Inter-Parliamentary Assembly to Discuss the Problem of Free Trade in the CIS
Today, March 3, 2000 the 15th meeting of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (IPA) will be held in St. Petersburg. According to parliamentarians, the Assembly will consider the results of the Parliamentary election conducted in some CIS countries. Thereupon new Speakers of both Houses of the Kazakhstani Parliament and the new Parliament Chairman of Armenia will participate in the meeting for the first time. Russia, being the leader of the IPA, will be represented by Gennady Seleznyov and Yegor Stroyev. Among discussed topics the Assembly will touch the problem of forming the free trade zone within the CIS. This will be the continuation of the main topic of the previous meeting. On May 19 to 20 the IPA meeting will consider concrete measures on synchronization of the tax legislation of states participating in the free trade zone.
The month of Afro-American history started in Almaty with support of the US embassy and the USIS representative office in Kazakhstan.
The first event of the wide-scale program was the concert held in the scene of Kazakhconcert. The Afro-American culture was represented by musical compositions by classics of the 20th century G. Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, and Arthur Teitum who initiated the new trend in music.
In 2000 the Plan on Tax and Non-Tax Deductions to the National Budget will be Fulfilled, the Head of the MSR Believes
In this year the Ministry of State Revenues (MSR) expects tax and non-tax deductions to the Kazakhstani national budget in the amount of 394.6 billion tenge.
According to Kakimzhanov, in January and February 71.2 billion tenge (18% of the annual plan) collected to the budget within the MSR�s terms of reference. This is to times as large as during the same months of the previous year.
The Minister said that the possible reduction in 2001 of the tax burden on enterprises, including VAT rates and social tax depends on how the national budget of this year will be fulfilled.
Kakimzhanov emphasized that in this year the MSR �will try� not to offer the Parliament to change the tax legislation seriously.
In the Minister�s opinion, the main thing is to fulfill the plan on privatization of the state property. If the above-mentioned plan is not fulfilled, Kakimzhanov continued, shortfall by this article �will be covered by strengthened tax collections.�
Astana, March 1
In 2000 Locust will be the Most Serious Problem for the Kazakhstani Economy
The British magazine The Economist states that in 2000 locust will be the most serious problem for the Kazakhstani economy.
Representatives of the country�s scientific circles said the same on March 1 in Almaty. They emphasized that the measures against locusts were to be taken in April.
In the last year locusts threatened to annihilate the harvest at all. However, high air moisture saved us.
Scientists of the Kazakh State Agricultural University think that in 2000 the number of locusts will grew significantly, as the next summer is expected to be dry. In the last year the number of locusts was great � some thousands locusts per 1 square meter.
The last invasion by locusts to Kazakhstan was in 1969 to 1970. That time all agricultural aviation of the former USSR was used to annihilate locusts.
In 1999 the country spent 2.5 billion tenge to fight against locusts. Main part of this money was spent to buy chemical preparations. Scientists say that these chemicals are not efficient, but just do harm to the ecological system of the region.
Almaty, March 1
The ceremony of signing of the grant agreement between the US Agency on international development in Central Asia (USAID) and the Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation held. The total value of the grant is US$ 700,000. It is the first grant that USAID granted to a non-governmental organization (the Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation) without mediators. The objective of the project is to assist civil education aimed to the youth�s active participation in social and political life of the country.
Almaty, March 2
New Investment Summit: the Government�s Logical Move or the Next Ritual Event?
Experts� Opinions are Different
ALMATY, March 2
Against the background of disintegration processes in Central Asia, the forthcoming summit with participation of the Central Asian countries and the Caucasus seems a trial of the President to raise the issue of integration within the CIS. We cannot say that there are some serious mutual investment interests between the countries-participants of Eurasia-2000, though all of them need real investments.
On the whole, the representation of the two regions may help to cope with disintegrating processes in the CIS, Sabit Zhusupov, an expert on the CIS said in his interview to THE GLOBE. Kazakhstan granting a platform, gives countries, as well as itself the chance to attract investors. This is a strong move by Kazakhstan, he emphasized. From the point of view of Kazakhstan itself, the organization of the summit can be called a logical move by the government, which has at last realized that the time of the voluntary investment policy has passed. �The point is that the government decided to insurance investments. For many people it was an unexpected step, but, obviously the fact that Kazakhstan did this to introduce investors will provide success of the event,� he added.
