Kazakhstan Aims to Change Its Investment Climate Fundamentally: Expert

Kazakhstan, Astana, 22 May/ corr. Trend K. Konirova/ Kazakhstan plans to change its tax policy in the sphere of oil production, said an international lawyer on the oil transactions of one of the law companies who wanted to remain anonymous to Trend in Astana while commenting on the statement of the minister of finance Bolat Jamishev on the introduction of the export and customs dues on oil for the natural resources users whose contracts indicate stabile tax regime.

"It is not a surprise move, the government of Masim Karimov was planning it from the early start and the Vice Premier Daulet Ergojin, the initiator of the innovations on toughening tax burden, has never denied it. They plan to introduce a due for the foreign companies after it turns out to be successful in the Kazakh companies. Both society and investors are ready for it psychologically. Now bargaining will begin on the rates of this due for the companies who have signed PSA. If compromise is reached, this issue will be solved quickly, but if not, political speculations will begin," the expert said.

According to expert, the tax and custom stability were the last bonus that the investors had.

"Now everything will depend on the profitability of the projects and if it turns out to be quiet high for the government, 30%-40% on average, it is more than in the neighboring Russia. Accordingly, the business will remain highly remunerative and main players will not be able to do anything about it. They will yell, criticize, but they will accept it in the long run as it is mild option of the 'resource nationalization' as compared to the other countries rich in oil. Moreover, the participation of the multinational corporation in our market is not only their own business task, but also the continuation of the geo-policy of their native powers (U.S. and EU) and it is vital for them to maintain the balance of their participation in the division of the a strategic 'pie'," he said.

According to expert, only realization of the government's plan rouses censure.

"They act lubberly, rashly and without law which causes right criticism," a lawyer said.

On 22 May, the minister of finance of Kazakhstan Bolat Jamshiyev stated that he does not rule the introduction of the export dues on oil for the natural resources users from 2009 whose contracts indicate stabile tax regime.

"The dues are introduced with restrictions in our country at present. It means that this due does not concern those whose contracts indicate stability. From 2009, these restrictions are expected to be eliminated in line with the Tax Code," the minister said while answering the questions of the MPs.

Earlier Jamshiyev stated that the domestic and foreign natural resources users excluding those who work on PSA and whose contracts indicate stability on export dues, will pay custom dues. "KazMunayGaz is one of the companies who is influenced by the dues," the minister said and added that the export dues will not concern Tengizshevrol (developing Tengiz and Korolevskoye) and Karachaganak Petroleum Operating (develops Karachagan field) 'whose contracts indicate stability'.

On 17 May, dues were introduced for the export of oil in Kazakhstan. The rate of the customs dues on export of the crude oil has been fixed at $109.91 for a ton and $27.43 for a ton for the payers of the rental taxes for the export of the crude oil and gas condensate.

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