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Rating in practice
What changes are taking place in the interaction of business and government in the Far East?
At the end of 2019, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, together with business associations, launched the zabusiness.rf website, where entrepreneurs can complain about the actions of law enforcement agencies. In test mode, the “smart solutions library” or “smartek”, a platform for the exchange of best socio-economic practices of Russian entities, began to work. How these and other solutions will help improve the investment climate in the Far Eastern regions and solve the ambitious task of entering the top 30 national rating of investment climate, EastRussia asked Olga Kurilova, the head of the ASI representative office in the Far Eastern Federal District.
- Olga Sergeyevna, in December last year, surveys of entrepreneurs started, on the basis of which a new rating of the investment climate of the regions for 2020 will be compiled. How do you evaluate the work of the Far Eastern entities?
- We roughly understand the mood of the business, but of course we cannot say how they will evaluate the work of the authorities. We also understand that during these three years, from 2017 to 2019, a lot has changed. When the order of the President of the Russian Federation on the entry of the Far Eastern regions into the TOP-30 rating came out, it became clear that it would no longer be possible to blame failures for complex geography or climate - you need to work. This rallied all regions of the Far East, including the republic of Buryatia and the Trans-Baikal Territory that recently entered the district. The latter has been actively involved in the work, they have little progress. The Republic of Buryatia adopts the best practices of the Republic of Yakutia. The president’s instructions united both development institutions and authorities - ASI, the Ministry of Eastern Development, the embassy ... Now we are all working with the same team on the same task.
- Who, in your opinion, is closest to the first half of the rating?
- The Amur Region approached the first half of the rating over three years. Despite the change of governor, the team was only building up its pace. According to business representatives, up to 90% of the decisions worked out as a result of the “project offices” are implemented there. As a rule, unresolved issues remain general issues related to natural monopolies, which are not included in the powers of the subject’s authorities.
The system needs to be debugged so that it works as a single organism, and then we will see the result. I assure you, if you, as an investor, enter the region from the first “thirty” rating, for example, to Kamchatka, it will not be difficult for you to quickly go through permit procedures and begin construction. One of the country's best support systems for small and medium-sized businesses was created there. I can say the same about the Amur Region, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), and the Khabarovsk Territory. They have good chances to gain a foothold at the top of the rating.
The most ambitious region is the Sakhalin Oblast. His governor and government are faced with the task of building a system for attracting investment. The head of the subject very well understands that there are budget revenues from the oil industry, but there are also “growth points” of the territory that are not related to hydrocarbon production.
Now the agenda of investment councils operating under the head of the region is being coordinated with both business and development institutions. Entrepreneurs are pleased that not only strategic issues are being raised and discussed, but also specific cases through which system problems can be seen.
- But this is manual control.
- So be it. In Kaluga, the practices of which the Sakhalin people studied, 25 years ago, began with the same, but now a clear system is built there.
But the regions must always be “in good shape”, go forward. So, in the Amur Region, Governor Vasily Orlov introduces “lean management" - a system aimed at improving the efficiency of processes. To begin with, a minimum of securities, a maximum of electronic turnover.
- In the Sakhalin Oblast you mentioned, the platform “Business.Sakhalin.online” has started working. How do you evaluate such an initiative of the regional authorities? What other forms of communication with business are found in other regions?
- Each head of the subject builds work to attract investment. The governor of the Sakhalin Region wants to switch from manual, as you called it, management to system management, and the platform serves this very purpose.
Do you know what issues entrepreneurs most often address? Interaction of investors with public authorities. So, there is a problem, and the site is working for good reason.
In some regions in the central part of Russia there are headquarters for the protection of business, and appeals are also received there. Now in all regions of the country, My Business centers are opening, where entrepreneurs can receive the service on a “one-stop-shop” basis. Although in some territories they came to this practice earlier, and the results there were higher. According to cadastral registration, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has always been in the first group precisely because everything was done through a “single window”.
- Why is it needed by the Zabusiness.rf platform?
