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Amur region: strength test passed

And in difficult times, you can achieve success, says the Governor of the Amur Region

The Amur region coped with the challenges of the difficult 2020 with dignity. Despite all the difficulties that the coronavirus pandemic brought with it, the region not only held its own in the most important economic indicators, but also surpassed some of them. What was the cost of such a result, what was done, in an interview with EastRussia, the Governor of the Amur Region Vasily Orlov told

Amur region: strength test passed
Photo: press service of the Governor of the Amur Region

Vasily Orlov

Governor of the Amur Region

What was the year 2020 for the Amur Region?

A lot has been done this year: major investment projects are being implemented in the schedule, social infrastructure facilities are being built, new directions of development and prospects are emerging.

Despite the difficulties associated with the pandemic, the regional economy remains stable and is developing steadily. The annual growth of the gross regional product averages 1-1,5%, more than 40% of the GRP is accounted for by production activities.

The mining industry is showing growth thanks to the commissioning of the Pokrovsky autoclave-hydrometallurgical complex, an increase in gold production at the Pokrovsky and Malomyrsky mines, and an increase in coal production at the Ogodzhinsky deposit.

The production of electricity, gas and steam increased by 5% due to the growth of energy consumption by large industrial enterprises.

Agricultural production increased to 57,5 billion rubles (plus 25% over last year) thanks to the use of new technologies and the development of animal husbandry. The volumes of processing of agricultural products have increased. The second stage of the plant for deep processing of soybeans "MEZ" Amurskiy "was put into operation.

The regional budget is growing, in 2020 it amounted to 126% of the income of 2019. Over the past year, tax revenues increased by 10 billion rubles, including the tax return on large investment projects amounted to 2,9 billion rubles.

The regional government was required to take prompt measures to support the business and preserve the teams in this difficult time.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the area? Which industries have been hit hardest? How is it planned to solve the problem with the shortage of workers in construction this year?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have focused on close interaction with the business community. We conducted a direct dialogue, consulted online with entrepreneurs about the need to introduce certain support measures. This made it possible to launch a number of assistance mechanisms, for example, this gave rise to support for certain industries - direct subsidies for catering, the hotel business and other affected industries, as well as financial assistance for businesses to pay wages, utilities and rent payments. New measures to help businesses start in October, and we expect that areas for modernization, leasing and repairs will be in demand no less than those that have already been applied in our region.

The business was exempted from renting state and municipal property. We provided entrepreneurs with reduced tax rates for a simplified taxation system, for a single tax on imputed income, for a patent and a transport tax.

The list of types of economic activities for the application of tax deduction for income tax has been expanded. Since July, a new special regime has been introduced for self-employed citizens. Direct subsidies to businesses amounted to 419 million rubles.

We are talking about those who have been most affected by the pandemic - tourism, hospitality, catering, sports, culture, leisure and educational activities, agriculture, construction and passenger transportation. The pandemic has had a negative impact on the labor market.

In May, the number of people at risk of being laid off peaked. 104 organizations were idle (more than one and a half thousand employees). Prompt measures were required from the regional government to support the business and preserve the teams.

We have allocated more than 29 million rubles to organize public works for people at risk of dismissal. Their wages were paid from the funds of the region. As a result, 73 employers kept their businesses, 817 people did not become unemployed.

We raised the topic of personnel shortage in construction since spring, when the borders were closed. Fundamentally, you need to prepare your workforce. What is being done for this? A number of colleges have already been largely modernized. We are ready to help in the training of construction personnel, to allocate additional funds from the budget to encourage young people to study in construction areas - to pay an additional scholarship, provided that there is a specific employer, the guys will study and work at the same time at the construction site - this is the so-called dual education. We hope that from 2021 we will be able to provide support to working students.

At present, 15 students of the Amur College of Construction and Housing and Communal Services are undergoing dual training at the construction site of a school for 1500 students in Blagoveshchensk. The facility is large and interesting in engineering terms. The guys were assigned to all construction blocks, the work is done differently, there is someone to take an example from - experienced foremen and foremen, good mentors work here. It is very important that the children receive knowledge not at their desks, but in production. After graduating from college, such students already have experience that allows them to find a job.