The famous political scientist Nurbulat Masanov, who does not see any �real hidden sense� in the forum, disagrees with Zhusupov. In his opinion, multilateral meetings cannot be seriously treated. Unlike bilateral meetings they are usually unproductive.
�The Summit may have a sense, if it works out intergovernmental mechanisms or any guarantees. But, most probably, its will just declare its positions, about true value of which everybody knows, of course. On the whole, similar meetings resemble to such ritual events, as public wedding ceremony in the church,� Nurbulat Masanov said.
Then he emphasized that since 1992 such forums had zero effect, as they did not affect either political or economic situation in the post-Soviet space. Internal political decisions taken by the political elite are much more significant, Masanov thinks.
A representative of the constructive opposition Pyotr Svoik said it was necessary to create a natural basis for investments inflow, in order neither the Investment Agency nor the President attract them. In his opinion, the Agency is an absolutely unnecessary structure. If the Agency heads the Summit, it may become �a window-dressing�.
�In fact Kazakhstan is not ready for serious investments, in particular the national tenge system cannot �swallow� one-tenth part of investments in dollar required by Kazakhstan,� Pyotr Svoik believes.
To support the country�s infrastructure US$ 8 to 10 billion required. During first years of independence, US$ 13 billion invested to the fixed capital, then there was a collapse. In the last year the government rendered an account for US$ 1.7 billion, he added. To provide 3 to 4% economic growth it is necessary to invest US$ 15 billion per year. Today it is equal to the Kazakhstan�s total GDP, Svoik concluded.
Organizers of the Summit state that it will be unusual for Kazakhstan. Moreover, it will be held under the aegis of the World Economic Forum. Less than in two months we will know its preliminary outcome. Kazakhstan needs serious investments and the government�s decision to insure investments is not occasional. Possibly, this will attract investors who have not worked in the local market before. THE GLOBE will keep you informed.
Note: insurance of investments introduced only on two countries � Albania and Macedonia. In Kazakhstan the government�s decision was recently announced. Possible this was dated for the forthcoming forum. To guarantee insurance the country to receive US$ 100 million from the World Bank, as well as it will involve foreign insurance companies. Apart from others, the list of insurance includes corruption and tyranny of the local authorities.
Convention on international motor conveyance of passengers and baggage
On February 22, 2000 Kazakhstan ratified the Convention of international motor conveyance of passengers and baggage signed on October 9, 1997 in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) by CIS countries.
Provisions of the Convention enlarge upon: 1) carriers of the participating states that transport passengers and baggage by bus independently of a country of their registration and is obligatory for them; 2) transportation of passengers and their baggage by buses, when the transportation contract stipulates that the transportation is in not less than two participating states and either the sending point or point of destination is in the territory of one of the participating states.
The Convention regulates conditions and rules of transportation, responsibility of carriers, order of bringing claims and suits. An integral part of the Convention is the Rules of transportation of passengers and baggage by motor vehicle between participating states that determine the order of organizing and control for transportation.
International conveyances of passengers and baggage by motor vehicle are a licensed type of activity and may be conducted only if carriers have the corresponding license granted by the state registered the bus. Transportation is based on the agreement for mutual regular international conveyances of passengers and baggage to be concluded by carriers of the participating states. The agreement must stipulate tariffs and the traffic schedule previously approved by authorized transport organizations of the participating states.
The transportation rules determine: 1) conditions of closing of the route of regular international conveyances; 2) requirements for drivers and passengers� documents confirming the right to cross the border; 3) conditions and order of registration, storage and issue of baggage; 4) requirements for the form and content of tickets; 5) conditions of sale and return of tickets; 6) responsibilities and rights of passengers, carriers and drivers.
These Rules provide privileged transportation of children: a passenger has the right to take with him a child under 5 free of charge (without a separate seat), if a child is 5 to 10, his ticket sold with 50% discount of the total cost of ticket (and the child has a separate seat). If a passenger takes more than one children under 10, one of them is transported free, the rest � with 50% discount (all of them have separate seats).
