Month: July 2014

How to tame a Kyrgyz behind the wheel

The Kyrgyz nation has a long and colourful history featuring fierce warriors crisscrossing plains, valleys and mountain slopes while galloping on their tireless steeds. Few remains left of those wild warriors – except if one looks at the way many Kyrgyz citizens drive their vehicles today. In an attempt to bring some discipline among the country’s reckless drivers, new legislation with severe penalties was adopted by Parliament in mid-June and signed by the President in early July this year.   According to the local news agency 24.kg, the new law on traffic safety provides for heavier fines, calculated in...

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IMF deems Kyrgyzstan’s economy remains on the right track

More than a hundred million greenbacks have been pumped into Kyrgyzstan by the International Monetary Fund with the overall aim to improve the country’s financial base for  further economic development. While some tend to argue that too much of such money, as well as funds allocated by peer organisations such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, is being spent on writing lengthy reports full of “assessments” and “recommendations” which nobody reads in full length, and too little on tangible items such as construction of property and infrastructure, the IMF in its defence often argues that the...

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China broadens investment scope in Kyrgyzstan

With attraction of Western and Far East investments lingering, Kyrgyzstan’s midstream and contracting sectors do manage to raise funds from China and, to lesser extents, from the Russian Federation. The big difference is that while western investors are mostly private enterprises with little other interest than profit for profit’s sake (even though goodwill statements tend to suggest otherwise including social engagement), both China and Russia, using state-controlled companies, first of all tend to take “strategic national” elements into account. The results of a very successful trade fair in Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s southern administrative and commercial centre located in the west...

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To drink or not to drink…

From a date that has yet to be announced on, the public sale of alcohol in Kyrgyzstan is set to be banned from 10 p.m. till 9 in the morning. The measure only concerns shops and not bars, restaurants and clubs – no doubt much to the latter’s relief. The measure was announced by the Bishkek Municipality following recommendations by police. For the moment, the measure only concerns Bishkek and its agglomeration but if successful, Parliament may well adopt it in the form of national legislation. The overall aim is to combat alcoholism, especially among young middle-class people, whose...

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… to smoke or not to smoke

In yet another blow to the improvement of relations between the government of Kyrgyzstan and foreign investors, the country’s sole tobacco processing factory is closing down as of July this year. Its long-standing owner and sole investor Reemtsma of Germany has excelled in failing in its commitments to provide Kyrgyz tobacco growers with a domestic factory for cigars and cigarettes. According to the original commitment, the factory should have bought at least 50 per cent of its raw material from Kyrgyz farmers. Dumping prices for supplies from neighbouring countries undermined local farmers’ price settings. Measures to protect the latter...

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