The region took the 1st place in the Far Eastern Federal District in terms of investments last year - what made up the sum of 360 billion rubles?

For the second year in a row, the Amur Region is among the top ten regions of the country in attracting investments and creating favorable conditions for investors. So, for 9 months of last year the volume of investments in the Amur region amounted to 197,7 billion rubles. This is the best indicator among all regions of the Far East. First of all, the result is ensured by the implementation of large projects. The Amur GPP is on schedule - the launch of the first two production lines of the world's largest gas processing plant is scheduled for this year. In addition, the Prime Minister of the country Mikhail Mishustin, as part of his working visit to the region in August 2020, launched the construction of another giant Amur GCC, and with the support of President Vladimir Putin, we managed to start the construction of the second bridge across the Zeya River in Blagoveshchensk a year earlier. ...

In December 2020, the Amur Region was among the first regions of the country to sign a trilateral agreement on the protection and encouragement of investor investments. The ESN Group, which will invest over 50 billion rubles in the creation of a methanol plant in Skovorodino, received a guarantee of invariability of the tax conditions for the project for a period of up to 20 years. This support mechanism will create more favorable conditions for attracting large investors to the region.

To provide investors with financing on preferential terms, the Government of the region created the Amur Region Development Fund. Within the framework of the approved debt financing programs of the Fund, entrepreneurs have already been given the opportunity to receive funds in the amount of 20 to 100 million rubles at rates from 1 to 5% per annum for opening new and developing existing production enterprises in the region.

One of the priority mechanisms for attracting investment is public-private partnership. The development of the PPP sector and support of such projects in the region is carried out by the Agency of the Amur Region for attracting investments. To date, 366 concession agreements have been concluded in the Amur Region with a total volume of attracted investments - 16,9 billion rubles. So last year a modern ophthalmological center appeared in the Amur region at the expense of private funds. In the future, it is planned to build a children's clinic. The sphere is applicable for the construction of sports infrastructure, MSW landfills, as well as a waste treatment complex.

The undoubted success of the past year - an increase in agricultural production by 25% at once - how did you manage to achieve this? At what stage is the solution to the issue of abandoned reclamation systems?

The growth in the production of the main types of crop products was achieved by improving the structure of crop rotations, the system of seed production of agricultural crops, increasing the efficiency of plant protection measures and introducing scientifically based doses of mineral fertilizers, introducing into circulation previously unused agricultural lands, and this despite the difficult weather conditions of the current of the year.

In addition, our fleet of equipment is updated annually. So, last year, agricultural producers of the region purchased more than 500 units of agricultural machinery and equipment, including 130 tractors, 80 grain and 5 forage harvesters, within the framework of subsidizing machinery and equipment from the regional budget in the amount of 180 million rubles.

In 2021, it is necessary to increase the purchase of agricultural machinery and equipment by at least 15%, for which state support for agrarians will be continued and expanded.

By the way, in the agro-industrial complex of the region in 2021, the implementation of the regional project "Export of agricultural products" with the volume of state support in the amount of 2,3 billion rubles continues. For the development of small forms of farming in the countryside within the framework of the regional project "Acceleration of small and medium-sized businesses", state support is provided in the amount of 55,3 million rubles from the federal and regional budgets.

As for the second part of the question.

In 2021, large agricultural enterprises of the region plan to begin reconstruction of drainage systems on an area of ​​about 1500 hectares.

Today it is land reclamation that is a factor in obtaining high, stable yields by agricultural commodity producers.

On the territory of 17 municipal districts of the region there are 233 amelioration systems (drainage and irrigation), with a total area of ​​agricultural land of 246,6 thousand hectares. The structures (roads, canals, bridges, etc.) of the 31 amelioration system are partly or wholly in federal ownership. Operational management is carried out by the Federal State Budgetary Institution "Management Amurmeliovodhoz" The area of ​​reclaimed land served by these reclamation systems is 72 thousand hectares.

201 reclamation systems are ownerless. Actual wear is over 80%.

One of the main reasons for the lack of participation of agricultural producers of the region in the reconstruction of existing reclamation systems is the lack of rights to use (property or lease) for the existing ownerless reclamation systems. The procedure for issuing ownerless systems for use requires certain financial costs and time, while all work must be carried out by local governments.

