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  • 02 Oct 2019 9:18 AM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)

    "

    Atyrau Hub announced "Energy Challenge" competition based on the accelerator principles to solve a number of current local problems in energy sphere.

    Atyrau Energy Challenge is a marathon of programmers, developers, webmasters, stimulating the emergence and development of new ideas that contribute to the facilitation of operational processes in the oil and gas industry.

    Participants

    Participants are allowed to participate in the "Atyrau Energy Challenge" both personally and as a team.

    • Individual over 16 years of age
    • Experience more than 6 months in the oil and gas industry
    • Willingness to work in a team formed by the Organizer
    • Team not more than 4 people
    • Possible team roles: backend developer, frontend developer, fullstack developer, UI / UX designer, data analyst, product Manager, and business analyst
    • Mandatory availability of competencies in backend-and frontend-development to create software product
    • The team can be supplemented by the Organizer with the necessary competencies for request
    The application deadline is till November 1, 2019. To learn more about the competition and accelerator program visit the official Marathon page >>


  • 01 Oct 2019 2:37 PM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)

    Ground-breaking changes are now in force impacting Canadian export controls and certain activities abroad regarding export controlled goods and technology.

    Earlier this month Canada became a State Party to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a treaty establishing standards for international trade in a broad range of conventional arms that currently counts more than 100 State Parties. To meet its ATT obligations Canada amended the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) and adopted a package of brokering regulations, namely, the Brokering Control List, Brokering Permit Regulations, Regulations Specifying Activities that Do Not Constitute Brokering, General Brokering Permit No 1, and General Export Permit No 47 (ATT Package). This ATT Package came into force on September 1, 2019. Please see our previous publication on the brokering controls and new standards for export and brokering permits here.

    The newly-established legislative scheme imposes controls over brokering activities. This is a significant development for Canadian industry as this is the first time such controls have been introduced in Canada. Therefore, anyone involved in international trade in defence goods or technology should review the ATT Package thoroughly, and assess the implications for their business activities. 

    - How Did We Get Here?

    - Extraterritorial Application

    Definition of Brokering

    Items That Fall Under the Brokering Controls

    The New Substantial Risk Test

    Assessing Substantial Risk

    Mitigating Factors

    Export to the United States

    Implementation

    ________

    (c) by  John W. BoscariolCarmen FrancisOksana Migitko at McCarthy Tetrault

  • 30 Sep 2019 10:35 AM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)


    Over 180,000 citizens of Khujand, the second-largest city in Tajikistan, will have regular access to safe drinking water and improved wastewater services thanks to a joint investment of $8.85 million by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Trend reports with reference to EBRD.

    Through their contributions, the two institutions have financed a wastewater treatment plant that was launched on September 13 at a ceremony attended by Mayor of Khujand Maruf Muhammadzoda and representatives of SECO and the EBRD. Specialised equipment for wastewater treatment management was handed over to the Khujand Water Company.

    The rehabilitation program at the Khujand wastewater treatment plant began in late 2018 and addressed the key issues of modernisation and rehabilitation. It also included the replacement of sewerage collectors and pipes, the rehabilitation of the water supply network, the installation of specialised meters and other essential improvements.

    The newly rehabilitated plant will help the Khujand Water Company significantly improve the quality of water discharged to the Syr-Darya River, which will have a positive impact on the local and regional environment.

    The investment was supported by grants from the EBRD and SECO, collectively worth $1.4 million.

    Since 2004, Switzerland has committed over $90 million to water, wastewater and solid waste projects across Tajikistan. Over this period, more than half a million people gained access to affordable and safe drinking water in the rural and urban areas of the country.


  • 27 Sep 2019 12:31 PM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)

    A special visa for foreign investors - the Investment visa - is being introduced in Uzbekistan, a Podrobno.uz correspondent reports.

    This is stipulated by a presidential decree (No UP-5833, dated 19 September 2019), which made an amendment to the list of new additional (non-electronic) types of entry visas for certain groups of foreigners, who visit Uzbekistan.

