Almaty. June 19. KazTAG - Tulkin Tashimov. Recently Kazakhstani entrepreneurs got the right to mark their products according to the international standards within the Customs Union, with this they will be able to transport them throughout Russia and Belarus without any delays. Along with this, in order to boost payment discipline, the government plans to increase administrative fines for entrepreneurs by 2-3 times. Business community has not had time to response to the innovations yet.
However, according to some observers expansion of sales market within the Customs Union is believed to bring more minuses rather than pluses.
Timur Nazkhanov, vice-president of the Independent Association of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan told KazTAG about some shades of the Customs Union affecting small and medium business of Kazakhstan.
-Recently some mass media sources reported the information that Kazakhstani entrepreneurs would be able to mark their goods according to the international standards within the Customs Union, it would provide unity of measurements and lower administrative barriers. Is it good news for Kazakhstani business?
-Theoretically, of course, it is good news. But taking in account our reality, I don't think it will be easy to register the goods' marking. Who will work on it in the country scale, are there enough labs accredited on the places, or as usually, an entrepreneur will have to go to Almaty, stand in a queue, and pay for each paper officially or non-officially? There are more questions today rather than answers.
-Administrative fines are planned to be increased by 2-3 times in the country. This norm is believed to unify the responsibility of the domestic business according to the norms of other states of the Customs Union. How will it affect Kazakhstani business?
-It is sad news, because without the Customs Union we had incredibly high fines for entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the range of fines pointed in the Code on administrative violations let the officials manipulate with them in their interests.
For many years the business-community has been broaching the question about necessity of reformation of the code on administrative violations, as factually it has an ideology of socialist system, when everything belongs to the state, and consequently, the state bodies regulated and controlled all the enterprises in the country. Today over 90% of enterprises are in the private property in Kazakhstan. However, the controlling-supervising bodies still tend to interfere, and often illegally, into the economic activity of entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, the situation is similar in Russia. The difference is only in the fact that now our norms will be adapted to Russian ones which are tougher. It is not good for our business.
-Authorities often state that the Customs Union has expanded the sales market for Kazakhstani products. How do you think, is Kazakhstani business ready to use it? What are the pluses and minuses for the market expansion?
-Theoretically, yes, within the Customs Union we have received a huge market- almost 170 mln of population. But what can Kazakhstani business bring to this market? As before only crude products. But it relates to the enterprises which are in the category of big business, thus, we cannot talk about the benefits for small and medium business.
Thus, the market expansion brings more minuses than pluses, at least, for small and medium business.
According to the Statistics Agency, in the beginning of 2012 the sales volume to our partners in the Customs Union was twice lower than the volume that we bought. In 2 months of 2012 export volume lowered by 21%, import increased by 29%.
Upon that, as usually, Kazakhstan has been selling crude products: oil, metals, fertilizers and grain. We have been buying finished products: cars and equipment, food products, lubricants, metal products.
-At the same time the Customs Union has intensified competition from the side of Russian and Belarus manufacturers. Is Kazakhstani business ready to oppose the competitors, and even win in the competitive battle?
-In most cases Kazakhstani business is uncompetitive at the common market of the Customs Union. The first 3 years of work of the integration union demonstrated this. Big Russian companies buy fish, milk for low prices from us, then they sell the same fish and processed milk products to us for higher prices.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture set tough quota for fishing. How can Kazakhstani business compete with Russian and Belarus manufacturers whose credits have been subsidized by the government?
The government, heads of the state bodies periodically declare about the measures taken to support the small and medium business. However, the analysis of trade results between the CU states has demonstrated, what this state support is like in reality.
Our country purchases meat, milk products, lubricants, sugar and glass from Belarus and Russia.
Can't we produce these goods?
-In which case Kazakhstani business will be able to use the advantages brought by the Customs Union? What should be done for this?
-Kazakhstani business will be able to use the advantages of the Customs Union only in case of real state support. As for now, all the state programs, allocated funds have not reached the companies, which are ready to work on it. Current business-climate does not motivate the business to produce. It is easier, even in the conditions of the Customs Union with higher import fees to import goods from abroad rather than produce them domestically.
All the licensing procedures must be considerably decreased to make the business develop. A businessman mustn't ask the government for a permission to do this or that type of business. All the procedures created by officials eventually result in corruption and shade business.
Today there are no customs posts at the border with Russia, however, the functions of customers, tax inspectors have been delegated to the frontier guards. We have been receiving complains from many regions about illegal actions of our frontier services.
Thus, unplanned checks by controlling-supervising bodies must be stopped. A year ago then officials from the Prosecution General had to declare the following fact: the number of unplanned checks made up over 90% of all the checks. Thus, here it is necessary to leave 2-3 state bodies, which have power to hold the checks. Others must be separated from this crib. In this case it will be easier for the prosecution to control illegal checks.
-Thank you for the interview.