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Local warming

Favorable investment climate will allow Chukotka to increase GRP by half a billion rubles a year

Growing business in the Arctic is just as difficult as potatoes and tomatoes. For this, we need hothouse conditions. Two years ago, in Chukotka, with the support of the regional government, the Economic Development and Direct Investment Fund was established. Olga Plotnikova, director of the fund, told about the investment climate control and the first harvest of business projects to EastRussia correspondent.

Local warming
- Olga Sergeyevna, the fund that you manage is, in fact, the first in the history of the Chukotka Autonomous Region non-state institution for the development of entrepreneurship. What areas of your work can be called priority?
- At the first stage, the government of the Autonomous Okrug set us the task of attracting the attention of business to the territory of advanced development "Beringovsky". We help entrepreneurs who wish to become residents of the TOP and the free port of Vladivostok (SPV), prepare relevant applications. The status of the resident gives a number of advantages, including tax benefits. Applications are considered by the Corporation for the Development of the Far East. A resident can become an enterprise that undertakes to invest at least 500 thousand rubles in the business within the next three years. Following the results of 2016, with the support of the regional authorities, we managed to attract 12 multidirectional investment projects. Now there are a lot more of them, including due to the fact that our functions have significantly expanded.
 
- How?
- The fund team helps entrepreneurs not only become residents of TOP or SPV, but also determine the best strategy for implementing a business project. Based on the specifics of the enterprise, we select the list of available types of state support, help to formalize applications for grants and subsidies, prepare business plans - all of this, of course, for free. The fund helps entrepreneurs find co-investors or other available sources of funding - for example, to take a loan from a commercial bank.
In February 2017, we received the status of a regional guarantee organization. This is a huge step forward. Now our foundation can act as a guarantor for credit agreements, leasing agreements, and contracts for the provision of a bank guarantee. A guarantee, instead of a property pledge, is what really opens up access to credit resources for small and medium-sized businesses. The Fund ensures the fulfillment of the borrower's obligations within 70% of the amount of the loan requirements of the bank. The guarantee fee is small - 0,5% per annum.
But that's not all. In June of 2017, we received accreditation in JSC "Corporation for the Development of SMEs". Now we offer a fundamentally new product "Sogarantiya" - the suretyship is formalized on behalf of our fund in conjunction with the SME Development Corporation.
One reservation - "Sogarantiya" implies certain restrictions on the types of activities. For example, we do not act as guarantors for enterprises that manufacture excisable goods, engage in trade, gambling and construction of real estate for sale. Other activities, including production or, for example, domestic and transport services are supported by the SME Development Corporation, the Chukotka Development Fund, the legal regime of TOP and SPV.
Especially effective our guarantee will be for investors directing money to upgrade equipment or other capital costs. Now invest in the development of their own business, its modernization and expansion has become more comfortable.
It is very important that the leading players in the credit market in our region - such as the Asia-Pacific Bank, Sberbank, Rosselkhozbank, SME Bank and others - are willing to lend to small and medium-sized businesses on preferential terms. For investment projects, they offer rates well below market rates.
 
- At the beginning of the conversation, you mentioned direct measures of state support for small and medium-sized businesses - grants and subsidies. Are there any measures for startups?
- Of course, the state supports young enterprises. Entrepreneurs of a small segment of the economy who work no more than 18 months within the framework of socially important areas for the region can receive a grant for starting a business. To date, we have helped to formalize nine such projects, including three in the field of crop and livestock production. These areas are very important for Chukotka, because food security is one of our key priorities. Two of the three projects have already received grants.
Not only the government is involved in financing socially significant projects. We cooperate with other organizations that support entrepreneurs. For example, for the construction of a greenhouse complex in the village of Vaegi, Anadyrsky district, we assisted in drawing up an application for the found by the initiator found a co-investor - it was the Kupol Fund. The first vegetables from new greenhouses will appear on the shelves of Pevek this winter.
 