    In line with the approved amendment, the Investment visa will be added to the list of the existing Vatandosh, Student visa, Academic visa, Medical visa and Pilgrim visa.

    The investment visa will be issued for foreigners and entities without citizenship, who have invested in the Uzbek economy no less than 8,500 times the basic calculation value [The basic calculation value is equal to 223,000 soms or about 23 dollars]. This visa will be issue for the period of three years.

    ____

    (c) Podrobno.uz 


  • 27 Sep 2019 12:26 PM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)


    Uzbekistan plans to sign at least three deals with large foreign energy companies this year and five more next year as it aims to boost its natural gas output, chief executive of state energy firm Uzbekneftegaz said on Friday.

    The list of potential partners in exploration and development agreements includes BP (BP.L), Total (TOTF.PA), Azerbaijan's SOCAR, Russia's Rosneft (ROSN.MM) and Novatek (NVTK.MM), Bakhodir Sidikov said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Tashkent.

    Potential investors are seeking guarantees that they would be able to export whatever they produce, Sidikov said, but Tashkent is instead offering them guaranteed offtake at prices "at which the project makes economic sense."

    We have some projects where if you use the international price you can get 60% IRR (internal rate of return)," he said. "Nobody expects 60% IRR."

    Asked what profitability levels he considered acceptable, Sidikov said: "Between 11 and 15-16%."

    Next year, Sidikov said, Tashkent plans to sign five more agreements.

    Uzbekistan started actively working on attracting foreign investment after President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took over in late 2016 following the death of his predecessor Islam Karimov.

    Among the challenges faced by the resource-rich nation of 32 million in its quest to bring in investors was the fact that all of its geological data was only available on paper and in the Russian language, Sidikov said. Tashkent is now working with Schlumberger to build a digital geological database.

    Sidikov said Uzbekneftegaz, which produces 42 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas - out of Uzbekistan's total output of 63 bcm, aimed to add 4-5 bcm to the figure next year to ensure it can fully meet domestic demand.

    _____

    Reuters


  • 09 Sep 2019 9:55 AM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)


    Together with the World Bank, International Financial Corporation (IFC) is currently in discussions with the government of Uzbekistan to act as a lead transaction advisor for the tendering of a public-private partnership for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a new combined-cycle gas turbine near the existing Syrdarya thermal power plant, IFC Country Officer for Uzbekistan Zafar Khashimov told Trend in an interview.

    "The project will help increase efficiency for gas-fired electricity generation and support a reliable power supply in the country," he added.

    Considering Uzbekistan's investment attractiveness to foreign capital, Khashimov noted that during the past two years, the government has made significant progress in advancing difficult economic reforms.

    "In addition to liberalizing the foreign exchange regime, officials have improved the business and investment climate, reduced the state's presence in the economy, and adopted important legal reforms. The changes have definitely made the country more attractive to foreign investors," he stated.

    IFC Country Officer for Uzbekistan added that many big challenges lie ahead and there are critical areas where the government needs to continue the work.

    The work includes reducing the state's role in the economy, further developing infrastructure, boosting technology-enabled services, continuing to improve the investment climate, and implementing reforms of the banking, financial and energy sectors and land and agriculture reforms.

    "These are all steps in the right direction, which we support. Together with the World Bank, we will continue encouraging the country's reform agenda with financial and technical assistance. We firmly believe that Uzbekistan has the potential to become an upper-middle income country by 2030, which is the government's goal," he underlined.

    Recently Trend reported that IFC may take part in modernization of Syrdarya TPP.

    IFC-a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group-is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. The Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030: end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in every country.

  • 09 Sep 2019 9:52 AM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)

    The President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has signed Resolution No. PP-4381 dated July 1, 2019 (the "Resolution"), which is aimed, inter alia, at further simplifying privatization procedures. The Resolution recognizes that public assets are often valued at exorbitant prices because of the lack of unified practices on their evaluation, which leads to delays in privatization and necessitates step-by-stop lowering of prices.

