State registration fees reduced in Kazakhstan

17 January 2006

The Government of Kazakhstan issued a decree (hereinafter called Decree) that reduced the state registration fees for all legal entities, including NGOs. This change took effect January 1, 2006.

Such reduction is especially beneficial for Kazakhstan NGOs for whom the state registration fee had been reduced from $146 to $57. In fact, 90% of NGOs applying for registration will benefit from this change. Another 10% of NGOs will benefit from other discount fee rates.

For the past two years, ICNL has provided educational and technical assistance to advocate for these changes. In 2004-2005 ICNL provided numerous technical assistance and comments on the issue of the registration procedure and registration fees at the request of Kazakh stakeholders. During conferences and workshops targeting government, legislature, and policy makers, ICNL addressed the issue of the high registration fees as they were contradictory to the international law and best practices. (i.e. Central Asia Regional Conference On Legal Regulation of the Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly in Central Asia: Problems and Perspectives of Development, Almaty, March 30-31, 2005). In addition, ICNL criticized the the high registration fees under Kazakh law in multiple publications including the popular book On Overview of Legislation Regulating the Freedom of Association in Countries of Central Asia.

These changes further the previous reduction of the state registration fees in March 2005, which reduced the state registration fees for only one type of NGO, national and cultural ethnic centers. This previous change was also supported by assistance from ICNL’s legal experts.

This reduction in registration fees for almost all types of NGOs is an important change consistent with another significant step made by the Kazakh government last year when it ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). ICNL over the past several years has used every opportunity to draw the attention of the Kazakhstan Government to this matter and has worked with NGOs and citizens to help explain the importance of the ratification of the ICCPR to help achieve a flourishing civil society sector and achieve the goal of establishing a fully embodied democratic state. This is just the beginning of a long and challenging process to make the legislation of Kazakhstan comply to the fullest extent possible with the international standards set out by the ICCPR and ICNL will continue to provide all possible legal technical assistance to the Kazakhstan Government in its efforts to accomplish this goal.