Bloomberg News

Kazakhs Urged to Channel Money From Oil Fund to Aid Businesses

February 22, 2012

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- A Kazakh business lobby group is asking the government to channel resources from the country’s $45.5 billion National Oil Fund, which is managed by the central bank, to help finance small and medium-sized businesses.

Companies outside the energy industry need about $5 billion from the fund, Ablay Myrzakhmetov, the head of business association Soyuz Atameken, told reporters today in the capital, Astana, citing preliminary estimates.

Kazakhstan, the largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia, plans to withdraw some of the billions of dollars it keeps with Western banks to fund projects designed to help diversify the economy away from resource extraction, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said last month.

The amount of financial assistance will be determined after discussions with the government, Myrzakhmetov said. Assets held by the National Oil Fund advanced 4.2 percent to $45.5 billion in January, the central bank said Feb. 7.

--Editors: Paul Abelsky, Andrew Langley

To contact the reporter on this story: Svetlana Antoncheva in Astana, Kazakhstan at santoncheva1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net


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