So Kazaknstan’s economic policies are rather prudent and the government finances are one of the country’s strenght. However, the government’s sttitude towards foreign investors and creditors is cause for concern, which reflects negatively on the business climate, as there have been many examples in which fogeign investors and creditors were left in the cold in times of trouble. Foreign creditors were forced to accept a large haircut during the restructing of the banking sector, despite earlier statement that this would not be the case.
In addition, Kazakhstan’s government has taken a tougher stance towards foreign oil companies in recent years, making use of environmentsl laws to force them to accept changes to earlier agreements. An export duty on crute oil and petroleum products was reintroduced mid-2010 (the initial duty introduced in May 2008 was set at zero in January 2009). Besides increasing government revenues from the oil and gas sector, the new approach is also meant to force oil companies to contribute to Kazakhstan’s diversification drive, forcing them to cooperate with the government’s industialisation program and requiring them to use more local labor.
In March 2011, the government addopted a law that detailes a procedure for nationalization of property. The law states that this can only be done in case of threat to national security and that any actions taken by the staet in this regard will be on a non-discriminatory basis and prompt and adequate compensation will be made. However, given Kazakhstan’s authoritarian political environment, there is a risk that there law will be used arbitrarily.