By Kamila Aliyeva
The number of active small and medium businesses in Kazakhstan amounted to 1.146 billion in 2017.
This was announced by Kazakh Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov at a government meeting on February 6.
The growth is estimated at the level of 3.6 percent compared to the results of 2016, according to the official.
“Employment in this sector amounted to 3.118 million people thus showing an increase of 2.6 percent. The output of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has increased. For the nine months of 2017, production worth 14.4 trillion tenge, which is 28 percent more than in the same period last year, was released,” he said.
Small business can contribute to the dynamics of the economic sphere and significantly reduce the social and economic challenges. In industrialized countries, more than 50 percent of GDP are ensured by SMEs, and the importance of their social function is evidenced by the fact that they provide up to 60-70 percent of jobs.
Despite recognized role of SMEs as a source of employment their contribution to GDP remains low in Central Asia. Access to finance is one of the most significant challenges for the survival and advancement of SMEs. Unfortunately, the global financial crisis, as well as uneasy economic situation in Central Asia, led to a decrease of the local banks' offers of new loans.
Commercial banks and other lenders generally view SMEs as high-risk borrowers. Consequently, small companies from the region often face high interest rates and collateral requirements that they are unable to meet. Therefore, a number of initiatives and support programs at the level of government are being introduced in Central Asia with a view to open more SMEs and employ population.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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