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Can the Far Eastern regions settle at the top of the National Investment Climate Rating

As a result of 2018, the first 30-ku of the National rating of the state of the investment climate in the subjects of Russia were two Far Eastern regions: the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Kamchatka Territory. Why they managed to do this, but other subjects of the macroregion failed, in an interview with EastRussia, Olga Kurilova, head of the Far Eastern representative office of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, argues.

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Photo: Natalia Mironova

- Olga Sergeyevna, Yakutia showed the most impressive results, becoming the leader of growth. Over the year, she rose from 52 to 22 place. Due to what, in your opinion?

- We have repeatedly said that if the head of the region is interested in systematic work to improve the investment climate, then all levels of government will begin to work on the result. While still the mayor of Yakutsk, Aisen Nikolayev and his team introduced the best municipal practices offered by ASI, participated in testing projects related to human resources, conducted foresight fleet sessions - a project aimed at developing a city model as a territory for implementing NTI that unites technological entrepreneurs, investors, experts.  

He was the only Far Eastern mayor participating in the Agency’s agenda, he understood that this would give not only the development of the territory, but also change the work of the officials. He now has a young, ambitious team.

In addition, Yakutia has always shown good results in supporting small and medium-sized businesses. Uluses offered their measures, in remote areas of a huge republic SME support centers operated.

Yes, there were difficulties on the regulator, the speed of connection to electricity, heat, water. But the government began to meet with the business, heard entrepreneurs, made changes to the regulatory framework. The most important thing is that behind the ambitions of Yakutia there is a desire not only to fulfill the presidential assignment, hitting the 30 rating, but also to turn its republic into a better territory.

Every year it is becoming more and more difficult to get into the top of the rankings - the gap between regions is in tenth points. In 2019, in order to stay in place, it was necessary to score four to eight points to the result of 2018. Yakutia scored 24, Kamchatka Krai - 9,8. They deservedly entered TOP-30.

- Primorye became the second after Yakutia "growth leader" of the National rating, having risen immediately to 20 places - from 75 to 55 place. Due to what?

- Being on the last positions of the rating, it is easier to make a dash. It is more difficult to climb up from the first half of the rating, such as, for example, Kamchatka managed to climb four points - and get into 30-ku.

However, in Primorye, business notes improvement in the work of the Federal Registration Service, a reduction in the terms of registration of ownership, a reduction in the terms of connection to the power grid - it used to take 110 days before this procedure, now 80. But even here there is a potential for growth: in Russia there are regions where this figure is two times less.

With the arrival of Governor Oleg Nikolaevich Kozhemyako in the region, investment advice has finally earned, and the business highly appreciated his work. Also, entrepreneurs note the improvement in direct communication with the management of the entity, the work of the investment agency. You see, there were things that were not done in principle or did not work, and when they appeared, the business immediately saw the difference.

But construction permits are still issued for a long time. On the other hand, representatives of the administration at meetings complain that there are not enough construction companies in the region. Paradoxical situation! If the builders are few, then the burden on the officials working with them is less, which means that you can issue permits as soon as possible.

There are not so many entrepreneurs in the Far East as in the central part of the country, and in our opinion, this is an advantage due to which you can track where and in what place the error occurred in issuing documents. And then all the processes will go to the system level.

- The authorities of the Kamchatka mentioned by you explained their result with general systemic work. In what other regions can take an example from the Kamchatka region?

- For three years, Kamchatka has improved its position on a number of indicators - it is the quality and availability of financial support, the level of SME development, the effectiveness of the investment council and the Kamchatka Krai Development Corporation. It was possible to reduce the number of inspections per year. We started with the fact that one enterprise was subjected to at least two or three checks, now on average - one. They have achieved a reduction in the number of additional documents that are not required by the regulations, which are requested by the inspectors. But at the same time, there are more companies facing administrative pressure. And not only in Kamchatka - the indicator has worsened in almost all Far Easterners, except for the Amur Region.

- But control is necessary?

- Tasks have been set to go over to a risk-oriented approach during checks - this should be pursued. Where there is a threat to human life and health, it is necessary to approach with special importance and common sense.

