

The Rest Power Objects to Be Privatized in This Year

Askar DARIMBET

ALMATY, Feb 23

(THE GLOBE)

In the last week media announced that privatization of regional distributive power companies (DPC) is held up until April 1. THE GLOBE asked the deputy Finance Minister to comment on the statement to which the press referred. Yerbol Dosaev explained that his statement was misinterpreted by the society. In fact, he spoke of necessity to elaborate the privatization conception taking into consideration problems caused by the situation at some DPC. The high-rank official of the Ministry of Energy Utegulov added in his interview to THE GLOBE that the holding up is impossible at least because it is impossible to stop privatization of objects that was started in this year. Nurzhan Utegulov said that they continue the work on privatization of DPC. At present they work out rules of the privatization.

Situation clears up

THE GLOBE asked the deputy Minister of Energy, Industry and Trade Kenzhemurat Dukenbaev to comment the situation in details:

“After the new government came, it set the Ministry a task to privatize those power objects, which were still nationalized, including the Ekibastuz Power Electric Station-2 and DPC. At present about one-third of distributive power companies privatized. By April 1 we should systematize DPC’s composition and assets (there are a lot of bankrupts among them).

Thereupon I interpret the announcement by the Finance Ministry as the government’s desire to hold up unorganized privatization, which now takes unwanted forms, e.g. purchase on account of debts, etc. that is why we along with the Finance Ministry are working out single rules of the privatization, as it cannot be just under the process. By the end of the year we should complete the privatization of necessary entities, and we will try to do it until the winter, if possible.

Recently, through mediators, we got in touch with the European Power Commission to place the advertisement on sale of DPC in Financial Times magazine, as foreign companies that have not worked in Kazakhstan can participate in the tender. The tender will be open, and the press will publish rules of the tender. The government plans to sell DPC in the slump as a single organism for oblasts to have an integral power system, as the energy, unlike, e.g. water-treatment, is not of a local character. If we do not find a purchaser for any DPC, we plan to conduct privatization of smaller entities – DPES (distributive power electric stations). This meets the world’s trend, when the consumer becomes the founder.

Until the privatization of distributive companies completed, the true market price of electricity cannot be determined properly. In this regard, the price of electricity is parity, i.e. it determines the real cost of other products. Not only we realize this, recently we received the offer by the EBRD to finance the project by grants. However, most probably, Kazakhstan will reject from the offer, as we should gain an understanding of the privatization of our power industry ourselves.”

What will be future DPC?

The privatization of DPC became especially urgent in 1998, as centralized management methods did not satisfy new owners and foreign managers. That time the society mainly discussed the forms of the further privatization – either the all-round sale of DPC as a single organism or by sections. In August 1998 THE GLOBE held a conference regarding this issue. Representatives of the authority, experts, owners of power companies and heads of DPC participated in the conference.

The former Minister of Energy, Industry and Trade Mukhtar Ablyazov voted for the further privatization of DPC that was held up in 1997. In his opinion, the privatization should have been held only after the corresponding law issued and only partially.

Once the absence of a definite policy resulted in the fact that power companies were sold very cheaply. Some foreign companies bought power production along with DPC. Thus, they possessed the entire “production-transmission-distribution” chain.

That time many people expressed their anxiety that super-monopolies would infringe interests of other participants of the power market. On the other hand, natural monopolists are interested in purchasing DPC, first of all due to non-payments. Most probably, they will be main applicants in the tender. The experience of Almaty Power Consolidated that possesses both production and distribution is significant: the company made progress collecting more money.

Many private companies-producers are eager to buy DPC by the slump. Division into smaller sections – DPES will just increase the cost of electricity, they think.

The new government has been working out the program on privatization of DPC for the period to 2002 since the last year. Its conception needs to be elaborated, representatives of the government stated. We should, of course, take into account experience by foreign countries.

All over the world transfer of the power industry to private companies started comparatively recently. Such developed countries as the U.S.A., the UK, Switzerland and Norway conducted privatization of the power industry only in the late 1980s. China has attracted foreign investments in the amount of US$ 20 billion. Many developing countries also denationalize the power sector. This helps them to make electricity cheaper. At present we may confidently state that the world’s experiment is very successful. However, whatever takes healthy roots in foreign countries, usually does not acclimatized in the former Soviet republics.

Kazakhstan possesses huge primary power resources. Since the Soviet time it inherited a developed transmission and distributive power system. Having started privatization of the power industry, we demonstrated to the whole world our firm intention to create true market relations. What will be further consequences of this privatization for Kazakhstan? THE GLOBE will keep you informed


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