Ministry of Finance Suggests Investors Working On Trust
The discussion on increasing the investment attractiveness of the state “Through Investment Attractiveness To The Economy Of Trust” took place at the 11th Gaidar Forum at the Presidential Academy in a confidential atmosphere of a business dinner. High-ranking officials, business representatives, heads of constituent entities of the Russian Federation spoke quite frankly about one of the key issues of the economic development strategy and the traps they had to step over.
The main “hero” of the discussion was the bill “On the Protection And Promotion of Investment and the Development of Investment Activity in the Russian Federation”. The second reading of the document in the State Duma is scheduled before the end of January. This law was also mentioned by President of Russia Vladimir Putin in his annual Message to the Federal Assembly. The head of state emphasized that the document should be ready as soon as possible.
“As an official, I am obliged to report to those present on the work done,” Andrei Ivanov, Deputy Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation took the floor. - By the second reading of the bill, proposals from businesses and regions remained unchanged in the document. Moreover, in the new edition, the investment regime applies to all types of entrepreneurial activity. We are moving towards trust - we are reducing the number of procedures for investors ready to invest, and we are making the process of signing investment agreements as public and transparent as possible.”
Investment agreements will be concluded in electronic form, they will clearly state the obligations of the state, and the document will be available for review. According to the authors of the bill, such measures will protect investors from surprises and force the regional authorities to act more actively and fulfill all their obligations. Electronic document management will speed up and simplify communication.
“We praise officials very little but scold them a lot,” Aleksey Chichkanov, Gazprombank First Vice-President said, “but it should be noted that Russia is changing faster in a regulatory area than many countries. The public-private partnership institute has appeared about 10 years ago, now the volume of signed investments is one trillion rubles.” He noted that stability in regulatory mechanisms is especially important for regions: “Each subject of the Federation that has successfully concluded a concession agreement in one area will conclude it in another. And that’s the main indicator of growing trust and confidence.”
Regions’ representatives that took part in the discussion confirmed the view that predictability and transparency of relations with business benefit everyone. According to Natalia Komarova, Head of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District-Ugra, it was thanks to public-private partnerships that the region was able to fulfill the presidential decree on providing a sufficient number of pre-school institutions. In five years, 125 kindergartens were built, with a third of them built on PPP terms. Komarova emphasized that at that time, the relevant local law had already been adopted in Ugra.
Vyacheslav Fedorishchev, First deputy Governor, the Tula region, believes that Russia has created enough institutes for business development and attracting investments, but there is a problem of entrepreneurs’ being underinformed: they simply do not know how many support measures they can receive. Therefore, regional authorities should take a proactive position if they want to build high-quality long-term relations with the business community. “We are expecting high-tech businesses to appear in the region. But if we ourselves do not engage in urban improvement, develop modern transport, and show entrepreneurs that we are interested in them and in long-term projects, there will be no trust from the business,” Fedorishchev said.
An important role in this “movement towards” was played by the Regional Investment Rating compiled by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. Alexander Pirozhenko, ASI Deputy Director General called it a real tool for influencing the quality of conducting business activity. The research technique is constantly being improved. “We added unrated indicators to expand the overview,” Pirozhenko said. - “We separately interview large businesses on the same issues; its opinion is somewhat blurred among small and medium-sized enterprises in the ranking. We evaluate the performance of organizations involved in attracting investments, we will also interview their customers to get to know how satisfied they are.”
There is an objective problem of municipalities managerial personnel’s qualification, said Viktor Semenov, Founder of the Belaya Dacha companies group. “At the regional level, economic programs work pretty well, but if we go down to the municipal level, what we see there is an obvious crisis of competencies.” People want to work, but they don’t know how. I was a deputy 20 years ago, we did our best strengthening the country and concentrated everything in the higher authorities’ possession - they were at the helm of finances, too. Now we need to take part of the powers back from the higher-ups, because the municipalities are in charge of the environment. Governors, no matter how brilliant they can be, obviously will not have time to control the work of every shop and hairdresser’s.”
Discussing, which is more important - democracy or predictability, business representatives all spoke in favor of the latter. “It’s important for us to understand the vitality of long-term investments, the transparency and predictability of the business, the ability to integrate into national projects,” emphasized Alexey Malinovsky, Head of Mastercard Russia. - “All this can be found in modern Russia. Of course, we can still improve some indicators, but in general we can't complain.”
The 11th Gaidar Forum “Russia and the World: Challenges of the New Decade” is being held at the Presidential Academy on January 15 and 16, 2020. The forum is focused on the goals of national and global development and the search for practical answers to the most pressing challenges of our time. The forum is attended by ministers of the Government of the Russian Federation, members of the Federal Assembly, governors of the Russian regions, prominent international experts, and representatives of foreign states.
The organizers of the 11th Gaidar Forum are the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia.
The title partners of the Gaidar Forum are Gazprom PJSC and Gazprombank JSC. The strategic partners are Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Russian Railways, Pharmstandard group of companies, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novartis group of companies, MSD, AKIG group of companies, EF Education First. Partners are Prosveshchenie group of companies, EY, Huawei, RVC JSC, Russian Agricultural Bank JSC.
The title information partners of the Gaidar Forum are the Russia-24 TV channel, TASS, RBC, Business FM. The strategic information partners are Kommersant Publishing House, Interfax, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Invest Foresight magazine, Federal Press Agency. The main information partners are Anews.com, Gazeta.Ru, Lenta.Ru, News.ru, Profile. International partners are RT, ThomsonReuters, Sputnik, EFE, Cision, Pan Pacific Agency. Information partners are Snob media project, AEI PRIME, RNS, Expert magazine, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, Polit.ru, Ekho Moskvy radio station, PRO Business TV channel, FINAM.RU information and analytical agency, Davydov.Index, Strategiya magazine, Ekonomika i Zhizn newspaper, Econs portal, Gosudarstvennaya Sluzhba magazine, TV BRICS.