    In this regard, the Resolution provides for the simplification of privatization procedures by allowing the following:

    • Public assets may be sold at a price below the nominal value if public bidding leads to the reduction of the price below such a value;
    • State-owned stakes in certain companies (the list of such companies is expected to be approved by the government) may be sold in the absence of pre-emptive rights of other shareholders through public bidding. The opening price shall be determined according to the net asset value as of January 1, 2019, based on the company's audited balance sheet;
    • Investors may pay for the state-owned shares in national currency (i.e. Uzbekistani som) from their accounts at the clearing houses of commodity exchanges and from Loro accounts opened at Uzbekistani banks;
    • Underwriters may operate without providing an auditor's report;
    • Professional securities market participants may operate without providing a certificate of their education.

    Moreover, the Resolution authorizes the Agency for Public Assets Management and state-owned enterprises to contract organizations (both domestic and foreign) as investment consultants without the need for the latter to obtain the license for carrying out the activities in the securities market until January 1, 2020. The foreign organization may operate in such capacity without establishing a local company.

  • 09 Sep 2019 9:43 AM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)


    • Uzbekistan's Asaka bank joins EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme
    • US$ 20 million limit will help bank expand its trade finance product range  

    The EBRD is providing a boost to domestic importers and exporters in Uzbekistan by opening a limit of up to US$ 20 million under the EBRD's Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) to Asaka bank.

    With 22 branches across Uzbekistan Asaka bank will be well-placed to provide financial resources to domestic companies willing to expand their trade operations.

    The trade finance facility will help Asaka bank support import and export transactions, further develop its correspondent banking services and strengthen its trade finance product range.

    The TFP promotes international trade to, from, and within the Bank's countries of operations, including Uzbekistan. Through the Programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks, taking the political and commercial payment risk of international trade transactions undertaken by banks in these countries.

    This is EBRD's latest partner bank to join the programme in Uzbekistan. Trade Facilitation Programme will provide access to finance for exporters and importers, including SMEs, strengthen local capacity in compliance and advance trade finance skills.  The focus will be to support private sector transactions and facilitate trade for the "green" technologies, materials and services.

    Following the reengagement with Uzbekistan in 2017, the EBRD TFP team has delivered 2 regional conferences and 6 training workshops, which were attended by approximately 500 domestic banking professionals. During 2019-2020 the EBRD will be working with the government to improve legislation and regulation in support of enhanced business environment for international trade finance products, including factoring and financial technologies. 

    To date, the EBRD has invested €1.3 billion through 70 projects in the economy of Uzbekistan. Support of small businesses is particularly important as the country moves to reform its economy and strengthen its private sector.

    _________

    (c) The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development

  • 03 Sep 2019 3:15 PM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)

     

    Uzbekistan lifted remaining currency controls on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 allowing citizens to purchase foreign cash for the first time as the Central Asian country seeks to attract foreign investment.

    The country of 32 million people has looked to diversify its economy since the death of its longtime leader Islam Karimov in 2016.

    Central bank chairman Mamarizo Nurmuratov said at a press conference that the bank would be allowing the national som currency’s value to be determined “independently in the market,” state media reported.

    “Now the Central Bank will not set prices for the sale and purchase of foreign currency,” Nurmuratov said during the press conference on state television.

    In a press release the bank said it would “use market mechanisms to mitigate the effects of external shocks and ensure the balance of key macroeconomic indicators.”

    The bank said that commercial banks would begin selling foreign currency in cash form, rather than transferring it onto specialized cards that were introduced in 2017. The central bank had previously retained some controls on the som despite allowing a sudden 50 percent drop in the currency in 2017 which brought it closer to its black-market value.

    Before 2017 Uzbekistan’s currency was subject to strict capital controls, leading to a wide gap between its official exchange rate and the black-market rate. Exporting firms were forced to sell their foreign currencies at the artificially high official rate, discouraging foreign investment. After aligning the official rate with the black-market rate, the central bank used “half-market measures” to control the currency in the transition to a free float, economic analyst Navruz Melibayev said.

