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"We need to get out of debt trap faster"
Vladimir Ilyukhin, Governor of the Kamchatka Krai - on how to create reliable "runways" for new projects
- Vladimir Ivanovich, it seems that the federal center suddenly "saw the light" and turned to face Kamchatka. The government supported 4 of your investment projects (there was not a single one in Primorye, at that), the decision to create a TOP Kamchatka was one of the first. How did this happen, are there any grounds for optimism and enthusiasm?
Certainly, on the whole, we expect that the TOR "Kamchatka" will give good results. As part of the project, we plan to create about 2 thousands of new jobs. New productions and revenues to the regional budget are important for us.
The territory of advanced development "Kamchatka" in itself is very logical and I would even say - it is beautiful. It covers the sea gates of the region, the air harbor and the tourist component. We come to business in a complex way - so that to help tourists get to really interesting places, and for little money (otherwise who will go?). Now, when a cruise liner comes with a thousand people on board, only a few can get to, for example, the Valley of Geysers. There is no way to fly on anything except a helicopter, and this is quite expensive. Therefore, an idea arose within the framework of the TOR to develop small aircraft, to build runways for aircraft. In the area of tourist facilities for this already taken away the land. Businessmen are ready to buy small planes, build hotels, cafes and other tourist infrastructure facilities. Everything came together, you just need to implement it.
- The budget is a sore subject for many regions. How do you feel deeply subsidized Kamchatka region in an era of low oil prices and a falling ruble? Does he have “growth points”?
- Just the other day we held a regular meeting on the results of the past year. Conclusion: the situation, although tense, but still stable. And it's not that some crisis phenomena have not yet reached Kamchatka - the region quickly and painfully begins to feel all the difficulties. Just our anti-crisis plan really worked, we managed to maintain the basic parameters of the budget. The budget itself is "socially oriented", we continue to fulfill our basic obligations to citizens. Of course, against the background of the general economic downturn across the country, in our region the volumes of, for example, construction are declining. But at the same time, the mining sector, the agro-industrial complex and the fishing industry have grown up-and this is the basis of the Kamchatka economy. In 2015, as well as 7 years in a row, we again became leaders in Russia in terms of investment in the fishing industry and in terms of the volume of extraction of aquatic biological resources. Approached almost one million tons of catch and ahead of almost all of the volume of fish products produced. I am confident that we will pass the "turbulent" period in the economy smoothly. Of course, one must look at things realistically. It is impossible not to notice, for example, that the level of wages has increased, and real incomes of people, on the contrary, have decreased against the backdrop of rising prices. And there is tension in society, and anxiety. But at the same time, we manage to reduce the unemployment rate and implement social programs. This gives hope that we will not collapse our economy, in contrast to a number of other Russian territories.
- What about the filling of the treasury? In 2013, the budget of Kamchatka was self-sufficient only for a quarter, the rest consisted of subsidies from the center. Is it now possible to increase this share?
- I will not give concrete figures now, but we are really trying to make it so that the revenue part of our budget is not growing at the expense of the federal budget alone. It's complicated. As 8 other Far Eastern subjects of the Federation, we now have an agreement with the RF Ministry of Finance on subsidizing, because the level of income does not allow us to be independent. The structure of investments, which we planned in more prosperous times, was built on major projects and related tax revenues. Unfortunately, the crisis has made its own adjustments. Nevertheless, we manage to increase the volume of private investments. This gives hope for future growth. You see, from the side and the ignorant person it may seem that once "Moscow gives money", then the region can sit idly by. But in fact, such a subsidy is a debt trap, from which it is necessary to break out. I think that the problem will be solved first of all at the expense of the mining complex. We expect that it will fulfill the role of "locomotive" for Kamchatka. The development of the mining complex has finally begun. The first licenses for the extraction of ore gold were issued in the beginning
- As far as I know, Indian investors have shown interest in the coal industry. At what stage are you negotiating with them?
- We have a deposit of brown coal, large enough in terms of reserves. But will it be developed in the near future? I'm not sure. There are problems associated with the fact that from this field to the route Petropavlovsk - Milkovo is still a hundred kilometers off-road. The cut is located on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, there are no port facilities nearby. The transportation problem practically negates the possibility of developing this field, although the coal there is very good, in its caloric content it is close to that of coal. Indian partners are interested in the possibility of its extraction, but now they are calculating whether the project will be profitable.
