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GOVERNMENT WEEK Kazakh banks step up refinancing program implementation. Saving Aral Sea brings world community together

Astana. May 1. KAZINFORM /Balym Issenova/ Among the main highlighted topics of our Government this week is the matter of energy saving technologies. In his 2008 Message President N. Nazarbayev commissioned to focus efforts on introduction of energy saving and environmentally friendly technologies. The President believes our future depends on the further economic updating and development of basic infrastructure. At this juncture the Kazakh Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources develops new approaches towards the energy saving problem. According to Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Sauat Mynbayev, an effective mechanism to encourage this process and create certain administrative, legal and economic levers which will make domestic commodity producers switch to energy conservation technologies is being created at the moment. The standards of energy consumption per production unit have been developed and approved by the Government. In February 2009 the Government adopted the 1st stage of the Complex Energy Conservation Plan for 2009-2010 which envisages drawing-up of branch and regional plans and activities of energy conservation, introduction of standards and methods of energy consumption accounting, and energy audit of businesses and organizations. The new edition of the Energy Conservation Law is also in the phase of completion now, and a bill on amendments and additions to some other legislative acts is being developed as well as additions to the Tax and Customs Codes and the Laws On Architecture, Urban Planning and Civil Construction in the Republic of Kazakhstan, On Private Entrepreneurship, On Licensing. In the end all these amendments to the legislation are aimed at speeding up the work at all levels and must be primarily targeted to reduction of energy output ratio in a commodity product and in the entire GDP of the country, and eventually lead to a competitive growth of our products. The second issue on the agenda of our Government this week was Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Funds activities. According to K. Kelimbetov KZT 70 bln out of KZT 120 bln allocated for implementation of the third tranche of small and medium business support are disbursed. The Funds Chairman informed that KZT 120 bln are allocated for the program of mortgage loans refinancing. KZT 25 bln out of them are developed by the second-tier banks. He also informed that the Distressed Assets Fund is scheduled to start working in the second half of 2009.As is known, our Government has taken three important measures which, in my opinion, allowed preserving stability of the banking system of the country. The first one is guaranteeing insuring peoples deposits to the amount of KZT 5 mln. The second one was indirect recapitalization of the banks for establishment of the Distressed Assets Fund. And the third measure was direct additional capitalization of the banks. The first and third stages are working to date. It means we have preserved the populations deposits and on the other hand the Government appointed SamrukKazyna one of the stockholders of the four second-tier banks. Thus, there are two main problems of the second-tier banks at present - external debt and worsening of the assets. These problems are solved through direct injection of capital to the banks, K. Kelimbetov said. Our banks activities on refinancing program is at full blast. Alliance Bank JSC has summed up the preliminary results of disbursement on the program of mortgage loans refinancing. So far KZT 3, 49 bln on 977 refinancing applications have been disbursed. 175 applications for mortgage loan refinancing in the amount of KZT 862 mln are being processed by the bank.The Bank conducts daily monitoring over the course of development for timely utilization of the funds allocated by the state for this program implementation. Managing Director of SamrukKazyna National Welfare Fund K. Aitekenov promised six out of ten second-tier banks will complete realization of the program of mortgage lending refinancing till May 15. At the beginning of the week PM K. Massimov held a session on the investment projects of Samruk Kazyna National Welfare Fund. The Prime Minister listened to the information on projects, realized in the electro-energy, oil-and-gas, and metallurgy sectors, chemical industry, the field of pharmaceutics and tourism. The measures, aimed realization of the projects were discussed at the session. The Premier noted that all projects must be aimed at the structural reconstruction and diversification of the Kazakh economy. K.Massimov charged the leadership of the Fund together with the corresponding state bodies to use all opportunities and accelerate the implementation of measures, aimed at stabilizing the Kazakh economy. First Deputy Prime Minister U. Shukeyev participated in a session on the issues of construction