In accordance with the Convention, the carrier is responsible for harm to passengers� health or damage caused to baggage during unloading, except force-majeur circumstances and when passengers are guilty. Damage and losses are calculated in the national currency of the participating state, in which territory it was caused.
If any disputable questions regarding international conveyance emerge, the passenger has the right to appeal to court of the participating state where the event that caused damage or loss happened, or to courts situated at the carrier or passenger�s juridical address, as well as at sending or destination points of the passenger, according to the Convention on law consulting and law relations regarding civic, family and criminal cases dated 22.01.1993.
You may get the detailed information on any law issues and qualified services in the Almaty office of the law firm LEX ANALITIC. Tel./fax: 631-711, tel.: 637-226.
E-mail: [email protected]
Lawyer of LEX ANALITIC
State Racket Strangles Kazakhstani Businessmen
There are 60 Bodies Supervising Businessmen in the Country
Since February 29 the General Office of Public Prosecutor started the event �Functionary and Businessman� (THE GLOBE #13, 22.02.2000). the event is supposed to determine that circle of problems emerging between the state and businessmen.
Today there are 60 state bodies that are entitled to examine entrepreneurial activity. The parliamentarian Gani Kasymov called these examinations real state racket that is significantly more dangerous than criminal racket, as the state racket has all required information of their potential victim. In his opinion, we need a thorough juridical expertise of all laws concerning businessmen.
The leader of Azamat movement Pyotr Svoik thinks that to conduct proper examinations three bodies are enough. These bodies are to be financed only by the state.
A representative of Almaty business circles said that a group of businessmen sent a letter to the President of Kazakhstan. The letter touches problems of Kazakhstani businessmen and obstacles that prevent small and middle-sized business from developing.
Businessmen also appealed to the Akim of the southern capital Victor Khrapunov requesting him to hold up dismantling of commercial booths in Almaty. In their opinion, this will sharpen the social-economic situation in the city. According to preliminary estimations, about 30,000 families will find themselves in the street, as these people will become unemployed , replenishing the number of unorganized sellers or criminals.
THE GLOBE asked Munavara Paltasheva, the executive director of the Almaty Association of Businessmen to comment on the issue.
Paltasheva said that such a number of supervising and inspecting bodies complicates significantly normal functioning of enterprises.
The main nonsense is that the above-mentioned bodies are governed by rules and provisions worked out in the Soviet time. In particular, the so-called �planned penalties� are still valid. Every inspector has to fulfill this plan. We may draw an analogy with the plan of a sobering-up station: it must to arrest a definite number of drunk people. It is not surprising that all inspectors, firemen, etc. are so �objective�, said Munavara Paltasheva.
In fact, it is always possible to find a infringement, for which businessmen have to pay a penalty. The reason for this is that instructions were issued long ago. Another explanation of often and one-sided inspections is a low salary of inspectors, Paltasheva thinks. Having such salaries they are eager to survive. They hardly have any patriotic thoughts of replenishing the national (but not their own) budget.
That is why, despite everything, racket remains racket, and businessmen still appeal to the country�s leaders, and �Functionary and Businessman� event to be held in the southern capital.
Kazakhstan in February
ALMATY, March 1 (THE GLOBE)
Since that day Kazakhstan temporarily hold on the agreement on acknowledgment of CIS visas that provides the transit passage of foreign citizens through Kazakhstan. Since February foreign citizens having visas of CIS countries can go through Kazakhstan only if they have Kazakhstani transit visas.
The National Bank announced that the volume of deposits was 168.9 billion tenge, i.e. about US$ 1.2 billion. In comparison with the previous year this index more than doubled. The unit weight of hard currency deposits remains at the level of 48.1%.
The visit of the IMF working mission completed. Its objective was to realize the three-year program, according to which Kazakhstan is to gain loans of US$ 450 million.
The Prime Minister who received representatives of the mission explained that measures to restrict the oil export had been taken in favor of the domestic oil market.
