Minister A.R. Belousov to Take Part in the Conference named 100 Steps to a Favourable Investment Climate. New Benchmarks for Regions
On December 4—5, 2012, Moscow hosted the Conference held under the title 100 Steps to a Favourable Investment Climate. New Benchmarks for Regions.
The conference was organized by Vedomosti periodical with support of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, the conference’s general partner was the Agency of Strategic Initiatives for New Projects Promotion with the participation of the World Bank Group.
Representatives of federal executive authorities, non-government organizations, as well as of Russian and foreign business community, the World Bank experts from Singapore, Great Britain, New Zealand and Poland, heads of constituent units of the Russian Federation, and mayors of cities took part in the event.
On December 04, in his speech A.R. Belousov, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, placed special emphasis on the fact that Russia has immense reserves for the investment climate improvement. In the Minister’s opinion, Russia is a country with its investment potential underestimated, and there are two circumstances saying for this conclusion. “Firstly, Russia is the country of quickly emerging consumer and investment markets; every year the consumer market grows, on average, by 5—6 percent. Secondly, Russia has huge domestic savings. The share of total national savings makes about 30 percent of the Russian GDP, with its utilization, though, making only two thirds of such potential: we invest just 20 percent of GDP approximately”, said A.R. Belousov.
“With regard to the volume of the attracted foreign direct investments, Russia ranks among ten world leading BRICS countries, coming after Brazil and China: in 2011, Russia managed to attract USD 53 bln of direct foreign investments”, said the Minister, “but this figure cannot satisfy us since we have hardly more than a 3 percent share in the direct foreign investments market.”
The Minister also reminded that the picture of the Russia investment climate is not homogeneous but differs from region to region; there is a great difference between cities speaking about the number of procedures in the sphere of customs administration, construction regulation, and electric grids connection. “It means that there are very big reserves, even within the existing regulatory framework, for improvement of the situation in the country speaking about its investment climate”, said Belousov, stating, however, that “effective implementation of the investment policy must be carried out taking into account real-life features of the region, economic differentiation of neighbours, existing infrastructure, labour market status, and many other things.”
The issue of shaping the sustainable policy for establishment of favourable conditions for business in the regions, for attraction and support of investments was continued on the second day of the conference on December 05, when the first results of introduction of the Investment Standard in the pilot regions of the Russian Federation were discussed at the plenary session.
The Standard of Activities to be Held by the Executive Authorities of a Constituent Unit of the Russian Federation aimed at Ensuring a Favourable Investment Climate in the Region was elaborated by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia within the National Business Initiative and includes 15 basic requirements to the business environment of the regions (including: mandatory elaboration of the region investment strategy and the required infrastructure, investment objects formation scheme, introduction of the procedure for evaluation of the regulatory power of statutory acts in the sphere of business activities, establishment of a consultancy coordinating body and a specialized agency for attraction of investments, and others). At the moment the Standard is being implemented in 13 regions of Russia: with the collaboration of the ASI, the Standard has been tested in 6 “pilot” regions (the Republic of Tatarstan, Perm Krai, and the Kaluga, Lipetsk, Sverdlovsk, and Ulyanovsk oblasts), within the period from April to September 2012, as well as in 5 constituent units of the Russian Federation (the Republic of Bashkortostan, and the Astrakhan, Belgorod, Chelyabinsk, and Yaroslavl oblasts); independently, without the ASI’s participation, the Standard is being implemented in the Tula and Leningrad oblasts.
“The Standard implementation does not have an immediate economic effect”, said A.R. Belousov at the plenary session, “however, it makes it possible to provide each region with necessary tools for improving its investment appeal, to create a system of sharing the best practices of investment attraction and cooperation with investors, which is the system we lack at the moment, and to improve the mechanism of interaction between business and state authorities.” “It is important that taking these measures do not turn into a proclamation lacking real effect, but it must be maintained with achieving of particular results in creating an investment infrastructure. The measures must work, and the business must be involved in monitoring of their implementation,” said the Minister.
At the conference, the RF Ministry of Economic Development was also represented by Deputy Minister S. Yu. Belyakov.
On December 4, Mr. Belyakov spoke at the plenary meeting entitled ‘Looking into the Future: mechanisms of managing changes aimed at reducing administrative barriers and improving entrepreneurship climate’ which was devoted to the discussion of the best Russian and foreign practices of removing administrative barriers. In his speech, Mr. Belyakov noted that the key issue of improving the investment climate is a radical change of mentality of public officials who must perceive the way they solve the problems of the private sector as a decisive incentive. Deputy Minister also expressed his hope that the first significant results of implementation of the National Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Regional Investment Standard would be recorded as early as mid-2013.
On December 5, S.Yu. Belyakov chaired two sessions within the framework of the conference. One was called ‘Intraregional Project Office to Develop a Plan of Infrastructure Facilities’ involving the presentation and discussion of the experience of various regions in developing regional investment strategies, plans of creation of investment projects and infrastructure facilities. The second session, ‘Development Corporation – what is it?’, was devoted to the discussion of approaches, organization formats and mechanisms of setting up regional specialized entities aimed at attracting investments and cooperating with investors, as well as the ways to adopt the experience of one region in other subjects of the Russian Federation.
On December 05, 2012, within the conference framework there were agreements signed on interaction in the foreign economy between the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, governments of the Volgograd and Yaroslavl oblasts and the Republic of Mordovia. On the part of the constituent units of the Russian Federation the agreements were signed by S.A. Bozhenov, Governor of the Volgograd Oblast, S.N. Yastrebov, Governor of the Yaroslavl Oblast, and V.D. Volkov, Head of the Republic of Mordovia; on the part of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia the agreements were signed by Minister A.R. Belousov.
The goal of the agreements is to define the measures to be taken by the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, trade missions of the Russian Federation abroad, and constituent units of the Russian Federation aimed at implementation of specific projects on attraction of foreign investments into the regions of Russia and promotion of Russian products in the foreign markets. Implementation of the specified agreements will enable more active interaction between the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia and constituent units of the Russian Federation, including within the framework of the measures taken by the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia in order to shape a new image of trade missions of the Russian Federation and implementation of Supporting Access to the Foreign Markets of Countries and Export Support Road Map.
Earlier, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia entered into agreements on interaction in the foreign economy with the governments of the Kaluga, Nizhny Novgorod, Penza, Sverdlovsk, Tula, and Ulyanovsk oblasts, as well as of the Republic of Tatarstan.