- It was created for appeals from the regions to the actions of law enforcement agencies - departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the FSB, prosecutors, Investigative Committees. All complaints received there are processed by employees of the central offices of the relevant departments, and do not go back to the regions. And this is the most important thing - what is the point of sending complaints for consideration to those to whom they were submitted!
In addition, if the entrepreneur is not satisfied with the answer, it is possible to involve business associations, the apparatus of the business ombudsman Boris Titov, and the Association for the Protection of Business in this field for additional expertise.
In December, the platform received ten appeals to the actions of law enforcement agencies from the subjects of the Far Eastern Federal District. According to the results of the processing, four were sent to the address of law enforcement agencies - the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the General Prosecutor's Office, the Investigative Committee. Six documents requested additional documents.
According to the results of the rating announced in 2019, in all Far Eastern regions there is a large share of companies faced with pressure from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Primorye comes first, followed by the Khabarovsk Territory and the Republic of Buryatia. And this is one of the highest rates in the country.
The prosecutor’s bodies are “leaders” in the Amur Region and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). After some time, we will conduct an analysis that will clearly show which region has the most serious problems.
- Recently, on the initiative of ASI, another platform was launched in test mode: Smarteka or the Library of Smart Solutions. What is it?
- It is understood that over time a bank of best socio-economic practices implemented in Russian entities will be accumulated here. Any region will be able to take the practice of another and transfer it to its own soil. Not always more money will be required for its implementation - sometimes this is a timely management decision.
Sessions were held in all federal districts (ours took place as part of the Days of the Far East), during which ASI colleagues, representatives of local authorities and business discussed what they could offer and how to describe them correctly, including from a legislative point of view. Interesting practices were presented by the Republic of Buryatia, Yakutia, Sakhalin Oblast. The declared topics are tourism, health and lifestyle, small and medium enterprises. Perhaps some of the proposed will go to Smarteka.
From kindergartens to nursing homes
- At the beginning of the year, ASI announced that it would launch a large-scale project in the field of social entrepreneurship. What does it consist of?
- It is known that the volume of collective consumed social services in the share of GDP in the USA is 33,9%, in the EU countries - 29, in Russia - only 14,6%. So we have great potential.
The share of SMEs operating in the social sphere is 0,04%, in Italy this indicator is 1, in France - 1,1, in Germany - 3,9, in England - 4,3%.
What is meant by social entrepreneurship? For example, private kindergartens or nursing homes. Clearly, this is difficult, and you won’t become a millionaire, but why do we have such low rates compared to other countries. This is unprofitable for business: documents, by-laws have not been developed, everything is “tailored” to ensure that government agencies receive money for these purposes, while the quality of services often leaves much to be desired. In 2019, a bill on state (municipal) social order was introduced to the State Duma. According to him, 10% of the market should be given to the private sector of the subject.
- And is the private sector ready for such a turn of events?
- While entrepreneurs are in unequal competitive conditions with the state: they pay taxes, they are often and biased checked. And in some regions the state is not ready to share at all.
But we must understand that there are areas where the state will not come in the near future, and business will come if there are conditions. Tomorrow we will not have excellent state nursing homes, and private in Russia at the moment less than 1%. For comparison - in Germany 97%.
How did a huge number of kindergartens appear in the Amur Region, Khabarovsk Territory, and Kamchatka? The state could not cope, and entrepreneurs helped him to eliminate the line of children from three to seven years. In Kamchatka, a licensed kindergarten costs 28 thousand rubles a month, 18 of them compensate the subject's budget for the enterprise, and parents pay ten thousand.
Studying the issue, we saw that enterprises lack awareness, they work separately, not receiving information about what support they can count on, where to turn for it, and so on. Now we and the development institutions are faced with the task of forming on a single platform the image of a social entrepreneur, and involving the subjects of the Russian Federation in the process.
In the regions, we will hold expert groups where we will discuss regional issues and identify systemic issues. The plans are to create a navigator of support measures for social entrepreneurs and NGOs. If there are conditions, entrepreneurs will come, and the matter will be, as always, for the regional authorities.