Benefits for some people kill the business of the other - Ospanov

Does the work of officials improve the investment climate? Have the changes in the Tax Code helped the business? Erlan Ospanov, a General Director of an investment group of companies Verny Capital, told about this to a correspondent of LS.

- Recently the Government often talks about the measures aimed at improving the investment climate. Do investors really feel the effect of the measures taken?

- They talk about it too much, but it happens that the measures taken go against these talks. For example, sugar import benefits support low-tech business, but do not allow developing a more technological business for processing corn or wheat. Sure, it is a local problem, but everything is local in business. You cannot speak in general about the business, generalize all the issues. An investor needs in clear transparent rules of the game; predictable and consistent government actions. But in our environment the benefits for some people kill the business of the other. Or let’s consider another example - the Tax Code: it should be based on a principle of certainty in order to avoid double interpretation. But in our country if you ask the taxmen for an explanation, they say "interpret it in such a way", but nobody takes responsibility for such interpretation. There is neither stability nor certainty for business in our country. There is a practice of "advance tax ruling" abroad in the European countries. It means a tax report that has the legal power like a law. It is mandatory, and no one can challenge it. Thus, a European state makes the businesses confident in their future. And it allows companies working without perturbations.

- Has the new Code added any certainty, hasn’t it?

- Look through the Tax Code and see that there are even more links appeared in it. In some issues uncertainty has been even increased in it. And a principle declared that the disputed issues would be considered in favor of a taxpayer has some traps and pitfalls too. First of all, we have to prove that there is a double interpretation. And this is not a solution to the problem.

- What help of the government to business would be the most effective?

- The main thing is not to interfere.

- Do you think the business in our country is ready to save the country's economy from oil dependence?

- I see transit of cargo and passengers have a great potential for Kazakhstan, as well as development of the agriculture. Besides, there are many other industries for growth. Rather, the question is how to implement it.

- What areas of industry can become economic drivers? Being an investor, what spheres would you prefer to invest in?

- Investors consider not only a single industry or an industrial sphere. He can find good opportunities everywhere. Many things depend on how much the state regulators hinder or contribute to successful implementation of the investment projects.

- What areas require special attention?

- Investment opportunities appear when there are some companies on the market that have a potential to increase its value but they are underappreciated. Those investors, who are engaged in direct investments, consider the specific, I mean, particular situations. But as regards portfolio investors, then, of course, digital technologies are rather promising. Globally, all digital companies are now booming. But, in Kazakhstan, electronic trading platforms are growing for the most part. And it's very hard for them to compete with world players.