Aktilek Tungatarov, Executive Director of the International Business Council in Kyrgyzstan, discusses the organisation’s goals for the local private sector.
European Times: Who are the members and partners of the International Business Council?
Aktilek Tungatarov: We have around 150 member organisations, including the leading private companies from various sectors of the economy as well as ambassadors of other countries and representatives of non-government organisations. The International Business Council (IBC) is the most important professional organisation in the country since it unites both the largest taxpayers and small and medium businesses in the Kyrgyz Republic. Our voice is always heard by government leaders and other stakeholders.
European Times: What is your main objective?
Aktilek Tungatarov: The IBC was founded in 2000 by foreign investors and our mission is to support the private sector in general. Today around 60% of our corporate members are local companies. Our main goal is to help build a stronger economy in Kyrgyzstan. We do this in part by giving recommendations to the government regarding improving legislation and making the business environment more transparent, efficient, corruption-free and investor-friendly.
European Times: What is the IBC doing to attract more foreign investors?
Aktilek Tungatarov: One of our goals is to persuade the government to be consistent in its decisions regarding investors, and we continue to lobby the government to do this. In general, though, our biggest contribution to stepping up foreign investment in Kyrgyzstan is to meet with foreign business leaders directly and give them an accurate picture of the perspectives and challenges of doing business here. The IBC’s website provides updated information in English and Russian. We circulate information to our members about legislative changes in the country and other informational and analytical publications on a constant basis in order to keep all stakeholders informed. We also organise networking events, round-table discussions and other business forums. Many of our current tasks and responsibilities are comparable to those of an investment promotion agency, which Kyrgyzstan should establish in the future.
European Times: Why should foreign investors choose Kyrgyzstan as a business and investment destination?
Aktilek Tungatarov: In spite of the challenges, Kyrgyzstan is a real democracy, and our government leaders are very accessible. The country has joined a number of international trade organisations and signed multiple bilateral and multilateral trade treaties. Kyrgyzstan has a very open economy, welcoming and supporting foreign investors. In addition, we have favourable tax regimes, low electricity costs, and enormous resources for development, for example in the mining and tourism sectors, as well as great human capital.