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Maxim Tarasov: We solve the problems of both large investors and small businesses
Among the structures designed to ensure the flow of investments to the Khabarovsk Territory, the Ministry of Investment Development and Entrepreneurship has a special mission - to create comfortable conditions for those who invest in the region.
When an investor has systemic problems, the solution is found in this ministry, whether it is amending legislation, or linking the work of business and local authorities. But in addition to large-scale billion-dollar projects, the ministry also oversees small businesses, including the self-employed. About how it looks in practice, EastRussia was told by the Minister of Investment Development and Entrepreneurship of the Territory Maxim Tarasov.
- How would you describe the current situation with the business climate in the Khabarovsk Territory? How did the pandemic affect him?
- We passed the last year quite calmly. Both federal measures and regional support measures worked in a timely manner, allowed enterprises to go through the period relatively stable when everything was closed, the economy was on the brake, and only certain areas were working in full force.
Based on the results of the first quarter of 2021, we see that the process of economic recovery is underway. At the same time, there were still activities where the decline continues: the tourism industry in particular. However, the reasons for the decline in the tourism industry are understandable even to those who are far from entrepreneurial activity. Due to the pandemic, all movements abroad are still severely limited, there is no previous activity in movements within the country. Everyone tries to relax either at home or near home. Some kind of surge can be expected, I think, after the general vaccination, when restrictions will become a thing of the past, and we will get used to the coronavirus as we got used to the flu.
- In a nutshell, how would you describe the business atmosphere in the region: pessimistic, expectant?
- I would say that everything began to come to life a little. You know that, for example, very serious restrictions have been imposed on public catering, and after they have been lifted, turnover in this area has been slowly recovering during this year. And after catering, the leisure industry followed: clubs, exhibitions, cinemas, which also began to rise, because the occupancy rate is growing. Specific figures will be a little later, but I will say that we recorded a revival based on the results of the first and second quarters.
However, now, you know, there has again been an alarming pause due to the aggravation of the covid situation in the region. For this fire event in 2021, the regional government has an open list of preferential economic activities, which now, as you know, consists of 16 industries. Including hotel business, tourism, passenger road transport, catering and social and cultural services. We are ready to add industries in need of support to this list.
- What major projects are currently being implemented in the region, which of them do you supervise and how? Here I would like to clarify that the average person has a question: there is the Ministry of Economic Development, there is the Agency for Attracting Investments, there is you - the Ministry of Investment Development. Is there a duplication here?
- There is no duplication of functions. Attracting investments, working with an investor is a multifaceted activity. The functions of the Ministry of Economic Development include, first of all, the analysis of macroeconomic indicators characterizing the dynamics of the socio-economic development of the region, the formation of an economic growth strategy, the forecast for the development of key sectors of the economy, the rate of economic development, including the assessment of the effects from the implementation of investment projects. Our Ministry of Investment Development and Entrepreneurship is also engaged in the development of a strategy, but in terms of investment policy. What do I mean when I talk about strategy? Formation of favorable conditions for investment by creating legislative instruments, a system of state support measures and stimulating investment activity.
And the Agency for Attracting Investments and Development of Innovations is engaged in a specific practical side of investment activities. There is an investor who says: “Here I have money, I have a desire, here are my parameters” - and the agency will shovel everything to calculate what the investor may be interested in, what support measures can be provided to him in line ministries, and so on.
However, a situation often arises when in the course of the implementation of an investment project a certain legislative gap is revealed - and here our ministry comes into play. Frankly, the realization of such a division of tasks did not come immediately, but now everything is exactly how it works.
The agency performs the function of a “one window”, and now the investor does not need to run to different authorities himself, he communicates with the agency, which is looking for the best solutions for him. It accompanies, leads by the hand of every investor. And we connect when a problem arises.
- An example would give. I would like from the recent ones.
- I can give you an example. There is a resident of the Komsomolsk ASEZ, the Dalstalindustriya company, which has a project to build a plant for hot-dip galvanizing of metal structures worth 1,5 billion rubles. One day the company has a financial problem related to the provision of a guarantee. Simply put, part of the guarantee for the planned bank loan was to be provided by the Federal Corporation for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises, and the other part - by the Guarantee Fund of the Khabarovsk Territory. Due to the ambiguity of the legislation, the possibilities of our Guarantee Fund were limited, and we, the Ministry of Investment Development and Entrepreneurship, have resolved this issue. We made the necessary changes to the documents of the regional government and the regulatory framework of the Guarantee Fund. As a result, our Guarantee Fund, together with the SME Corporation, was able to participate in the transaction on the terms of co-guarantee for the company to receive a loan from a federal bank.
If there is a need to amend, say, the regional legislation, then we work with the Legislative Duma of the Khabarovsk Territory.
