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Kazakhstan mulls limiting cash transactions for sole proprietors

14 may 2015, 01:46
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Photo courtesy of pantex.ch
Photo courtesy of pantex.ch

Kazakhstan mulls introducing a limit on cash transactions for sole proprietors, Tengrinews reports. The proposed permissible amount is 1,000 MCI (monthly calculation index) or 1,982,000 tenge ($10,667). 

According to the Director of the Payment Systems Development and Management Department of the National Bank of Kazakhstan Ruslan Musayev, certain measures should be taken at the national level to stimulate non-cash transactions. “Limiting cash transactions between individual entrepreneurs (same as with legal entities) to 1,000 MCI per contract” is one of them, he said.

A similar limit has been in place for companies in Kazakhstan since 2012. But now the legislative pool towards cashless settlements is gaining scale. 

Transition to non-cash payments is one of the three strategic priorities of Kazakhstan's 2015-2016 de-dollarization plan of the National Bank along with the country's Government. 

Ruslan Musayev reminded that purchase of real estate and cars for cash could also be prohibited soon if the draft law passes the parliament. In February the country’s National Bank Governor Kairat Kelimbetov elaborated on the initiative: "93% of all such transactions are made in cash. This is not right for any county's economy, as it means that those involved in the transactions evade taxes.” 

According to Ruslan Musayev, not all the means of getting the Kazakh economy to embrace wireless translations are as forceful as the legislative limitations. Tax benefits are also one of the proposed ways to stimulate non-cash settlements in Kazakhstan. "Tax incentives are introduced through reduction of value added tax rates on goods and services sold for payments through banks, including with the use of payment cards. They are also affected through reduction of taxable incomes for traders. These are going to propel the transition to non-cash payments," Musayev said.

Among other measures called to boost the use of non-cash settlements was the requirement for all the companies and sole proprietors in Kazakhstan to have POS-terminals. The standard was supported to come into force starting from January 1, 2014, but the initiative partially failed after businessmen started facing challenges when attempting to apply the legislative requirement in practice. For example, Kazakhstan banks that were supposed to provide the POS terminals, found themselves unable to deliver the equipment and install the devises for all their clients as such a short notice, besides the commission rates they set on the transactions were as high as 3-4%, which made businessmen shun POS-terminals.

Therefore, Kazakhstan had to undertake other measures to encourage entrepreuners to switch to non-cash payments.

Last year Kazakhstan's Minister of National Economy Yerbolat Dossayev spoke about it in Majilis, the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament. "Initially, we tried to force businessmen to install POS-terminals, but the initiative was not received well and we learned the lesson. Now were are thinking about ways to stimulate and encourage businessmen to use non-cash transactions. We are considering several approaches. Taxation benefits is one of the ways to stimulate the transition that we are considering," he explained then.

Reporting by Asemgul Kassenova, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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