The chairman of the Eurasian Bank Alexander Mashkevich officially confirmed that he had received US$ 55 million from the Belgian company Tractebel in 1996. According to Mashkevich, it was payment for services by Albeli group which he headed that time. Mashkevich said that some Kazakhstani functionaries purposefully spread all rumors regarding his concern in the scandal with bribes, as they do not want him to work in the local market.
Three men arrested in Almaty. They tried to sell 530 gr. of uranium. The KNB department o Almaty and the Almaty oblast announced this. Initially special services withdrew about 30 gr. of uranium from a citizen of Kazakhstan, when he tried to sell it. Later, according to the KNB officers, they arrested other two participants of the criminal group, who kept uranium in the yard of a private house in Almaty.
The trial for the illegal sale of MIGs to North Korea completed. The court completely acquitted the commander of the Kazakhstani General Headquarters Bakhytzhan Yertaev. The other accused � the businessman Alexander Petrenko amnestied and liberated. A part of the article, according to which the businessman was accused, was changed. According to the court sentence, the accusation by the article 250 part 3 �Contraband of things with restricted circulation conducted by an organized group� was changed with the part 1.
After the two-month interval the sea ferry between Baku and the Caspian port Aktau (western Kazakhstan) recommenced. The ferry was closed to prevent terrorists� penetration in Kazakhstan. According to officials of the oblast department of the Kazakhstani KNB, peaceful people, mainly women and children from Chechnya came on the first ferry. A special registration regime remains valid for refugees from Northern Caucasus.
The plane captured by Afghan terrorists representing the opposition landed in Aktobe to refuel. This was the first similar event in Kazakhstan. Hi-jackers demanded to liberate the former governor of Harat Ismail-Hana who was taken prisoner by Taliban. Later terrorists surrendered to the British authorities.
The chairman of Russian Community Yuryi Bunakov and the ataman of Semirechye Cossacks Vladimir Ovsyannikov offered to hold meetings similar to the one held in Astana demanding to join Kazakhstan to the Russian-Belarus union. The Russian leaders explained their demands that Kazakhstan will not be able to cope with the crisis alone. Mainly Russian population of the republic supported this demand. According to different polls, Kazakhs are categorically against of this joining.
The national meeting of agricultural workers held in Astana. The President participated in the meeting. Nursultan Nazarbaev emphasized that the situation with cattle-breeding was the most dangerous. He said that it was important to work out mechanisms of financial support, to renew agricultural technique, as well as to improve the legislation concerning law of property.
At the broadened meeting of the government the Finance Minister Mazhit Yesenbaev announced that in 1999 the budget had gained 35.8 billion tenge from privatization of national property, while it had been planned to earn 61.2 billion tenge. Yesenbaev mentioned the belated sale of shares organized by ministries and underpayment for sold objects, as reasons for non-fulfillment of the plan.
At the meeting with the director of the Indian Oil and Gas company ONGC, Prime Minister Tokaev announced that Kazakhstan was not interested in sale of the Alibekmola deposit, which was the country�s strategic reserve. The PM said that Indians could participate in exploitation of two oil blocks on the Caspian shelf.
The program on cooperation between UNISEF and the Kazakhstan�s government was officially signed in Astana. The main objective of the program is to reduce maternal death rate in our country, to seek ways to settle problems regarding children�s upbringing. The program will be realized in 2000 to 2004. According to a UNISEF spokesman, the fund renders financial aid to schools and children in the Aral region.
After the 4-months prohibition, the rocket Proton again started from the space-vehicle launching site Baikonur. Kazakhstan banned the prohibition only after Russian took measures to liquidate reasons for the July and October accidents. By April, when regular commercial launches will start from Baikonur, Kazakhstan will receive first hard currency revenues. It is supposed that Russia will pay US$ 300,000 not later than 30 days before each launch.
In Orenburg (Russia) the two-day meeting of authorized representatives of regional national-cultural autonomies of the Russian Federation completed. They established the organizing committee to create the Federal Kazakh National-Cultural Autonomy in the Russian Federation. This autonomy of Kazakhs will be the ninth among the similar autonomies in the Russian territory.
