Dushanbe at a Glance
Working in Dushanbe
Since independence, Tajikistan’s economy has been fueled significantly by cotton and aluminum exports. From the beginning of the 21st century, the Tajik economy has improved greatly, and GDP has risen at an average rate of 9.6% over the period of 2000-2007 (according to data from the World Bank). Compared to other central Asian countries, such as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, this stands it in very good stead. Nevertheless, the Tajik economy is still very much dependent on remittances from expatriate Tajikistanis, accounting for 30-50% of Tajikistan's total GDP.
There are several key economic sectors in Tajikistan which expatriates should be aware of:
- Agriculture: Cotton makes a powerful and impactful contribution to the agricultural sector and the national economy as a whole. The crop accounts for 60% of all agricultural yield, 75% of the provincial population rely on it, and its production takes up 45% of irrigated arable land. However, food staples such as grain must be imported from neighboring Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
- Mining and minerals: Tajikistan is blessed with a plethora of gold, silver, and antimony deposits. The most abundant silver deposits are located in Sughd Province, which is also home to Tajikistan’s largest gold mining operation. Other mining assets can also be boasted by Tajikistan including strontium, salt, lead, zinc, fluorspar, and mercury. Finally, Fossil fuel deposits are exclusively coal, of which roughly 30,000 tons are mined every year.
- Fishing: Tajikistan is not renowned for producing huge quantities of fish. However, that being said, every year fish farms produce fish stock numbering hundreds of tons.
- Industry and manufacturing: Over recent years, industrial and manufacturing production has been revitalized considerably. Tajikistan’s major heavy industries are aluminum processing and chemical production. However, there are some small, light industrial plants which specialize in the production of textiles and processed foods. Thanks to a highly successful cotton industry, the textile sector is able to process a 20% home grown cotton output. Finally, several new infrastructure and housing projects have been launched so Dushanbe is growing and developing constantly.
Income Taxation in Dushanbe
All expatriates are subject to corporate income tax (CIT) in Tajikistan.
CIT is calculated by applying the standard 25% rate to taxable income (15% for enterprises producing goods). Importantly, CIT liability will never be less than 1% of your total aggregate income.
Luckily, to attract more investment the government is reducing its rates, so by 2017 they could be as little as 23% or 13% for companies producing goods.
Recently, a new simplified tax regime has been introduced which is applicable for individuals and small businesses. However, the scheme is only permitted if an individual or enterprise’s annual income does not exceed 500,000 TJS.
People who are eligible for this scheme are exempt from income tax, road tax, and VAT, which will be a refreshing surprise for expatriates arriving from the west.
As for local taxes, you’ll be glad to know there aren’t any.
Work permits for Dushanbe
Work permits are a central concern for anybody aspiring to begin working in Tajikistan. If you are a permanent employee of your current company, applying for a work permit is easier because you’ll receive “sponsorship” for your entire stay from your prospective employer. The Tajik work permit entirely relies on this particular sponsorship because it assures the government that you’ll be earning money throughout your stay.
However, there are certain exceptional circumstances where work permit exemptions are available to foreign firms. These can include those who participate in economic investment, as well as representatives of large foreign companies who are contributing to development projects. In these circumstances, an investment visa is all that’s necessary, and there is no additional need for a permit.