The topic of Kazakhstani investments in the Kyrgyz market does not cease to be relevant. Well, interestingly, the Kazakh businessmen themselves, who have already settled in or are still eyeing Kyrgyzstan, think about this. We conducted a survey and agreed on the anonymity of the interviewees, made up the following extract from the points of view we heard.
Kyrgyzstan can be very attractive in terms of investment by the state. If you resort to the rhetoric of Kazakhstani state financial top-managers, who are currently implementing the strategy of industrial-innovative development, then in Kyrgyzstan you can organize a number of fairly serious cluster production, which are able to bring good income to the state without any oil. This, for example, is a tourist cluster based on the presence of picturesque mountains and lakes in Kyrgyzstan, as well as the pearls of all of Central Asia - the high-mountainous Issyk-Kul lake, several agricultural clusters, mining and processing clusters, construction and so on. In addition, according to Kazakhstani businessmen who are already doing business in Kyrgyzstan, there is a convenient financial regime in the country contributing to the increase in invested funds. Let's not forget about cheap electric power industry, about the most advanced Internet connection available to a wide range of users today. And if you call things by their own names, people who are not spoiled by high incomes and are easily motivated to work by offering only a small package of instruments of motivation adopted in Kazakhstan - a stable, albeit low by Kazakhstan standards, income.
However, all our interlocutors are convinced of this, all advantages are crossed by the high level of political risks, as well as the inclination of Kyrgyz officials to corruption and official crimes. But the latter, by the way, is little capable of scaring the "wolves" of Kazakhstan's business, faced with similar phenomena in their homeland, so the "hairy" paws of the Kyrgyz Bastiques are more likely patriots of Kyrgyzstan who do not want such representatives of the government to disgrace once again country before strangers.
So, political risks remain too high even by the standards of the post-Soviet space. Businessmen who spoke with us, as one asserts, investments in the economy of Kyrgyzstan can grow 2-3 times, if at least someone will guarantee their safety. Kazakh businessmen are afraid of one - the next coup in the country, as a result of which a new government will come with insane ideas of nationalization of everything and everyone. Therefore, they are closely monitoring the situation around the Kambarata hydropower plants. The promotion of the bill on them is a kind of indicator, a litmus test that will show whether it is worth dealing with Kyrgyzstan and its politicians in general, whether it is possible to make long-term plans and raise serious production in the country.
And the matter is moving with creak. Thus, it was noted that on June 19, when the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan approved the draft law “On the construction and operation of the Kambarata hydropower stations -1, 2”, opposition deputies pointedly left the meeting room and refused to participate in the voting procedure. In addition, the adoption of the bill caused a negative reaction from representatives of some youth organizations in the country, expressed in the next public protest, which took place on June 29 near the parliament building. Especially not understanding the reasons for the protest, Kazakhstani businessmen believe that in any case it was not worth the vote in the absence of opposition deputies. Tomorrow they can seize power and repeal the law on the Kambarata hydropower stations, as adopted by the "enemies of democracy." And how do they settle with investors, and will anybody pay them off at all?
Politicians in Kyrgyzstan, in the opinion of Kazakhstani businessmen, are doing everything possible to scare away potential investors, while existing ones are thinking about winding up business and leaving the country. As already reported, this opinion is also shared by a number of experts in the field of attracting investment from abroad. They believe that some parliamentarians and government officials are doing or are capable of doing great damage to their own economy just because they are not sufficiently aware of the rules of the world economy, the financial market and the rule of law.
The situation with the Kambarata hydropower plants clearly demonstrates the desire of individual politicians (or who consider themselves as such) to build a negative image of investors. All these hints of unscrupulousness of foreign businessmen, sometimes turning into blatant accusations, all this debate around recognized financial institutions that have decided to turn some of their attention to Kyrgyzstan, are undermining the already far from fertile concrete confidence of foreign investors in Bishkek.
It came to a warning issued to the leadership of the Kyrgyz Republic by the International Business Council, which unites several dozen large companies, organizations and investors, whose contribution to the Kyrgyz economy exceeds $ 1 billion. It was made after the Kyrgyz parliament approved the draft law “ On bringing some issues of development and production of gold deposits into compliance with the legislation of Kyrgyzstan ”. IBC members engaged in direct investment in the mining sector of Kyrgyzstan “are considering the suspension of their activities in Kyrgyzstan due to the emergence of expropriation risks in this and other areas of the country's economy”.
The topic of nationalization of enterprises is worried not only by the International Business Council, specifically large Kazakhstani businessmen who are going to or are already investing heavily in the economy of Kyrgyzstan (remember, the total direct Kazakhstani investments have long exceeded $ 400 million), but also diplomats. In general, she expressed concern at the possibility of the nationalization of mining enterprises by the Canadian Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Mrs. M. Skok, at a meeting with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Ednan Karabaev. Her theses were reproduced a little later by diplomats from Kazakhstan and the United States.
The businessmen interviewed by us support their compatriot, Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Umirzak Uzbekov, who believes that “a weak legal protection of investments is a serious threat to business in Kyrgyzstan”. The bureaucracy, the full control of the state apparatus over the business, the deprivation of licenses - this is not a complete list of what complements the possibility of new political upheavals in general, and all this again and again makes you think about the safety of your money in Kyrgyzstan.
On the one hand, our interviewers understand that it is difficult to demand from the country's leadership to perform a miracle and build a civilized state in the short period of time that passed after overcoming the political crisis and residual convulsions. On the other hand, they say: at least let us feel that you respect us and our money. But, alas, Kyrgyz politicians, in their opinion, are engaged only in those who set up the people and themselves against foreign investors.
What can be the expansion of investments in these conditions, Kazakhstan businessmen ask? At best, everything will remain at the same level, at worst - some financial institutions may well decide to wind down projects in Kyrgyzstan and look for a quieter place, for example, in Georgia or Ukraine, countries that have also gone through revolution, but are gradually increasing the pace of state-building and stabilization of the economy. .