Almaty, December 4, 2003. Financing
options for small and medium-sized businesses in Kazakhstan have improved
considerably through critical changes to leasing legislation that were
developed with the support of the International Finance Corporation, the
private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and USAID. The amendments to
the Tax Code were enacted by presidential signature on December 1, 2003.
The new amendments remove the key barrier to leasing. Prior to their enactment,
leases had to be written for longer than 80 percent of the useful life
of the equipment, often extending over a period of 10 years or more. Long
leases contrasted with short-term financing opportunities and hindered
investment in the sector.
The new amendments stipulate that all leases meet one of three classifications
set by International Accounting Standard 17 and be at least 36 months long.
In addition, the amendments remove VAT on import and clarified taxation
for leaseback arrangements and cross-border leases. Previous tax advantages
still apply; all leases over three years are exempted from corporate income
tax. The new legal framework has established a strong foundation for leasing
making it a significantly more attractive financial tool, particularly
for small and medium-sized businesses.
Serik Akhmetov, president of the Kazakhstan Leasing Association said, “The
legislative changes will promote a healthy leasing industry, facilitating
the country’s economic development. We expect substantial growth among
existing and the launch of new leasing companies. The leasing sector had
been waiting for these amendments, and the opportunities for expansion
are very favorable now.”
Gorton De Mond, regional representative for IFC in Central Asia, said,
“Kazakhstan has taken a significant step forward by removing the key barrier
to leasing. The new leasing amendments will have a positive impact on investments
in the sector.”
The USAID - IFC Kazakhstan office in Almaty, together with IFC’s Southern
Europe and Central Asia department, launched the Kazakhstan Leasing Project
in fall 2003 with a view to increasing the volumes of leasing transactions
for small and medium-sized businesses. The project works closely with Kazakhstan’s
parliament and government agencies to create an appropriate legislative
environment. It provides training and consulting services to local enterprises
and foreign investors interested in leasing. USAID and IFC have also launched
a public education campaign to educate private enterprises, financial institutions,
and regulatory agencies about leasing. The leasing project marks a new
step in IFC’s cooperation with Kazakhstan, which began after the country’s
IFC’s mission is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing
countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC
finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes
capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical
assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Since its founding
in 1956, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged
$22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries.
IFC’s committed portfolio at the end of FY03 was $16.8 billion.
IFC has long been a champion of leasing for developing and transitioning
economies. IFC has advised 40 countries on leasing and has invested almost
$1 billion dollars in leasing operations in 50 countries over the last
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided economic
and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years.
USAID Assistance to Central Asia helps increase
opportunities to improve citizens' knowledge, livelihoods, participation,
and dialogue in social, economic and political life. Opportunities are
primary health care and energy and water management;
legitimate growth of enterprises and trade, particularly smaller-scale
and in agriculture, including necessary policy reforms and deregulation;
sustainable microfinance institutions that provide credit and business
development services to microentrepreneurs;
avenues of political participation in communities and local government
through strengthened civil society, nongovernmental organizations, and
greater linkages between citizens and their government; and
access to and widened dissemination of independent information so that
a more informed population can effectively participate in civic life.