On September 29 the General Assembly Meeting of the International Business Council was held in Bishkek. The US Ambassador Stephen M. Young made a short presentation on US Embassy support for the process of reform in the Kyrgyz Republic focusing on the key issues of interest to investors.
The International Business Council (IBC) was formed by the major investors in the Kyrgyz Republic in 2001 to assist the Kyrgyz Government to attract more investment, more business and more jobs to the Kyrgyz Republic. IBC members include the largest companies like the Kumtor Operating Company and Reemstma as well as strong representation from small and medium investors.
In order to speed up the process of reform to attract investment, the IBC has recently appointed Dr David Grant as Executive Director with assistance from the German CIM program. Dr Grant has substantial experience working in the Kyrgyz Republic, most recently as leader of the EC SME Development Program providing support to Kyrgyz businesses and working with the government on business issues.
Commenting on the role of the IBC, Dr Grant said: "since the Kyrgyz Republic does not have the natural resource advantages of some of its neighbors, we must work twice as hard to provide an exceptional business environment to encourage both Kyrgyz and international businesses to invest their money here. This means we must provide the best business environment in terms of fair taxation, very low administrative barriers, minimum government interference in business, predictable steady improvements in legislation, a transparent legal system and open access to neighboring markets."
The Kyrgyz government is addressing these key investment issues through the Investment Secretariat under Deputy Prime Minister Doojmart Otorbayev and the IBC is a key player in advising government on the real business issues and providing expertise to solve the current problems.
Current issues under discussion with the government are: revisions to the Labor Code to make it easier to create jobs in the Kyrgyz Republic; challenging the recent law on payments to the Employment Fund since the new law will reduce investment; improving the process of legislation approval to avoid sudden changes which are difficult for all businesses; and working with the fourth
The Times of Central Asia, October 03, 2003