Kazakhstan: There will be no investments without land

Two years ago, a land commission with a broad public representation started its work in Kazakhstan. Its purpose was to take into account the opinion of the people concerning the use of the main resource of the state – the land. Hundreds of amendments to the Land Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan were developed on the basis of opinions and proposals. In May, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan signed them, and on June 8 they came into force.

One of the main changes concerns the procedure for granting land plots for rent, the correspondent of the “KazakhZerno.kz” newspaper notes. Namely: henceforth akimats will form the composition of land commissions with the expectation that no less than half of their members will be represented by public figures, including members of the “Atameken” Chamber of Entrepreneurs. The composition will be approved for a year, later it will change. The commission will be chaired by the deputy akim, who is in charge of land issues. In addition, each time when considering the issue of renting a site in one area or another, the commission will include two more people – akim of this rural district and one of the inhabitants of the settlement, chosen on the general meeting. This was done to ensure transparency of the procedure for consideration of bids.

By the way, when considering applications, priority will be given to the entrepreneur who will submit the best business plan for work on the land, and will also undertake a responsibility to create new jobs.

Another innovation relates specifically to agricultural land. From now on, such land plots should be submitted to the competition by the akimats with a package of documents already developed for the budget account, including the land project. In addition, information on those to whom the sites are provided should be published monthly. The former rules ordered to disclose this information every quarter.

At the same time, the powers of the authorities for monitoring the use of land have been expanded. Permanent monitoring of the effectiveness of the work will be carried out during the first five years of the lease. This is the observance of crop rotation, maintenance of yields at a high level, prevention of overgrazing of arable land by weeds. In case of violations, the appeal to the land commission will follow. It will take measures then – up to the withdrawal of the land plot.

To prevent the accumulation of a large number of land plots in the same hands, it was decided to set restrictions on the area that can be rented by one entrepreneur. Specific limits will be developed by the government and akimats of the regions.

And what should please absolutely all residents of rural settlements is a ban on leasing land around villages. These lands will henceforth serve to graze the public herd, which will help to resolve the issue of pasture land for private farms. Moreover, akimats now have the right to suspend the lease agreements for such lands with entrepreneurs, and give them to the use of the villagers. By the way, from now on the land in the border zone cannot be rented out for sowing crops as well. Now you can only graze cattle and mow the hay.

At the same time, a moratorium on leasing land to foreigners and legal entities with foreign participation continues to operate in Kazakhstan. Its term is until the end of 2022. After that, a decision will be made whether to extend its action or move in a different direction.

However, entrepreneurs working in agricultural sector are already talking about the difficulties that the country has received because of the imposed restrictions.

And it’s not even that new investors who planned to start work in the AIC of Kazakhstan cannot now invest their money in the industry, since they do not have the right to get land for use. But after all, those companies that previously came to Kazakhstan’s agricultural sector and managed to prove themselves well proved to be in a very complicated situation. After all, if the term of the previously issued lease is over in the period until 2022, they will not be able to extend it.

This was pointed out by Pavel Lushchak, a member of the regional council of the Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Karaganda region, where a meeting was held to discuss the innovation in the Land Code. Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republican Chamber of Entrepreneurs, local authorities and farmers took part in it.

– Foreign investors were invited to the country with a promise of support, – said Pavel Lushchak. – There are joint ventures that have worked for quite a long time and have proved themselves as the leaders of the industry. They leased the land for ten years. And now the situation is as follows: if the lease term ends during the period of the moratorium, they do not have the opportunity to continue their work. What should they do? To give up business and leave? In this case, all sides lose. Moreover, many of them have obligations on loans and leasing.

At the same time, it is impossible to solve the basic issues for the industry without investments. In particular, the renewal of the fleet of agricultural machinery. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, last year the renewal progressed at about 2% per year. Now the agricultural ministry sets the task to raise it to 6%. Though, the world standard is 12%. But it will be very, very difficult to achieve even the half of this amount if investors do not come to Kazakhstan. And even more so, if those, who are already working in the country, will start to leave.

The problem will be studied in the Ministry of Agriculture in the most serious way, Samal Eskalieva, the chief expert of the Department for Land Relations Development and Land Management of the Land Management Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, promised. She notes that the work to improve the land legislation continues, and a new portion of amendments is planned for the next year. Perhaps, they will affect the fate of foreign investors already operating in the country.

– Of course, the position of “Atameken” NCE will be taken into account in the process of work on improving the norms, Samal Eskalievav said. – In the meantime, we see only one way out: a foreign partner temporarily withdraws from the founders of a legal entity. Then it will be able to extend the lease of land.

At the same time, the procedure for extending the lease for Kazakh citizens has been simplified. If an entrepreneur has worked all the time without complaints, if the boundaries of the plot have not changed, then akimats have the right to extend the lease “automatically”, without considering this issue on the land commission.

Sergey Buyanov

“KazakhZerno.kz” newspaper

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