and progress of utilization of funds allocated for refinancing of mortgage loans within the framework of the Governments antirecessionary program in Almaty. To date Kazkommertsbank JSC has utilized KZT 6 billion. The rest part of resources will be disbursed till June 1, Bank Executive Nina Zhussupova said. BTA Bank utilized KZT 10 billion out of 40 billion allotted within the refinancing program. Halyk Bank registered 2,250 loans to the amount of KZT 8.12 billion. Out of KZT 24 billion of allocated funds the bank plans to utilize KZT 20 billion till June 1. Alliance Bank has disbursed KZT 5.24 billion that is 38% out of the total amount of allocated funds. Till May 15 the bank intends to utilize 80%. Bank CenterCredit approved 378 loans and utilized KZT 2.56 billion. ATF Bank used KZT 2.5 billion out of 3 billion of allocated funds. The similar performance index is in Temirbank, Kaspi bank and Tsesnabank. U. Shukeyev emphasized that all banks should utilize the allocated funds till June 1. Afterwards interest rates for pending disbursements will be increased. Three banks which are the worst in utilization of funds will lose all allocated funds. Recently the Head of the State has sharply criticized the pace of utilization of funds allocated for mortgage refinancing. At the Governments session Thursday, Minister of Industry and Trade V. Shkolnik informed of implementation of 12 investment projects amounting to KZT 2.3 bln and creation of 308 jobs in the regions in the first quarter of 2009. According to the Minister, over 2,000 jobs will be created in Aktobe oblast, and about 2,000 in Akmola oblast. As V.Shkolnik informed, the Ministry controls 186 regional investment projects with a total investment KZT 2.5 trln (USD 16.6 bln). Minister for Agriculture A. Kurishbayev reported on the course of implementation of the projects on processing and storage of agricultural products. According to him, at present the Ministry conducts monitoring on 133 investment projects, 80 projects out of which are financed by KazAgro holding, and 53 projects by other resources. The Ministry created an ad-hoc working group, which controls the course of investment projects implementation and elaborates necessary measures for problems solution, the Minister said. Prime Minister K. Massimov charged the Minisrties to determine additional promising investment projects for certain areas and the required volume and level of government aid for their realization. He particularly instructed to take into account available potential of the railway, automobile and electric power infrastructure and the prices for raw materials, gas, electricity etc, that is to estimate the conditions for realization of investment projects in the regions and outline a scheme of long-term development of transport and logistics infrastructure, develop a plan on creating favorable conditions and control over each project execution. An important event in our country this week is the Summit of Heads of States, the founders of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea(IFASS). I am glad that despite the global economic and financial crisis heads of the Central Asian states have agreed to discuss ecological problems of the Aral Sea, Miroslav Jenca, the UN Secretary Generals Special Representative and the Head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, said on behalf of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Summit. Activity of the Fund showed importance of joint actions of Central Asian countries in solution of regional and global problems, Kazakh President N. Nazarbayev said at the Summit. Using this invaluable experience of cooperation we should make every effort to solve urgent problems of our region, including provision of its sustainable development, the Head of the State emphasized.N. Nazarbayev said that analysis of the current state of the Aral Sea basin showed high level of hazardous ecological factors despite the efforts made by the states of the region. Among these factors are global climate changes as well as problems connected with the current law-water season. It is necessary to clean the water in the Aral Sea, cultivate cultures of high - value around the river channels and provide the population with clear water, Kazakh President N. Nazarbayev said. As he noted, during those years the countries of Central Asia have spent about USD 2 bln. According to him, today Kazakhstan is doing a lot to restore the Small Aral. We agreed to continue this work today. New working program on this direction will be developed. We agreed to hold international forum next year as well. The Executive Committee of IFASS will be located in Almaty, the Head of the State said. We have to come to the principal decisions to raise the role of the IFASS authority. We consider it is necessary to restore the status of the board members at the level of deputy heads of the governments. Kazakhstan appoints First Deputy Prime Minister a member of the board, the Kazakh leader noted.


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