Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: subsoil users should invest more in science

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev recently urged domestic subsoil users to invest more in scientific research during the first meeting of the National Science and Technology Council. He called for the implementation of tax incentives and “super deductions” to encourage business investment in science. The President emphasized that domestic science should lead the modernization of the national economy and noted that this approach has been successful in Singapore, China, and South Korea.

To illustrate the current situation, President Tokayev cited some numbers: over the last five years, spending on science in Kazakhstan increased by 60%, while the share of science in the country’s GDP decreased to 0.13%. The majority of these expenditures, specifically 70%, come from the state budget. However, there is a huge imbalance in the financing of different areas of science, with 82% of the budget going to fundamental and applied research and only 18% going to experimental and design work. Additionally, there are few modern science-intensive production facilities in the country, with 65% of domestic enterprises belonging to the third technological order, which includes the raw materials sector and metallurgy.

President Tokayev emphasised the need to synchronize the research funded by subsoil users and the priorities of Kazakhstan’s science and technology policy. He proposed developing a law on endowment funds to ensure sustainable funding for universities and increasing funding for science from all sources, including the mandatory investment of subsoil users in R&D, equal to 1% of their capital investments. President Tokayev also called on large mining companies to consider this approach as a voluntary contribution to the development of national science and not just another tax.