    “This system was perhaps similar to China’s [control of] the yuan currency. Now we have a full free float like Russia or Kazakhstan,” Melibayev told AFP by telephone.

    Last week President Shavkat Mirziyoyev hailed a surge in investments in the economy, which he said constituted over 38 percent of Gross Domestic Product, in the first half of this year.

    The International Monetary Fund has welcomed economic reforms in Uzbekistan but warned last year that import and export data showed signs of an overheating economy.

    The country was unattractive for investors under Karimov, who took a conservative approach to external debt and favored a strongly protectionist economic model that led to stagnation.

    Uzbekistan depends on commodities such as gold and cotton for economic growth but has looked to diversify since Karimov’s death in 2016.


    By AT CONTRIBUTOR, TASHKENT

    August 20, 2019

  • 28 Aug 2019 4:15 PM | Vera Dedyulya (Administrator)

    A package of draft laws which improve the rules on Special investment contracts (hereinafter – “SPIC”) has been adopted. The amendments governing the rules for concluding SPIC came into force on August 13, 2019, and changes in the tax sphere start from September 2, 2019.

    What is SPIC and who needs them?

    The SPIC mechanism enables the investor to conclude an agreement with the government on the development or introduction of new technologies for the development of industrial production in Russia. At the same time, the government commits itself to maintaining the stability of the fiscal and regulatory framework and to granting tax benefits to the investor. Such an agreement also allows the investor to participate in public tenders without meeting localization requirements right away. This mechanism was introduced in Russia in 2015 and, according to the Industrial Development Fund, 33 contracts in diverse industrial fields with a total value of 434 billion roubles have been concluded since then (about 6 billion euros in various industries).

    The new rules introduce significant changes to the current mechanism (SPIC 1.1).

    Who can apply for a SPIC and what preferences will an investor get?

    According to the new version of the law, SPIC conclusion will be held through an open or closed tender, and not in a simple application procedure. The subject of SPIC should be the development and implementation of modern technologies for mass production of goods competitive in the world market, and the Government of the Russian Federation will approve the list of such technologies.

    In addition to receiving tax benefits at the federal and regional levels (e.g., setting the profit tax rate at the federal level to 0% and reducing the tax rate at the regional level) SPIC businesses can count on government support as a part of the implementation project. Investors are immediately granted “Made in Russia” status for products manufactured as a result of SPIC implementation and are also granted a delay in meeting localization requirements.

    The adopted package of draft laws improves conditions for investors in many ways. The changes relate in particular to the following:

    • The term of contracts has been extended to 15 years if the amount of investments is up to 50 billion roubles; and up to 20 years if the amount of investments exceeds 50 billion roubles
    • SPIC can be concluded by investors with any capital investment (the minimum requirement for the amount of investment is cancelled)
    The validity period of preferential profit tax rates is not limited; they will be applied for the entire duration of SPIC and for all project income

    There are two alternative conditions for applying tax incentives to investors:
    1. zero income tax rate will be applied only if the revenue from the SPIC subject is at least 90% of all income;
    2. in case of failure to fulfil the criterion “90-10”, there is the possibility of separate income (expenses) accounting within SPIC framework.

    It should be noted that the application of profit tax benefits is not limited in time but possible until the reporting period in which the SPIC ceases to be effective. However, the benefits are related to the level of government expenditure: government investments in the project are stopped if they exceed 50% of the investor’s investment in SPIC.

    What does this mean for business?

    SPIC attracts investors and is one way to participate in government procurement without meeting localization requirements. The adoption of these amendments should have a positive impact on the Russian industrial sector and create more favourable conditions for foreign investors. SCHNEIDER GROUP is ready to offer you services supporting SPIC conclusions, and also provide related tax and legal advice.

    (c) the Schneider Group 

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