By Gavin Bowring, Asean Confidential
Kazakhstan announced last week a major government reshuffle, streamlining its ministries from 17 to 12. Most significant was the creation of a new Ministry of National Economy, merging a number of different agencies and oversight bodies under one roof to improve efficiency, and a revamped Ministry of Energy that follows President Nazarbayev’s reported criticism of the country’s energy sector as being “in disarray”.
By Claire Nuttall of bne
A campaign against plans by the Kazakh government to overhaul the pension system is gathering pace, in a rare instance of public discontent in the autocratic Central Asian state.
The campaign began last month after labour minister Serik Abdenov (pictured) became a figure of fun after unsuccessfully trying to defend plans to increase the retirement age for women from 58 to 63 at a public meeting in the industrial town of Temirtau.
Kazakhstan will issue 150bn Tenge ($996m) of eurobonds this year in its first venture onto international capital markets in over a decade.
The oil-rich central Asian country said it would take advantage of historically low foreign borrowing costs to help plug a budget deficit and set a benchmark for Kazakh corporates hoping to raise funds in 2013.
Nursultan Nazarbayev has always taken pride in the privately-run pension system he introduced in the late 1990s that set Kazakhstan apart in the former Soviet Union as a pioneer of financial reform.
However, in a policy U-turn this week that has set investors worrying, the Kazakh president (pictured) has decided to nationalise the pension system and transfer the approximate $20bn of funds accumulated into the trusty hands of the central bank. While the details were not immediately clear, the move has triggered concerns among fund managers and their clients.
After Megafon, another opportunity to invest in CIS telecoms: Kcell, Kazakhstan’s biggest mobile telephone operator, expects to raise $525m-$650m in an initial public offering.