Another example illustrating another aspect of our ministry's activities is legislative work to reduce administrative barriers for SMEs. So, to make it easier for our farmers to obtain land, we have made changes to the legislation, and now they can get a land plot without holding an auction. This, I emphasize, applies to small and medium-sized enterprises that are engaged in production activities.
By the way, the same convenient mechanism has been created for investors in technoparks. Why technoparks?
Last year, a large logistics center was built on the territory of the Avangard park. And we noticed that, despite the difficult situation due to the coronavirus, the number of companies operating there has increased. That is, park projects remain in great demand even during the crisis. And the ministry worked proactively by introducing amendments to our regional legislation that allow giving preference to an investor who decides to build a private technological or industrial park. As I said, now you can get a land plot for such a project without bidding. Now the investors of one of our flagship projects - the Amur Technopark - have applied to receive land without bidding. In the future, we intend to thoroughly test the new procedure from the first to the last step in order to remove all possible roughness.
- Can all investors count on such preferences? And those who invested 1 million rubles, and those who 100 million rubles?
- Not. Such preferences are given to large-scale projects, and the scale is measured by the specific amount of investment. For this, the cost of the technopark should be from 200 to 500 million rubles. The choice of land is carried out independently, there is a clear list of technical requirements for the technopark, which the regional legislation imposes on investors: the minimum area of the land plot should be 3,5 hectares, the minimum area of premises - 5000 square meters.
- For what large investment projects did the ministry still have to get involved?
- For example, under the project of development by the Russian Copper Company (RMK) of the famous porphyry copper deposit Malmyzh. We have a working group created by the government of the Khabarovsk Territory together with Amur Minerals LLC (part of the RMK), and when questions arise about the implementation of a project, the working group resolves them as quickly as possible. Last year we worked quite closely on the issue of land plots. The situation there was not ordinary. Firstly, the plots are located in the forest fund, and secondly, they are located on the territory of two municipal districts, and according to the law, one object cannot be located on land plots belonging to different districts. We worked with this issue for a long time, but nevertheless we solved the problem.
There are other major projects, according to which the ministry and the government are involved in solving some issues. Most often they are related to the transport and logistics component and the issue of attracting local contractors. This is how we worked with Exxon Neftegas Limited on a project to build a Far East liquefied gas plant in De-Kastri.
- How can you measure the performance of the ministry?
- It can be measured by specific numbers of attracting investments to the Khabarovsk Territory and the number of jobs created.
- But the Agency for attracting investments and development of innovations reports with the same figures?
- Yes, because in the end we all work for the same result, although we do different work.
- Yes that's right. Let me remind you that there is a KPI (key performance indicator from the English Key Performance Indicator - ed.), According to which, in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 474 of July 21.07.2020, 2030 "On the national development goals of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030" In 70, the investment growth rate should be at least 2030%. That is, our investments should almost double by 2020, if we take it for the base year 237. To understand the enormity of the tasks, I will say that last year the volume of investments in the economy of the region amounted to about 2019 billion rubles. Growth by 24 is 70%, but XNUMX% will have to be paid. That is, there is a very serious and painstaking work ahead, in which there are no trifles.
- What areas of the economy are potential investors interested in? Whom to expect soon and with what projects?
- I will not name specific companies yet, as it is too early. I will say this: there is a new transport and logistics project and there is a new project for the processing of natural resources.
- A forest, perhaps?
- Including the forest. Yes, you can't go anywhere, the Khabarovsk Territory is one of the richest regions in terms of this resource, and in comparison with all our Far Eastern neighbors in terms of depth and processing volumes, we are the first. But we need to continue timber processing. 40% is processed now, and if the border is closed again due to a pandemic, it will be vital for us to increase processing capacity.
- And how does small business feel, what the numbers say, how many are there: more or less?
- In 2020, there was a decrease in the number of SMEs, statistics show us this. As of January 10, 2020, 51 small and medium-sized enterprises were registered in the region, and as of January 617, 10 - 2021, that is, the difference is within 50 thousand (197%). Now the situation is leveling off, the number of SMEs is growing, which we can see from the changes that the tax authorities make to the register of small and medium-sized businesses. SMEs are little by little, but they are increasing.
At the same time, there is a segment in SMEs that has been developing at a rapid pace since its appearance in July last year. They are self-employed. As of June 10, 2021, 14 self-employed were registered in the region, and the growth does not stop (editor's note - as of August 319, 01 there were 2020 self-employed, as of January 1294, 01 - 2021). We have been observing this growth for a year now, and we understand that this is a very successful tax regime. It allows anyone to sell a product or service that they have made or performed themselves. It is significant that individual entrepreneurs who work on their own, without hired workers, are also switching to this taxation regime.
- And these data of 14 thousand self-employed are included in the total number of entrepreneurs - in the 50 that you just named?