The state subprogram "Development of reclamation of agricultural lands in Russia" provides for support of agricultural producers who are reconstructing and building new reclamation systems. A mechanism for granting subsidies has been developed in the region - in the amount of 75% of the actual costs incurred, but not more than the limit set by the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia for the cost of work - 85,4 thousand rubles per hectare.

The development of the reclamation complex and the effective use of existing systems and the construction of new ones should become one of the priority areas for the development of the agro-industrial complex of the region in the coming years.

What projects did you manage to implement together with neighbors from the PRC, which ones had to be "paused", what is planned to be done in 2021?

The Amur Region borders on the Heilongjiang Province for over 1200 kilometers. This is a natural advantage, which we jointly transform into a competitive one for the benefit of the economy and the population of our regions.

To this end, we are actively building "bridges" in various areas. In the energy sector, an oil pipeline and power transmission lines are already functioning for exporting electricity to China, as well as the Power of Siberia gas pipeline. In trade, we are increasing the export of environmentally friendly agricultural products - soybeans, soybean oil, honey, wheat and corn. In the humanitarian sphere, we hold unique event events: the Fair of Culture and Arts, the Druzhba swim, the International Hockey Match and (in the future) the Russian-Chinese automobile games on the border river Amur. This year has adjusted our plans, but we are determined to resume such events as the situation normalizes. And most importantly, in recent years we have been working hard on the quality and convenience of logistics for people and businesses.

- a new road bridge across the Amur River is being prepared for launch, which in the future will be able to serve up to 4 million tons of cargo and 2 million passengers;
- the construction of the world's first cross-border cable car across the Amur River has entered an active phase. With the launch of the project in 2023, we expect an increase in international tourist traffic, oriented not only to Russia or China, but also to other countries of the world.

The unique experience of interaction with Chinese partners made it possible to maintain transport links between our regions in the difficult situation of 2020.

First, from January to April, 28 corridors were organized between Blagoveshchensk and Heihe to return Russian and Chinese citizens. Thanks to our concerted efforts, almost two thousand people were able to return home. Unfortunately, for known reasons, since April 2020, passenger traffic between our territories has been suspended. Of course, this affects the indicators of inbound tourism and other areas.

Secondly, in compliance with all security measures, freight traffic was organized (both for export and for import), which made it possible to ensure the stability of our economies in this difficult time.

I would like to note that cargo transportation was actively carried out during the summer navigation of 2020 at two checkpoints:

Blagoveshchensk - Heihe, for 170 days, until November 6, 2020. Taking into account the tightening of the requirements of the Chinese side, transportation on displacement vessels was carried out in containers and in bulk, big bags. But even in such a limited format, it was possible to ensure export shipments to China of soybeans, soybean oil, food products, sand and lumber, and to import structures and equipment to the Amur GPP, new equipment and medical goods;

Poyarkovo - Xunke, within 43 days, managed to export soybeans and lumber to China.

On December 22, 2020, the Russian part of the cargo pontoon bridge between the Blagoveshchensk and Heihe checkpoints was accepted. Freight traffic will be reopened after receiving confirmation from the Heilongjiang Provincial Checkpoint Office that the Chinese side is ready to resume work. So far, due to the worsening epidemiological situation in Heilongjiang province itself, such a decision has not yet been made.

In general, according to customs statistics, foreign trade turnover with China for 11 months of 2020 increased by 68,4 million US dollars (15%) compared to the same period in 2019. The following products were exported: electricity, soybeans, soybean oil, soybean meal, timber. Imported into our region from China: machines, equipment and their parts, vehicles, vegetables and fruits.

Exports from the Amur Region to China for 11 months of 2020 increased by 1,2 times compared to the same period in 2019 and amounted to 326,8 million US dollars. The export of agricultural products also showed a significant increase - by 43,6% and amounted to 165,7 million US dollars.

Thirdly, mutual supplies of medical devices were organized in the form of gratuitous assistance to combat coronavirus, which demonstrated friendship and readiness for mutual assistance between the regions of Russia and China.