At us and with other minerals all usually rests against infrastructure problems. That's why we started the "gold" projects only now, although the licenses got 20 years ago. It was necessary to deal with the energy, road network, create at least a minimal infrastructure. On coal deposits, such problems are yet to be solved.
- Do you have enough for all these plans for Kamchatka's power facilities?
-This is also a question. For three years I've been trying to "break through" the idea of building a hydroelectric power station on the Zhupanov River in the south of the region. It would solve the problem of electricity generation in the southern and central parts of the peninsula, including the cities of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Elizovo, and Vilyuchinsk. Zhupanov station, according to our calculations, will cost (in prices 2014) at about 52 billion rubles. This problem was not solved with the Ministry of Energy. I spoke about it with the president of the country, he instructed the ministry to return to the study of the matter. But so far the experts' conclusion is negative: they do not see the need for the construction of the station. Firstly, it is expensive, and secondly, with the energy in Kamchatka, everything seems to be normal. But one must think about the future, and not only about today!
- In the future, the capacity may not be enough? Or not enough now?
- Formally, if we proceed from the energy balance, we even have a stock. If there is a peak, the Mutnovskaya geothermal station and the Tolmachevsky cascade of HPPs are able to level the situation. But the main generation in the central node, of course, is provided by thermal stations. For today there are two Kamchatka CHP plants, which we transferred to gas. But in themselves they are very old - one forty years, another fifty. Years
Now we get gas at a certain price, with the production cost it has nothing to do. For Gazprom this is unprofitable. The project was initially, rather a "political" decision: the gas pipeline was pulled here from Sobolev, the price was set "from above". Sooner or later - I admit - it can change, and not in a favorable for Kamchatka side. Therefore, we are forced to look for an alternative, and in this case it is, first of all, the construction of a hydroelectric power station.
We, of course, have wind generation (on the island of Beringa, in Ust-Kamchatsk, modern wind turbine complexes are already operating, we will install windmills together with the Japanese in some 9 settlements). The effect is good, for example, on the island of Bering, we were able to replace about half of the diesel generation. But they solve the problem only in isolated energy nodes, they can not become the main sources of energy.
Unsolved issues in the field of energy mass. The industry is monopolized, the main player here is the structural units of RusHydro. Tariffs are among the highest in the country. We cannot affect them, and it is from the tariffs for electricity that “absolutely” dances. Of course, the cost of energy makes it possible to level off federal subsidies, but only slightly. The development of hydropower would help unleash this tangle of problems. By May 2016, we must once again submit our proposals to the presidential administration. And I will again insist on building a new hydroelectric station.
- Kamchatka is a region with difficult transport accessibility. How are you going to solve this problem?
-We are geographically peninsula, but in fact, for Kamchatka island problems are characteristic. We are cut off from the "mainland". The main mode of transport, including for internal communication, is aviation and we hope that it will develop.
Now the reconstruction of the runway at the main airport of the region, which has a dual - military and civilian use - is being completed. Now, together with Rosaviation, we are reconstructing almost all the northern airports of the region. Work is proceeding quite actively, funds are being allocated for it. Hope that years through
As for communication with the "mainland", the main part of the transportation is provided by Aeroflot. He works on the "shoulder" of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - Moscow and St. Petersburg. We have a small choice, and we are grateful to this airline. But at peak loads, during the season of summer holidays, ticket prices are simply unbearable. The airline operates so-called "flat tariffs", but in the total volume their specific gravity is extremely low. Of course, we are interested in the arrival of other airlines on our market. The company "Transaero", which flew to us simultaneously with Aeroflot, is no more. While we have agreed with the airline "Russia", and it comes to our market by the beginning of a new tourist season, ticket sales have already begun. I think this will help us a lot.
- It will be direct flights? Regular or chartered?
- No charters, they even talked about. Only regular flights. It was discussed that planes would fly to Moscow five days a week. We also raise the question of how to increase the number of flights to St. Petersburg and necessarily in a southerly direction, to Krasnodar or to Sochi, so that our residents can get there not through Khabarovsk or Novosibirsk, but directly.
Connection with Siberia is currently provided by the airline of the same name, and with Vladivostok and Khabarovsk - Aurora. In the summer there are charters for Japan and Korea, but they are not enough. We are also negotiating with Chinese partners ready to enter the air transportation market. We are interested in flights to Beijing and Harbin. Our southern neighbors show serious interest in Kamchatka, ready to organize flights. But with three transplants, you do not fly much. "Aurora" direct flights from us are unprofitable - they need to load their base airports in Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. And we could collect passengers from Chukotka and Magadan with our planes, make direct flights to Korea and China. But we need an airline that does this. As soon as the reconstruction of the aerodrome is completed and a new runway is put into operation (I hope this will happen in June 2016), it will be possible to conduct more substantive negotiations with partners.
