September 2, 2019 / 6:00 AM / a month ago

Kazakh president raps monetary policy ahead of key rate review

FILE PHOTO: Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev delivers a speech during his inauguration ceremony in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mukhtar Kholdorbekov/Files

NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) - Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Monday criticised the central bank’s monetary policy ahead of its interest rate review, urging the bank to ensure affordable long-term credit is available to local businesses.

“The insufficient efficiency of monetary policy is becoming one of the impediments to the country’s economic development,” told parliament in an annual address, adding that businesses struggled to get loans from the banking sector.

Kazakhstan’s central bank has kept its policy rate flat at 9.0% since cutting it by 25 basis points in March. It will review the rate next week, and Tokayev’s criticism may affect the regulator’s decision.

Tokayev also ordered the oil-exporting Central Asian nation’s government to delay until 2023 the introduction of additional 5% pension contributions, effectively an extra payroll tax that was set to be implemented next year.

The planned additional payroll tax would have hindered job creation and wage growth, Tokayev said.

“We will then get back to this matter,” he said, leaving the door open for further changes to the plan.

Reporting by Tamara Vaal; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Jon Boyle

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