Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

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The priorities of the Foundation are energy, ports, bridges, roads

The priorities of the Foundation are energy, ports, bridges, roads

At the end of September, the head of the Fund for the Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region (founder - Vnesheconombank) was replaced: instead of Pavel Grachev, Alexei Chekunkov, ex-director of RDIF, was appointed to this position. EastRussia.ru publishes an interview with the new head of the Fund.

- Alexey Olegovich, the Development Fund for the Far East and the Baikal Region was established in 2011, but has not made a single investment during its existence. How do you explain this?

- The practical activity of the Foundation was blocked by incorrect formulations in the documents defining the principles and the procedure for its operation. Vnesheconombank for the capitalization of the Fund was allocated a grant of the Ministry of Finance in the amount of 15 billion rubles. However, the rules for its use were initially set a number of unconstructive restrictions. This year the Foundation has become part of a unified system created by the President of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Russian Federation for the accelerated development of the Far East. And now, in conjunction with the Ministry of Economic Development and Vnesheconombank, we are working with the Ministry of Finance to bring the conditions for the use of the Fund’s capital in line with its objectives. After completion of the restructuring and making changes to a number of regulatory documents, we will launch an updated mechanism for comprehensive support of investment projects in the Far East that will ensure rapid economic development of the region and will allow to attract up to five rubles to the 1, and in the ideal case up to ten rubles of private investment.

- By the end of 2015, the Development Fund for the Far East plans to allocate 7,5 billion rubles to infrastructure projects in the Far Eastern regions. How will you choose projects?

- The main purpose of the Fund is to provide the Far East with modern infrastructure to increase the competitiveness of business. Such a task was set by the President of Russia, and it was about this that was discussed at a recent meeting with the largest investors in the Government House with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev and Minister for the Development of the Far East Alexander Galushka. In order not to scatter resources, we intend to focus on supporting strategically important infrastructure projects that will become drivers of the industrial development of the entire macroregion. Priorities: energy, port infrastructure, bridges and highways. The Fund intends to invest in such projects both its own funds and attract extra-budgetary funding through concession mechanisms. Now we are considering a number of promising projects in all regions of the FEFD.

- How do you feel about the creation of territories for advanced development? Previously, the regime of special economic zones in the Far East was already operating, but they did not justify themselves.

- Tools to stimulate investment activity, similar to TACER, are used in many countries. For example, largely due to the areas of advanced development, China, which once had one of the lowest GDP per capita, created the largest economy in the world. We intend to participate in the practical implementation of the TOSER concept, we see our leading role in the creation of modern infrastructure, and we can finance such projects, including using the mechanism of concession agreements. In addition, today we are discussing with interested parties the possibility of the Fund's participation in the capital of resident companies of TOSER in order to reduce their credit burden.

- Recently, you discussed the mode of operation of individual projects with the governor of the Amur Region. Are these projects that will work in TOR mode?

- We discussed the possibility of the Fund's participation in supporting a number of investment projects with the Governor of the Amur Region Oleg Nikolaevich Kozhemyako. Some of them are planned to be implemented on sites that claim TOSER status. These are projects related to the development of agricultural production, as well as to energy supply of promising mining assets.

- How important is building a constructive relationship with regional leaders? And how is this process going now?

- We are in constant dialogue with the regional authorities. Just the other day we signed a cooperation agreement with the Kamchatka Territory Development Corporation. We are discussing with the authorities of this region the possibility of the Fund's participation in the implementation of a number of transport and energy projects, as well as in the development of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky seaport as a reference port on the Northern Sea Route. If we talk about the format of interaction with the regions in general, we would like to fundamentally change it. Now the regions, turning to funding sources, often rely on direct budget investments in the creation of infrastructure facilities. We offer the regions to build infrastructure not only within the framework of the government order, but also using alternative models - in particular, concession models. The fund is ready to carry out comprehensive work to assess the economic feasibility and effectiveness of projects, design, prepare and agree on the terms of concession agreements, and attract investment. The regions will subsequently be able to gradually settle accounts with investors for already constructed facilities. This approach will allow not only to increase the efficiency of public funds investment, but also to create additional revenues for the budget, the source of which will be new users of infrastructure - the same new industrial enterprises.

- How do you think it is possible to attract investors? Do you have the laws that work today?

- Investors still have questions about law enforcement practice, how laws are interpreted by the courts, how economic disputes are resolved. However, in general, in recent years, Russia has created a high-quality regulatory and legal framework. Concession legislation is actively developing - it is not by chance that we focus on this model of public-private partnership and want to become one of the leading investors in infrastructure and the organizer of concession projects. The latest amendments to the federal law “On Concession Agreements” significantly expand opportunities for investors in infrastructure. For example, it will be possible to conclude concession agreements at the initiative of a private investor, including without holding a tender. The concedent's fee is allowed to be installed in any project, and not only in the road, as before. The possibility of a plurality of persons on the side of the grantor is ensured - now several regions or municipalities can act as co-grantors. Such a legal framework, for example, will allow for the implementation of interregional infrastructure projects on a concessionary basis.

- You only recently took office, having experience working in business. What experience of the past will you bring by working at the present place?

- I worked in the private equity sector, where the main criterion for success is the profitability of projects for a shareholder. I hope that the accumulated experience will now allow solving more ambitious tasks related to the development of a huge macroregion rather than an individual project or company. At the same time, the efficiency of the work will be measured not only by the financial indicators of the Fund, but above all by the expected economic and social macro effects from our activities.

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