Investment Bodies in Kazakhstan
The principal state body overseeing investments in the Republic of Kazakhstan is the Committee on Investments within the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Among other things, the Committee on Investments is charged with negotiating and concluding investment contracts with investors pursuant to the Law on Investments.The conclusion of subsoil use contracts, however, is the responsibility of the Ministry of Oil and Gas (and, in certain cases, the local executive authorities). An entity known as Kazinvest is responsible for promoting investment in Kazakhstan. Formerly known as the State Enterprise Kazakhstan Investment Promotion Center, Kazinvest is now a joint stock company 100% owned by the state.
In 2003 Kazakhstan adopted the Law on Investments which replaced the Law on Foreign Investments and the Law on State Support for Direct Investments.This law equalized the rights of foreign and domestic investors, while reducing or eliminating a number of the guarantees previously available to foreign investors. In particular, the Law on Investments eliminated guarantees against adverse changes in legislation (the so-called “grandfather” clause) and guarantees of international arbitration in the absence ofan arbitration agreement.The Law on Investments retains the following investment guarantees: stability of contracts (with certain exceptions), free use of income, transparency of state investment policy, reimbursement of damages in the event of nationalization and requisition, and certain others.
State Support for Direct Investment
The Law on Investments creates a system of benefits and preferences supporting direct investments in priority types of activity, the full list of which is approvedby the Government(examples include certain types of production of equipment, agriculture and construction). Local companies engaged in a designated priority activity may be eligible for benefits and preferential treatment and may receive, depending on the circumstances:
• an exemption from customs duties on imported equipment required forinvestment projects (the exemption can be granted for up to 5 years);and/or
• state grants in-kind (land plots, buildings, equipment, machinery, etc.)
To receive the investment benefits, a local company must sign an investment contract with the Committee on Investments. The investment contract should be registered by the Committee.The investments preferences are not available to subsoil users. Prior to 2010, the investment benefits also included a number of tax concessions, such as a corporate income tax exemption for up to 10 years (or, if certain tests were not met, accelerated straight-line tax depreciation for up to 10 years), as well as property tax and land tax exemptions for up to 5 years.With the adoption of the new Tax Code of Kazakhstan, these tax concessions were eliminated. Earlier contracts, however, will remain in effect through the end of their terms. The new Tax Code replaces the above tax preferences with an automatic right for local companies to accelerated straight-line tax depreciation of fixed assets which meet certain criteria.The tax payer is not required to make any specific new investments in order to obtain this right, other than to acquire the assets.