The Kazakhstan�s National Bank international reserves increased and as of February 15 at current prices were as follows: gross reserves � US$ 2006.2 million; net reserves � US$ 1550.6 million. At constant prices the gross and net international reserves grew by 1.2% and 1.7% respectively. The growth of the international reserves was predetermined by the growth of currency reserves by US$ 22.6 million and gold assets � by US$ 46.3 million.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev announced that Kazakhstan would never join any unions inside the CIS, including the Russian-Belarus one. Nazarbaev also said that neither oblast nor district Akims would be elected by local population soon. However, Akims of small regions and villages will be appointed by election.
The first meeting of the intergovernmental commission on delimitation of the Uzbek-Kazakhstani border 2,950 km in length completed in Tashkent. The commission determined maps and documents to be used. According to Kazakhstan, in 2000 the country will settle all border problems.
The deputy of the Finance Minister Yerbolat Dosaev said that they had decided to hold up privatization of regional power companies (RPC) until April 1. According to Dosaev, this decision was taken, as it is required to elaborate the privatization conception of RPC. The deputy of the Minister of Energy, Industry and Trade Dukenbaev announced that the rest power companies would be privatized till the end of the year.
At the plenary meeting, the Senate ratified a number of international agreements, among which the memorandum on mutual understanding between the Kazakhstani government and the government of Saudi Arabia seems the most interesting. According to agreements approved by parliamentarians, Saudi Arabia will allot US$ 15 million for construction of the new Senate building, while Kuwait � US$ 10 million to complete the construction of the capital Akimat building.
The Karaganda oblast Akimat decided to restore the technical resin plant in the town of Saran. The enterprise is to be put into operation in June. By the end of this the plant is planned to work at capacity. At present Kazakhstan has to buy technical resin abroad, spending hard currency.
President Nazarbaev signed the Decree on establishing the Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on fighting against drug addiction and drug business. The Agency will be the central executive body not included in the Kazakhstan�s government. It will monitor the circulation of drugs, form and follow the national policy and to prevent the illegal drugs turnover.
For Kazakhstan the project of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) that provides the construction of the oil pipeline from western Kazakhstan to the Russian port Novorossiisk is the priority oil route. The Prime Minister Kasymzhomart Tokaev announced this. According to Tokaev, the CPC project �is the most realizable.� The capacity of the CPC first line will be 28 million tons p.a., later the capacity will come to 67 million tons.
President Nazarbaev met the Russia�s Minister of Fuel and Energy Victor Kalyuzhny. The main issue that they discussed was the creation of the single fuel-energy balance for Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Within the ministries they plan to establish the joint working group. Besides, they discussed widening of the oil pipeline Samara-Atyrau.
Kasymzhomart Tokaev announced that Kazakhstan would introduce the visa regime with all CIS countries, except Russia. According to Tokaev, soon the visa regime will be introduced with Uzbekistan, by the initiative of this country. In the previous year during special events to find people who illegally came to Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs made answerable 16,000 foreigners. 2,500 foreigners expelled.
President Nazarbaev spoke at the next meeting of the OSCE Council in Vienna. Kazakhstan offered the OSCE cooperation on struggling against extremism and terrorism. Nursultan Nazarbaev asked the OSCE to pay attention not only to problems of democracy, but also to the economic stability in Central Asia. Regarding the visit, the Kazakhstani Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that Kazakhstan knows the political situation in Austria and the rigid position of the EU ad some other countries in this regard.
The famous opposition member, the leader of Orleu movement Seidakhmet Kuttykadam fell into a �bath� story. Unknown blackmailers shot a film when he was in a bath with a woman. They demanded US$ 50,000. Kuttykadam said that the woman was his beloved and his family knew that. He called the story intrigues by special services who wanted to debar him from political life.
The 22-years-old citizen of Shymkent Alisher Orazaliev who was kidnapped on July 10, 1999 and escaped from Chechen captivity appeared in Moscow.
The Minister of Agriculture Mynbaev offered to cheapen the cost of oil products for the sowing campaign by means of collection royalty in kind. He said that most oil companies exported oil at too low prices.
The Russian air-space agency declined the offer by Kazakhstan to pay 3 to 5% of the value of space launches and US$ 300,000 as an ecological fee. Astana will try to press Moscow restraining launches of some Russian rockets.
All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
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