Fourthly, despite the epidemic in 2020, the Amur Region, together with Chinese partners, organized and took part in a number of major international events:
- international friendly hockey match on the Amur River between the cities of Blagoveshchensk (RF) - Heihe (China);
- meeting of the Council for Interregional Cooperation of the Russian-Chinese Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development on the topic "Challenges and opportunities: interregional cooperation between Russia and China in the post-epidemic period";
- The third conference on the development of the tourism industry in Heilongjiang Province (PRC);
- Exhibition of the Amur Regional Museum of Local Lore "We keep forever in memory" in the Russian Cultural Center in Beijing;
- Subcommittee on cooperation in the field of transport of the Commission for the preparation of regular meetings of the heads of government of Russia and China;
- Meeting of the Working Group on joint Russian-Chinese monitoring of water quality in transboundary water bodies.

As part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, on September 3, 2020, a unique action "Flowers on the Water" was held on the border river Amur. The mayors of the two border towns of Blagoveshchensk and Heihe launched flowers from ships that met in the middle of the river.

Fifthly, in difficult conditions, we managed to continue joint work on important projects of Russian-Chinese cooperation - a road bridge and a cable car.

In fact, on the basis of these two facilities, a new international transport corridor is already being formed between our states.

On the territory of Russia, the road bridge and related infrastructure are ready to start the movement of trucks since the fall of last year, about which we have repeatedly informed our Chinese partners through various channels.

Of course, we look forward to the early launch of this landmark cross-border facility of the two states and we are in an active dialogue with our federal colleagues, as well as the Chinese side. It is already obvious that the situation with the pandemic will affect all areas of our life this year as well. It is all the more important to create conditions as much as possible for the progressive build-up of Russian-Chinese cooperation at a new stage, as the leaders of the two states previously agreed.

What directions in the work of the government of the Amur Region will become priority in the coming year?

Of course, special attention is paid to the healthcare sector. In 2021, 580 million rubles are provided for this direction. In 2021-2022, three adult polyclinics will be reconstructed on a turnkey basis at the expense of the regional budget (two in municipalities in the village of Tambovka and in the city of Zeya and one in Blagoveshchensk). Construction of polyclinics will begin in two districts (Poyarkovo village, Mikhailovsky district and Yekaterinoslavka village, Oktyabrsky district). Within the framework of a public-private partnership for 2021-2023, it is planned to build a children's clinic for 380 visits per shift.

We also focus on the development of primary health care for the population. We have pledged 3,6 billion rubles to modernize primary health care. It is planned, as I said, the construction and repair of medical facilities, on the basis of which primary health care is provided. Provision of equipment for primary health care. Equipping with motor transport.

These measures will reduce the mortality rate of the population from the main causes, increase the life expectancy of the region's population, improve the quality and availability of medical care to the population.

Prospects for a radical change in the structure of the regional economy are associated with the gasification of the region.

On September 25, we signed with PJSC Gazprom the Regional Gasification Program for the period 2021–2025, the region's funds - 3,8 billion rubles. In the next two years, gasification of ZATO Tsiolkovsky is planned - 2021 and Svobodny - 2022. Since 2023 Blagoveshchensk and Blagoveshchensk district, Magdagachinsky district - 2025. By 2025, the level of gasification in the region will be 12%.

The goal of the development of the gas chemical industry in the Amur Region is to create an internationally competitive gas chemical cluster in the region by 2030 through the implementation of large investment projects and the export of high value-added products to the Asia-Pacific countries.

The most significant event at the main construction site of the region - the Amur GPP - this year will be the launch of the first two production lines. Commissioning works are ongoing there and the final stage of preparation for load tests is underway. The construction of the main buildings and structures of the Svobodnenskaya TPP, which will supply the plant with electric and thermal energy, has been completed. Gas supply to TPPs for commissioning has already begun.

As of today, the AGPZ is 70 percent ready, about 30 thousand people are employed at the facility, the work is being carried out on schedule.