- Will the deadlines for the completion of the work be not transferred again?
- The attention of the country's leadership to this construction inspires hope that there will be no more failures. I am glad that Spetsstroy, which is responsible for such an important facility, has overcome the crisis zone. In this corporation there is a division that specializes in airports, it is in our hands: it finished the construction of the strip in Vladivostok to the economic forum, now it has come to us. All concrete works are completed, now the problem is only in the infrastructure. It is necessary to protect the perimeter in accordance with security requirements, to prepare and launch a command and control center (KDP), to finish the installation of navigation equipment. In April, test flights of this strip should begin. In addition, Kamchatka has undertaken to build a new passenger terminal by the regional airline. The project was done in Krasnoyarsk, in February we need to get expert opinions on it and get down to work. Located this terminal will be next to the current one. I should note that here we also showed cautiousness: we studied the practice that developed in Russia when building airports. The options that our colleagues used did not suit us. We did not divide the company into "flying" and "airport" parts, with our small amount of work it is economically unprofitable.
- It depends on what to compare, of course. The terminal along with the entire infrastructure will cost us approximately 2 billion, 300 million rubles. The planned construction period is 48 months, but our builders consider it possible to meet the 2 of the year. We are all interested in completing the project as quickly as possible. This, by the way, is a very beautiful building with the capacity of 400 passengers per hour. Next - the hotel. Everything is compact and efficient. The terminal can be used for both federal and international airlines. We expect that the airport will be able to serve quite serious passenger traffic.
- Will the money be allocated from the regional budget?
- No, such a load for him would become excessive. We are now looking for investors and at the same time discussing the possibility of obtaining credit resources, we already have specific proposals from companies and from banks. While we act on the principle of "trust, but verify." I wouldn’t like to get into a situation where someone started construction, then I slowed down due to financial problems, and we will have to deal with the consequences. In order to maximally protect ourselves, our airline will begin to build the airport on its own. And we are ready to offer the business the following option: we sign an agreement, they transfer funds in advance (for example, a controlling stake in 51% or more, in this case it does not matter). We conduct the construction and development ourselves, but we guarantee investors that after the end of construction, the controlling stake remains with them. Get the finished building, come and exploit it. If it does not work out - we will work ourselves and calmly pay off the bank loan.
- Let's literally come back from heaven to earth. Sometimes it is much more important not to build an airport for long-distance wanderings, but to provide people with normal housing instead of dilapidated or emergency ones. How are things going with this program right now?
- The picture as a whole is not bad. We are in the top twenty or thirty in Russia. The works are going quite actively, recently a group of experts from the Ministry of Construction of the Russian Federation came to Kamchatka. They praised our program for the resettlement of emergency housing and the construction of earthquake-resistant buildings. No complaints. Deadlines were postponed slightly in Ust-Kamchatsk and Kozyrevsk, there the contractors did not have time to rent out two houses on time.
-And when is it planned to completely resettle all the inhabitants of dilapidated housing in new buildings?
- This, unfortunately, is impossible. On the territory of the region, there are currently five targeted housing programs aimed at reducing the volume of the emergency fund. But only in Petropavlovsk and Yelizovo, for today, the deficit of seismic resistance is 3,5 thousand objects. What to do with them? In fact, this is also an emergency fund, although the criteria are always different. In addition, and the rest of the housing is gradually aging. From this point of view it is easier to demolish the whole city and build it again. But show me at least one region of Russia, where this is possible. Therefore, we set realistic goals. The work must be systematic, and we consistently perform all the points of the planned plan. So far, we focus on the "intermediate finish" in 2017, and then, I think, there will be some proposals at the federal level to fix the situation. I want people to live in normal comfortable conditions. We have already built a whole microdistrict, demolished 50 seismic houses and resettled their residents in new apartments. But we understand that we still have a lot to rebuild. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is after Okhotsk the oldest city in the Far East. He is almost 300 years old. And the first stone house appeared here only 50 years ago, the building was built according to Soviet standards, and now these buildings do not meet modern requirements. We can not demolish all of them at the same time, we will not have enough money for new buildings. But for today we are able to exceed the original plan by about 28%. The situation, I believe, is normal. I think that with time, we can gradually solve the problem.