- How successful were the TOP and SPV projects in Chukotka? How many residents managed to attract?
- Today, within the framework of the Beringovsky PDA, the 23 project has already been implemented in various sectors of the economy, such as coal mining, gold mining, alternative energy, solid waste recycling, drinking water treatment, fish and meat processing, electricity, communications, gas supply, and additional education for children. The total investment in these projects is 15,5 billion rubles. It is planned to create 1200 new jobs.
At the moment, the Development Corporation of the Far East has approved three more applications, now they are preparing agreements. One of the companies plans to provide transportation services, another - to organize children's milk kitchens and to produce diet food, the third will process hazardous household waste. The total amount of investments for future residents will be 16,6 million rubles, they will provide work for 49 people.
Also registered are two residents of the Free Port of Vladivostok with a total investment of 10,2 million rubles. One of the enterprises will clean up and bottling drinking water, the other I have already said is a green house.
In total, following the results of our joint work with the government of the Chukotka Autonomous District, 38 projects were prepared. 31 has already received financial support. More than a billion rubles of direct investments were invested in the region's economy.
We associate great hopes with the industrial park, which opened this year. A maximum-favored-nation treatment regime was established for its residents. All the tasks facing them - from drawing up business plans and finding sources of financing to connecting communications and garbage disposal - are resolved on the principle of a "single window". Production facilities in the park can be rented or built independently.
 
- What investment projects have you selected for presentation at the WEF?
- For the forum, we prepared two promising investment projects, in the implementation of which the government of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug is interested. Both will be presented by our fund to the audience of potential investors on the site supervised by TASS.
The first project is the development of the Pikkakai Stockworks tin deposit. It is located in the northern part of Chukotka, near Pevek, which now enters the Freeport of Vladivostok. It is supposed to lead the extraction of tin by the open method. The implementation of the project implies three stages: design, delivery of materials and construction of a processing plant. World demand for tin is growing, as electronics production is increasing every year. The project is estimated at 18,2 billion rubles. And is designed for 29 years of implementation.
The second project, which we intend to offer investors, is the arrangement of the existing oil and gas bearing field, the construction of an oil pipeline and a processing plant. The field is already being developed by the licensee, who extracts gas and supplies them with the city of Anadyr. However, the project needs development. The estimated volume of investments is 5,5 billion rubles. Estimated implementation time is 30 years with the possibility of additional exploration of the deposit and prolongation of the life of the project.
The government of the Chukotka Autonomous Region has prepared the most comprehensive package of incentives for potential investors. The region, in turn, expects the successful implementation of projects, the growth of GRP, increased comfort of living for the population and the creation of new jobs.
 
- How is the fund's interaction with the federal Ministry for the development of the Far East and other relevant agencies?
- The relationship is definitely productive. We got a unique opportunity to express our own proposals, to broadcast the wishes of business, and we were already convinced that we were being heard. The Fund maintains a systematic exchange of information with all relevant agencies, reviews the current conditions and the scope of proposals for investors in accordance with their needs. A common result is important, which can not be achieved alone.
 
- What tasks does the Economic Development Fund set for itself next year?
- In general, in less than two years, with the support of the government of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, we managed to build the architecture of the main areas of responsibility corresponding to the points of growth of the regional economy. Our main task for the near future is to improve the single window mechanism for investors, expand the geography of our services and sources of financing for promoted projects.
 
- What is your forecast for the social and economic development of Chukotka in the coming years?
- The economy of our region has a huge growth potential. The most promising sectors are the extraction of precious metals and hydrocarbons, agriculture, in particular, the construction of greenhouse complexes and the processing of fish and meat in accordance with international standards, and, of course, tourism.
If we talk about tourism - namely, it gives, according to the practice of the world economy, the greatest multiplier effect on the economy of the region in the form of the development of related industries
- for its advancement it is necessary to solve the problem of transport accessibility of the Far Eastern regions. And here the integrity of the approach is needed from the federal and regional authorities. According to a moderately pessimistic forecast, if we focus on these growth points, we will be able to raise GRP by half a billion rubles a year.
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