The Investment Ombudsman Institution in Kazakhstan

Over past years, Kazakhstan has been ameliorating the investment climate through development of instruments of state support stimulation of investments and protection of foreign investors.

The main legal act regulating activity of foreign investors in Kazakhstan is the Law on Investments, according to which, the purpose of state support of investments is in ensuring of a favourable climate for economic development and investment stimulation for creation of new production, extension and modernisation of current manufactures while applying cutting-edge technologies.

The state support provides investment preferences: such as discharge of customs duties, state grants in kind as well as land tax reliefs, corporate property tax for companies, which implement strategic investment projects. Though the Law guarantees protection of investors’ rights, it does not contain instruments for recovery of infringed rights of foreign investors.

In this connection, for the RK Government, a Working group with the Minister of Industry and New Technologies (MINT) in the lead, as well as the National Export and Investment Agency Kaznex Invest have been developing solutions for protection of rights of foreign investors. There have been established Investors Support Centres (ISC) in different regions of the country. Yet, according to Doing Business project (http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings), Kazakhstan ranks 22nd in relation to investor protection ranking table. In order to improve its rating position, Kazakhstan has to overcome a number of economic and legal reforms in the area.

The issue of foreign investment protection is of interest for the most diverse sections of society and discussed in the mass media. Along with other instruments the ISC raise an issue on necessity for adoption of an investment ombudsman institution in Kazakhstan the main functions of which will be consideration of applications forwarded by foreign investors and pre-trial investment dispute settlement between foreign investors and state authorities.

The instrument for protection of foreign investors’ rights is used successfully in many developed countries. However, it is crucial to generate the legal basis for regulation of investment ombudsman activity as a state body, which will be consistent to and effective within the framework of Kazakhstan. It is important to determine the objectives for the investment ombudsman, his rights and powers, which would allow him solving effectively the investors’ issues.

So far as the legal act regulating the activity of investment ombudsman in Kazakhstan is still under development, at the MINT’s initiative it is also considered the need for creation of permanently acting Commission at the RK Government, which could be able to adopt measures into practice for investment stimulation and investors’ protection today.

Gaukhar Abdigaliyeva

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