Foreign Investors’ Council: Drawing conclusions, making plans
In advance of the 26th Plenary Session of Foreign Investors’ Council chaired by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, we asked Mr. Galymzhan Pirmatov, the Chairman of Kazakhstan Foreign Investors’ Council Association’s Governing Board and Mr. Murat Munbayev, the Co-Chair of the FIC Operations Working Group to tell our magazine about the outcomes and the future plans of the Council for 2013.
Galymzhan Pirmatov, Chairman of the Governing Board of Kazakhstan Foreign Investors’ Council Association, President of Cameco Kazakhstan
The 25th anniversary session of the Foreign Investors’ Council (FIC) chaired by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan was held last year. At the end of the official programme of the Plenary Session during which the Council’s members’ from the foreign side delivered speeches on the main PS topic "Kazakhstan – the international trade, logistical, business and financial hub", the awarding ceremony "The Best Foreign Investor in Kazakhstan - 2012" was held. The President awarded the heads of ENRC, BG Group, and METRO Cash & Carry in the nominations "For direct investments", "For long-term strategic partnership" and "For social responsibility", as well as the Grand Prix and the title of "The Best Foreign Investor" to the General Director of Tengizchevroil LLP, Mr. Tim Miller.
In the period from the 25th FIC plenary session, Kazakhstan Foreign Investors’ Council Association’s (KFICA) work was focused on the development of proposals on the improvement of the efficiency of the Council and its working groups, initiatives undertaken by the members of the Council’s joint working groups, as well as preparation for the 26th plenary session.
In accordance with the instructions of the Head of State of the Republic of Kazakhstan, given at the 25th Plenary Session of the Council, specific proposals on the improvement of the Council’s regulatory framework were developed by the foreign side and formally submitted to the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Investments Committee of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the executive body of the Council, the Council’s working groups’ activities were analyzed. A new operating cycle of the Council’s activities linked to the FIC’s Plenary Sessions was proposed as well.
At present, there are five working groups at the Council: Operations WG (OWG), Oil and Gas WG (OGWG), Taxation WG (TWG), Legal WG (LWG), as well as Investment Image Enhancement WG (IIEWG).
In February this year a joint meeting with the representatives of the Investments Committee of the MINT of the RoK and the Social and Economic Monitoring Department of the Administration of the President was held to discuss the proposed measures on the improvement of the Council’s efficiency to agree on formalizing effective implementation of the Council’s objectives. The sides reached consensus on optimization of existing working groups of the Council. Active cooperation continues in this direction.
Thus, currently the FIC membership includes 27 members and 8 observers from the USA, Great Britain, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Poland, etc.
Among them are: ArcelorMittal (Lakshmi Mittal), Asian Development Bank (Lakshmi Venkatachalam), BG Group (Chris Finlayson), Baker & McKenzie International (Koen Vanhaerents), Cameco Corporation (Tim Gitzel), Chevron Corporation (George Kirkland), ConocoPhillips (Ryan Michael Lance), Deloitte (Steve Almond), Deutsche Bank AG (Peter Tils), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (Sir Suma Chakrabarti), eni S.p.A (Claudio Descalzi), ENRC (Alexander Machkevitch), Ernst & Young (John Ferraro), Exxon Mobil Corporation (Mark W. Albers), Eurasian Development Bank (Igor Finogenov), General Electric (Lorenzo Simonelli), JP Morgan Chase (Dr. Jacob Frenkel), LUKOIL (Vagit Alekperov), METRO Cash & Carry (Frans Muller), Mitsubishi Corporation (Tetsuro Terada), Philip Morris International (Miroslaw Zielinski),The Royal Bank of Scotland (John Hourrican), UC RUSAL (Oleg Deripaska), TeliaSonera (Per-Arne Blomquist),Total (Yves-Louis Darricarrere), Sberbank (Herman Gref), and the Royal Dutch Shell (Peter Voser).
The Council’s observers include CitiGroup (Carlos M. Gutierrez), PriceWaterhouseCoopers (Donald Almeida), TMK Russia Group (Dmitry Pumpyansky), KNAUF (Wilhelm Nikolaus Knauf), and Glencore (Ivan Glasenberg).
Murat Munbayev, Co-Chair of the FIC Operations Working Group from the foreign side, General Manager, Strategic Planning and Analysis, Tengizchevroil
The Operations Working Group of the Foreign Investors’ Council (FIC) chaired by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan was formed in November 1998 by the order of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is the largest group by the number of members – more than 100 people are actively involved in the activities of the FIC OWG subgroups on the issues of attracting foreign labor, improvement of labor legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, local content, environmental protection, power sector and human capital development.
The main objective of the FIC OWG is to ensure foreign investors’ dialogue with the representatives of Republic’s government bodies on the operational matters of the investors’ activities on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. From the Kazakh Government’s side, OWG’s partners in this process are the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of the RoK (MINT), Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the RoK (MLSP), Ministry of Environmental Protection of the RoK (MEP), Ministry of Oil and Gas of the RoK (MOG), Ministry of Education and Science of the RoK (MoES). Most close cooperation in the recent years has been with the MINT of the RoK and MLSP of the RK.
In particular, the investors’ community actively collaborated with the Department of Migration of the MLSP on the improvement of foreign labor engagement Rules in the RoK. The most important topics of a number of discussions were the ratio of foreign labor to locally engaged personnel, the issue of interpretation of legislative acts by local authorities and, in general, the issue of coordination between various government bodies involved in the application of the above rules: MLSP, MFA, MIA, as well as regional Akimats.
Formalisation of intergovernmental working group under the MLSP on this issue is entirely supported by the members of the working group from the foreign side. Support and active contribution to joint solving of issues arising in the practical application of the legislation, were and have been offered by the representatives of the Council’s members, participants of the working group, as well as senior representatives of the diplomatic missions in the RoK.
Issues that are of most interest of investors at the moment are also recommended to be raised within the FIC OWG: innovation, diversification of the economy, issues on energy preservation and energy efficiency, environmental initiatives (“green economy”), etc. Impact of legislative changes in these areas and their effect on the investors’ current activities, as well as general population, should be discussed on a multilateral basis with the involvement of both investors and international experts. All abovementioned issues have an impact on the investment attractiveness of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and following the Council’s mission, the members of the FIC OWG express their willingness to be involved in the discussion process of the planned changes in the public policy and in the relevant legislation at early stages.
In March this year, the Co-chairs of the FIC OWG from both sides approved an Action plan for 2013. According to the planned events, the groups’ participants will discuss further proposals on the improvement of environmental standards in the RoK, on the enhancement of legislation in the power sector and renewable energy sources (RES), energy efficiency and energy saving. The issues on internal trade system and the inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improvement of approaches on the regulation and classification of waste, as well as comprehensive measures on the transition towards "green economy" will be raised within the framework of joint discussions with the MEP of the RK. Additionally, further cooperation with various state bodies has been planned on the improvement of legislation in the framework of the "Migration Law" and the "Labour Code of the RK", and further discussion on the issues of corporate transfers and regulation of manpower agencies involved in the sourcing personnel to the large employers.