As for another giant plant, Amur GCC, the process of engineering preparation of the site is almost completely completed. The start of construction in August 2020 was given by the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Vladimirovich Mishustin during a working visit to the Amur Region. The driving of piles continues at the construction site of the logistics platform, as well as piles for the pyrolysis furnace. The construction of an access road has begun, the construction of field offices and a substation is in the active phase. Let me remind you that the launch of the AGHK is planned to be synchronized with the launch of the 4th technological line of the AGPZ. According to preliminary estimates, this will happen in 2024. For the construction period, we expect to attract about 30 thousand employees, and we forecast the total volume of investments at the level of 740 billion rubles.

The Amur Region is a member of the Safe and High-Quality Roads National Project. 2,6 times more funds were allocated for the development of transport infrastructure than in the past. Almost 6 billion were spent on the construction and reconstruction of regional highways.

We are reaching a new level of road repair and maintenance. For the first time, contracts were concluded for the repair of the "life cycle" - when contractors are responsible for the condition of the road during the entire warranty period.

This year, work was under way at twenty objects, 16 in the Blagoveshchensk agglomeration and 4 on the regional road network. The total funding was over one billion rubles.

Subsidies to the budgets of municipalities for road activities amounted to 1,8 billion.

To reduce the accident rate on the roads, 72 photo and video recording complexes have been installed.

Since 2015, the reconstruction of the airports of Blagoveshchensk, Zeya, Ekimchan, Tynda and the Bomnak landing site has begun in stages.

In 2021, it is planned to complete work on the Zeya airport and the Bomnak landing site.

In addition, construction of a new cargo terminal at Blagoveshchensk international airport will begin in 2021. It will allow, in connection with the customs and logistics terminal, to develop postal directions, air cargo. By the way, we plan that in 2021 the first stage of a new multimodal logistics terminal will be created, which is being formed near a new international transport corridor between Russia and China - a road bridge across the river. Amur. To date, the terminal has been launched in the minimum configuration (temporary storage warehouse). In addition to warehouses and service zones, the investor will build a customs zone with temporary storage warehouses and an additional phytosanitary control zone this year.

Tourism is another promising specialization of the regional economy. Thanks to our unique geography, we are among the leaders in receiving tourists from China (4th place in the country after Moscow, St. Petersburg and Primorye).

We set the task to ensure the balanced development of domestic and inbound tourism.

In a pandemic, they supported tourism financially (direct subsidies to tour operators and hotels, about 100 recipients, and for the first time - grants for the development of domestic tourism, 14 recipients totaling 13,3 million rubles), introduced tax incentives, and qualitatively strengthened the promotion of the region. This made it possible not only to keep the majority of the industry's subjects “afloat, but also to introduce new routes in the region, even under the existing restrictions.

It is important that in Blagoveshchensk the creation of a new unique tourist space in the Far East, the core of which is the Golden Mile project, continues. It is being implemented in the central part of the city on an alluvial territory directly opposite the Chinese city of Heihe and involves the creation of several iconic objects at once - the world's first cable car between Russia and China, a hotel of one of the international brands, and a modern entertainment complex. In addition, new hotels, display objects, and private museums are being created in the Miles gravity zone.

All of them are implemented at the expense of private investors and are combined into the project of a new tourist cluster "Vostochny". The total investment in this project is 12,7 billion rubles.

We consider 2021 a priority year for using public-private partnership mechanisms. Today, the PPP project portfolio includes 15 projects in the social, transport, utilities and energy sectors with an investment volume of 25 billion rubles.

A project in the field of medicine is already being implemented - an ophthalmological center, we plan to build an international airport terminal under a concession, the project cost is estimated at 7 billion rubles.

Negotiations are underway with investors for the construction of 3 facilities in Blagoveshchensk: a children's clinic, a fitness center and modernization of the street lighting system.

In Svobodny there are 3 PPP projects: a waste treatment complex with a solid waste landfill (a private concession initiative has been submitted), a 1300-bed polyclinic and the modernization of utility networks.

We are developing a model for construction in the form of PPP overpasses. At the same time, we set ourselves the task of attracting investment in IT projects (a single educational portal, a telemedicine project).

We invest a lot of money in housing and communal services. Gasification is on schedule. We will complete the two remaining sections of the embankment in Blagoveshchensk, we will make an area, there are still a number of interesting projects that are now being worked out.

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