But then another story begins. Supervisory authorities ask: "What now we do not check entrepreneurs at all?". There is a plan, there are laws - check. Yes, business is not against inspections, but they should not paralyze the activities of the enterprise and lead to losses.

We receive feedback from businessmen that often the inspectors act not strictly according to the rules, but at their own discretion, and when we, together with the heads of the regulatory agencies, after the appeals of business representatives, deal with specific situations, they sometimes take the side of the entrepreneur, agreeing that their subordinates subjectively evaluated this or that parameter. But if the entrepreneur did not insist on revision, he would have to redo the documents, pay fines. Need to change the approach to checks.

By the way, business at the same time emphasizes that it is easier to work with federal departments - they hear entrepreneurs, hold seminars and joint meetings.

And worst of all, the situation is in the municipalities. Entrepreneurs say that the documents there can literally look at the paragraphs. They saw the inaccuracy - they returned, the applicant redid, brought again. Within 30 days, the document is reviewed, the following error is found, and returned again. This can go on for a very long time. For municipal officials, this is the only way to show who is the authority here.

The agency together with its partners developed and implemented an educational program on the basis of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation in Khabarovsk, where specialists from municipalities are trained. And here it is important, when the regional authorities form a team to study, rely on municipal employees.

- You said that administrative pressure is a problem common to all Far Eastern subjects, but in the Amur region the situation is better. How did they manage to "taxi"?

- Acupressure work. In 2017, the Amur Region was one of the last places on this indicator, now in Group B, which is very good. They identified problem areas, collected seminars with leaders and responsible departments. They created an interdepartmental working group headed by Governor Vasily Orlov, which included all the heads of government bodies. All together, in the system - gave the result.

- What is the situation in the FEFD as a whole and how objective is it?

- More than three thousand Far Eastern businessmen said about the administrative pressure that business felt in the 2019 Rating polls, so this can be accurately regarded as an objective fact. Most often, the business faced pressure from natural monopolies - when connected to energy resources, water, heat. In second place law enforcement agencies - the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Interestingly, among all the federal agencies, the number of inspections is led by the tax service, and the business records the minimum administrative pressure - that is, entrepreneurs have less complaints about tax officers.

One more painful question, characteristic for different regions, can be described by the common phrase: “These are not our powers”. It is necessary to ensure that the entrepreneur who applies for the provision of a service and undergoes the procedure, fits into two steps: he brought the documents and took them from where he had passed. The principle of "one window". This requires the digitalization of public services for business. Here it is vital is necessary, eliminate all cases of corruption and accelerate the passage of procedures and services in general.

- What are the "growth points" of the Far Eastern regions?

- Over the year, many indicators have improved in the FEFD subjects, but we still fall behind in terms of cadastral registration, obtaining construction permits, and registration of ownership. Although at the same time one of the best indicators in the country of receipt of property rights in the Magadan region. We have more difficulty with the availability of credit resources, we are inferior in the number of investment infrastructure facilities - technology parks, industrial parks.

There are pluses. In some regions of the Far East Federal District - Magadan, Sakhalin, and Amur Oblasts, they are more quickly connected to the power grids, due to which the district has a good overall figure for the country. But for the rest of the regions - this is a growth point.

In the Magadan region, business speaks of difficulties with labor resources - this is an objective problem for the Far Eastern Federal District as a whole, and one cannot escape this. Each region must understand that it cannot change, but with what it is possible and necessary to work in perspective. On the same Kolyma, there are high indicators of the number of small and medium-sized businesses and their support.

Far-Eastern entrepreneurs point out that Internet portals have become better for a year, for example, on the portal of small and medium-sized businesses you can find the necessary information on obtaining support and subsidies. MFC opens for business.

What is the success of the teams of the regions that occupy the first lines of the rating? They work together: power, business, public associations. They already have a different consciousness.

We are sure that everyone has the opportunity to join the 30 leaders, and this depends solely on the teamwork of all levels of government. And the geographical position is not exactly affected. But the attention of the president for all of us adds a note of responsibility and the ability to work ahead.

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