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 Astana, January 25: On January 22 Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov chaired a special session of Government dedicated to the work underway to improve Kazakhstan’s position in the World Bank’s ranking of countries for ease of doing business.
       The annual ranking compares business regulation across national economies worldwide, by assessing how domestic companies are impacted by regulation in ten key areas, including starting a business, getting credit, protecting investors and enforcing contracts. The 2013 tenth annual report (published in 2012) ranked Kazakhstan in 49th position out of 185 economies.
       This was a rise of seven places on the previous year, and positioned Kazakhstan ahead of Poland (55th place) Belarus (58th), Kyrgyzstan (70th), Turkey (71st), China (91st) and Russia (112th). Kazakhstan’s highest ranking across the ten key areas was10th place for the protection of investors, while in relation to starting a business, its ranking improved to 25th place from 55th (primarily due to abolishing the minimum capital requirement and simplifying red tape).
       Nonetheless, there remains room for improvement and the Government of Kazakhstan has in place a broad plan outlining in detail the measures necessary to achieve a further rise in Kazakhstan’s ranking.
       At this week’s meeting, the Minister of Economy and Budget Planning, Yerbolat Dosayev, emphasized the significance of the World Bank rankings both as an indicator of the Government’s work in improving the business climate and as a means of attracting investors to Kazakhstan.
       Prime Minister Akhmetov said that it was essential to continue implementing systematic measures to improve performance, especially on three key indicators: dealing with construction permits and trading across borders, where Kazakhstan was ranked 155th and 182nd, respectively; and getting electricity, where the country ranked 80th, out of the 185 economies surveyed in the 2013 report.
      The Government was updated on progress in reports from the Minister of Finance, Bolat Zhamishev, the Head of the Agency for Construction, Housing and Utilities, Serik Nokin and the Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Bisengali Tadzhiyakov.
      On the issue of construction permits, the Prime Minister instructed regional State Architectural and Construction Supervision departments to improve their work, notably by modernizing the procedures for planning approvals.
      Noting the work already done in the area of trading across borders, the Prime Minister expressed optimism that an improved ranking on this parameter is within reach due to a series of pending reforms. These include the introduction of a single electronic window for export-import operations and a pilot declaration of goods for all customs procedures.
      In relation to the indicator on getting electricity, the Prime Minister said there is a need for major reform to resolve issues with electricity networks, particularly regional electricity companies. However, he emphasized that Kazakhstan is increasing electrical capacity within the threshold levels of tari"s which are e"ective until 2016 and highlighted the focus on the development of the electric energy and power sectors.
     Prime Minister Akhmetov tasked Deputy Prime Minister Yerbol Orynbayev with coordinating the work underway to achieve further improvement in Kazakhstan’s ranking. Collation of the data from national economies is expected to begin at the end of February 2013 for publication of the 2014 report later this year.

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Japan©2013