- In general, the statistics on the structure of the self-employed, who is an individual and who is an individual entrepreneur, is updated by the Federal Tax Service once a quarter. However, of course, in these 50-plus thousand there is a part of self-employed individual entrepreneurs, but very small: less than 1.
We can already say with confidence that the regime of the self-employed in our country, as they say, has shot up. Because the system itself is very simple, built on transparent and understandable principles. I have already said about the first principle: you can sell everything that you have made yourself, except for excisable goods, and you can provide all services that, in fact, are the work of your hands and your head. The second principle is that there should be no hired workers, the third is that the total income for the year should not exceed 2,4 million rubles. That is, the law allows a turnover of an average of 200 thousand rubles per month. From this amount, 4% is paid if the work is done with individuals, 6% - if with legal entities. No accounting is needed, since everything is done through an online application that can be installed on the phone. The program independently calculates everything, the data immediately goes to the tax office, you do not need to fill out and send tax returns. Everything works automatically: checks are sent to those clients with whom the transaction was made.
- And what about the patents?
- The patent taxation system and the tax on professional income are different tax regimes. The entrepreneur himself chooses whether to buy a patent or go self-employed. In the patent system, an individual entrepreneur can hire up to 15 people.
In 2021, the patent system has changed and is being tested, so to speak. As many probably know, in 2020, changes were made to the Tax Code of the Russian Federation, at the beginning of this year we made changes to our patent system - the list of activities for which a patent can be purchased was expanded, an entrepreneur was granted the right to make a tax deduction for the amount of contributions to the Social Insurance Fund. For example, a person buys a patent, he pays contributions to the Social Insurance Fund, receives documents confirming how much he paid, submits them to the tax office, and the tax authority takes these funds into account in the final settlement for the patent.
How exactly does it work? In the first three months, you need to pay 30% for the patent, the remaining amount, 70%, you can pay on the last day of the patent, but it is already issued, you can work. At the same time, before the final calculation, it is necessary to pay the mandatory contributions to the FSS, notify the tax authorities - and they will already calculate how much to pay for the patent, taking into account the already paid 30% and the amount paid to the FSS. And this is an innovation that was specially developed to smoothly make the transition to a patent from UTII.
- And also about the self-employed - in what spheres are they the most? How are they distributed?
- The most popular industry is the transportation industry: taxi drivers, trucks, micro trucks. Further, of course, this is the service sector - hairdressing, beauty salons, manicure, pastry shops. And there is one more area that pleases us with its growth. This is the sphere of IT services: website development, application writing, computer equipment repair. This is exactly the category of entrepreneurs who in the future can use the same technopark, these are potential residents of the technopark.
- Have you already tried to research - why so many people suddenly decided to go self-employed? These are all those who used to sit in the shadows and did not report to anyone?
- Of course, we are interested, and we ask these questions to the self-employed. And, oddly enough, most often we are told that self-employment is an opportunity to "whitewash" income. That is, the logic is as follows: you can no longer be afraid of falling under a criminal article for illegal entrepreneurial activity, on the other hand, the income received does not need to be hidden, trying to legalize it somehow. In the era of total electronic payments, as you know, this is difficult.
And the third is the simplicity of the system itself, as I mentioned earlier. In addition, the exit of enterprises from the shadows is encouraged and encouraged by the state. So, those self-employed who confirm their income in a bank or in our Fund for the Support of Small Business of the Khabarovsk Territory can get a small loan on preferential terms: up to 500 thousand rubles at a rate of no more than 5% per annum.
There is also a plus for the consumer in self-employment, since the official self-employed - the supplier of a service or product - is already responsible, guarantees quality with his name.
- And what are the systemic complaints of entrepreneurs?
- Business always asks for a reduction in the tax burden, asks for tax benefits. There are also complaints about administrative barriers, especially in the field of construction, in the field of connection to electricity and heat networks, to the infrastructure of natural monopolies. Small and medium-sized businesses are complaining about inspections by various authorities: from firefighters to Rospotrebnadzor.
- From small business to high expectations. Khabarovsk Territory hosts and organizes an investment forum - "Energy of the Far East". What do you think it will give the region?
- Of course, the opportunity to declare yourself. For a long time, there have not been such major events in the Khabarovsk Territory where it would be possible to show investors - both existing and potential - what the Khabarovsk Territory is now, to declare the opportunities that exist and that will appear in the future.
Take, for example, the project of creating a border crossing on the island of Bolshoy Ussuriysk. Yes, the topic is old, but now new life has been breathed into it. It is these unique projects that can play a key role when an investor chooses a place for future business.
Or another promising area: broad logistics capabilities of the Khabarovsk Territory. Everyone knows Primorye with its large ports, but we also have ports in Vanino and Sovetskaya Gavan! And on the territory of the Khabarovsk Territory, in contrast to Primorye, there are powerful aviation and railway junctions. And just about this we need to tell all investors, show the goods with their faces, demonstrate our huge industrial, transport and logistics potential.