They give us subsidies, but introduce a utilization fee right after. Where's the logic? - Marat Akhmetov

11 july 2020
Author: Yevgeniy Fedotov
They give us subsidies, but introduce a utilization fee right after. Where's the logic? - Marat Akhmetov

It has been almost two weeks since the order of the Ministry of Ecology on introduction of utilization fee for agricultural machinery in Kazakhstan came into force. We have covered this issue before, but the editorial staff of World of Nan continues to receive requests from farmers from almost all regions of Kazakhstan. In particular, agrarians of Kostanay region are very vocal on the issue of utilization fee.

They say that the region again faced the threat of drought, so the introduction of the fee on top of this factor, given the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, can lead to deplorable results.

We asked Marat Akhmetov, chairman of the Kostanay regional branch of the "Union of Farmers of Kazakhstan", to comment on this subject.

- Today, all the people are outraged, everyone says it is the wrong decision. For some Korean cars, we are making allowances for both taxation and loan amounts, and for the equipment that feeds the state and the entire population, they are beginning to invent all kinds of fees. On behalf of the Farmers' Union, we have spoken and written about it many times. Where does the money go from utilization fees? Who handles all this? These questions need to be brought to the President.

Today, any combine harvester has a multimillion-dollar utilization fee. Whom does it go to? That's the question. I would like to see at least one combine harvester that has been utilized and received some products from it, metal recycled or something like that, but it does not exist, because the equipment goes to the secondary market, where it continues to work for a long time.

They collected some part of the cars there, I also had representatives who received certificates, but no one has ever recycled agricultural machines, no one is going to give them up. The secondary market is very well developed, because a farmer can not always buy new equipment. He cannot afford the same "Vector", which today costs about 50 million. All we are talking about is cheap loans, but in fact, there are no such cheap loans. Yes, the state really helps, there is no question about it, but this help does not always reach the final beneficiaries. It turns out that we give it with one hand and take it with the other.

On June 17, the Ministry of Ecology adopted an order, it came into force on June 27, but so far, to whom we have not written: the National Chamber "Atameken" and the state bodies. But there have been no responses to our requests. Today, farmers are afraid to buy any equipment, because they have to pay extra for any combine. There are 12-15 million for foreign-made machinery, and 8-9-10 million for the one that is going to be assembled in Kazakhstan.

Yes, 25% of investment subsidies are paid for the purchase of equipment. If a combine harvester costs 50 million, we should receive 12.5 million as a subsidy, but immediately 10 million will go to the utilization fee. Where's the logic?

This year in Kostanay region there is an extraordinary hot weather again, there are problems with coronavirus. We all understand that business has always been in line with the actions of the Government. I have nothing to say, the state helps, but such actions, when the Minister of Ecology decides the fate of farmers, introduces the utilization fee, but does not show what the economy has developed from it: what the state has received from it, what will be the benefit to farmers and the processing industry, cause great outrage. So far, no one is listening to us.

I voice the opinion of almost all commodity producers of Kostanay region, and of all Kazakhstan. If we want to make agriculture a driver of Kazakhstan's economy, as the President said, we must raise productivity and create conditions for our farmers. And how can we create them with such solutions? Yes, imported machinery is more expensive to maintain, but it is durable and reliable. In addition, technology is also important. Today our drivers do not want to work without parallel driving, without different navigation and other digital systems. This is a normal phenomenon. That's why it's a shame that they seem to be helping us, but on the other hand it's all very easy to take away. There is no sense in investment subsidies now, because they are taken back as a recycling fee.

In a month there will be a harvest, many farmers, who are standing on their feet today, tell me that this fee is very expensive. They come to me, and what can I do? We've written to both the Akim's blog and the Ministry of Agriculture. Today our colleagues only talk about it, but so far no one hears us, although, in fact, it concerns us all. The government needs to change the structure of investment subsidies somehow, to develop some other support mechanisms. We very much hope that our question will finally receive attention.