Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov of Kazakhstan has revoked a draft law on ratification of the agreement between Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates on strategic partnership.
Under the agreement, Kazakhstan was going to sell 74.99% of shares of Ust-Kamenogorsk and Shulba hydropower stations. The new rule has already been published even though no official comments from the cabinet have been given. Therefore, it’s not clear whether the deal is just postponed or has been rejected completely.
According to information published on privatization.gosreestr.kz, the agreement on the sale of the two hydropower stations was scheduled for March 15, 2022.
As the head of the Committee of State Property and Privatization Bakhytbek Tashenev told the Kursiv edition, in 2022 Kazakhstan had planned to sell three objects of the state property including those two hydropower stations. The government was hoping to earn about $48.3 million or even more as a final price must be announced after a trading session on the date of sale.
Among those who opposed the idea to sell power stations to investors from the UAE were civil activists and some deputies of Kazakhstan’s parliament. For example, deputy of Mazilis Sergey Reshetnikov had warned the government that once private investors get ahold of these strategic assets, they would try to increase tariffs and promote their interests at the expense of regular consumers.
In early December 2021, Alikhan Smailov, a deputy prime minister of the country back then said behind the scenes of the Eurasian Congress that the government is going to sell 74.99% of shares of the two hydropower stations, not 100% as initially discussed with investors from the UAE.