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  HOME | Business & Economy (Click here for more)

Kazakhstan to Widen Social Safety Net, Increase Microlending

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev presented on Monday several “large-scale social projects” aimed at expanding the Central Asian country’s “social unity even more.”

These are “new social initiatives aimed at further improving the welfare of every citizen of Kazakhstan,” Nazarbayev told a joint session of the two houses of Parliament: the Mazhilis and Senate.

The new measures include a doubling of soft loans for small businesses to $62 million (50.2 million euros) and an offer of special incentives for rural entrepreneurs.

Nazarbayev also decreed mortgage regulation, limiting the lending rate to 7 percent (currently around 16 percent) and extending the duration to 25 years from the current 20.

The government has agreed on an income tax cut from 10 percent down to 1 percent for people with salaries of less than $187 per month (about 150 euros), which the president said would directly benefit more than 2 million people.

Nazarbayev also ordered the construction of a new gas pipeline to be built from Kyzyl Orda Region to Astana via the cities of Zhezkazgan, Karagandy and Temirtau, to make gas more accessible to central and northern Kazakhstan.

The Kazakh leader said the state would award 20,000 scholarships to students of higher education in addition to the existing 54,000 grants for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Nazarbayev also announced the construction of new dormitories to accommodate some 75,000 students in partnership with the private sector.

 

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