Kazakhstani authorities admit wrongdoing by the National Geological Service

Business news correspondent
Violations have been identified by the Anti-Monopoly Service / Collage by Kursiv.media

The National Geological Service illegally charged fees from potential investors for geological information that in fact was free. In 2022 and 2023, the service obtained $2.6 million for reviewing about 4,000 investors’ applications. In one case, an investor paid as much as $89,085. All these violations have been identified by the Agency for the Protection and Development of Competition (APDC) of Kazakhstan.

Even though the National Geological Service followed an order from the Ministry of Industry and Construction, this order was beyond the ministry’s jurisdiction, according to the APDC, as it contradicts the subsoil use code ensuring all interested parties have open and free-of-charge access to geological information. This rule has been designed to support potential investors who want to implement new projects in Kazakhstan.

As a result, the anti-monopoly agency has prohibited the National Geological Service from continuing the illegal practice of collecting tolls from investors. The agency has also instructed the Ministry of Industry to correct the violation with its order. Tax revenue from subsoil users in Kazakhstan dropped from $24.7 billion in 2022 to $23.6 billion in 2023 (-4.5%). This revenue accounts for more than a third of all revenue of the state budget and almost all income that goes to the National Fund, according to the State Revenue Committee.

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