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Vladimir Ilyukhin: "A sense of stability appeared on Kamchatka"
Governor of the Kamchatka Krai on the specifics of economic development and infrastructure construction
Photo: Press Service of the Government of the Kamchatka Territory
- Vladimir Ivanovich, September for the Far Eastern regions is traditionally the date of summing up the interim results at the next Eastern Economic Forum. Can you give an estimate of the state of affairs in numbers?
- If we start with numbers, in the Kamchatka Territory there are now at the stage of implementation or preparation for implementation - more than 315 investment projects worth 550 billion rubles. All of them together will make it possible to achieve a qualitatively new level of development of several key sectors of the economy at once - logistics, fishing and agricultural complexes, subsoil development, tourism. And you need to understand that these funds, which the economy of the Kamchatka Territory will receive in the coming years, did not come out of nowhere - this is the result of daily purposeful work to attract investors and improve the investment climate. It is planned to sign 13 agreements at the fourth Eastern Economic Forum. Six of them - with investors: on the construction of a terminal for transshipment of liquefied natural gas from PJSC "NOVATEK" and a complex for growing vegetables in greenhouses with LLC TK "Kamchatsky", on the development of a tourist and entertainment complex with LLC "Golubaya Laguna" and the construction of a business -centre of LLC "TSTDOM". There are two more projects with the Gold of Kamchatka group: on the construction of a GOK at the Baranyevskoye deposit and on the modernization of the GOK at Ametistovoye.
- Do you have a feeling that the situation as a whole in Kamchatka is changing for the better?
- I will say this. There was not much in Kamchatka that began to appear in recent years. Why have people left the North over the past few decades? Looking for a better life. The authorities have always done something to change the situation for the better. Now, perhaps, it has begun to turn out a little more. We set our priorities a few years ago: children, houses, roads. And it works. Over the years, more than 300 kilometers of asphalt roads have been laid where there have never been roads, regional centers are being improved. Housing is under construction. We solved the problem with places in kindergartens - one of the first in Russia, by September 1 this year we completed another new kindergarten for 260 children in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. A children's library was built and handed over last year. There has never been a registry office in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, there were adapted premises - and now there is a wonderful registry office, around which the newlyweds can plant a whole park of trees.
- Does it somehow affect the demographic indicators?
- It is not easy with demography: in 1986, the average age of the population of Kamchatka was, I recall, 29,5 years old, and today it is well over 40. I remember that in 2013 I met with our graduate medalists, there were 14 of them. And 11 of them then said that after graduation they would go to look for a better life on the "mainland", because here "everything is gray and there is no Internet." And in 2017, for the first time in 17 years, we began to grow in demographics. Albeit not much, plus 543 people, increased in migration - the last three years the outflow has been decreasing, but it was an outflow, and now the balance has become positive. This is a very important psychological milestone for us. In 2015, we crossed another milestone: the birth rate began to exceed the death rate. I think the set of measures that we are implementing has played a role. It is still difficult to talk about sufficient comfort of life in Kamchatka, but the quality of life is gradually improving. Of course, there are many skeptics. But I often travel a lot in the region, and it is clear that stability is coming, people realize that they are not abandoned. Someone may call it stagnation. In my understanding, stability is when a person can be calm about his tomorrow. The majority of people who live in Kamchatka have such stability. And in my understanding, this is the main result of the work over the past period.
- But you do not think that all social problems are solved on Kamchatka?
- We try to pull out "failures" from the Soviet times. It is clear that there is not enough infrastructure: in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, for example, there was one swimming pool for every 200 thousand people. In 2011, when I took office, I promised that our work would be socially oriented. And I keep my word. As soon as the funds are released, we will definitely send a part to the "social sphere", to the infrastructure. For four years we have been trying to get funds from the federal budget for the construction of the regional hospital. There were two instructions from the president, an instruction from the prime minister in this regard. As a result, we get 4,2 billion rubles for the first stage. The funding provided for this year has already been received, and we will carry out even more work than planned. Last year, a polyclinic with a department for the rehabilitation of disabled people was built - there is no such thing anywhere in the Far East. Large-scale reconstruction of the Spartak stadium, the construction of the Puppet Theater - these things were and remain our priorities.
However, it is difficult to build, and not the last problem is that state contracts for the construction of social objects of the company benefit by severely reducing prices. And when they start working, they understand that we have special requirements for seismic, and the "northern surcharges" need workers to pay, do not execute contracts, and we have to start all over again.
Our Far Eastern companies tend to be reluctant to such competitions: they understand that they are expensive, far away, and they have high requirements for seismic resistance. But there are solutions.
- And what about the Internet, about which young people told you that it "does not"?
- Today Kamchatka is provided with the Internet by 98%. The fiber-optic cable of Rostelecom came here, wiring was done throughout the south and center - from Bolsheretsk to Milkovo, in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, to the nearest villages. But we have 30 villages in the north, 300 thousand square kilometers, 20 thousand inhabitants - the former Koryak Autonomous Okrug - were left without fiber. And these people do not want to leave from there, from their small villages, even if there are 50 people living there, although we offer them such options. No, they say, we will not move, you just send us transport, so that we can take the children to and from schools and see doctors at least sometimes. I came out with a proposal to pull the cable further to Chukotka through the northern regions of Kamchatka. We are still being told that it is cheaper to go by sea. And for Kamchatka they promised to strengthen the constellation of satellites. Hopefully some solution will appear next year.
- Any effect of the fact that the Far East was declared "a priority for the 21-th century" and there are preferences for investors, for the economy is already visible?
- The advantages of the TOP and the free port of Vladivostok are obvious. Now Kamchatka is the leader in the number of TOP residents and in second place in this indicator in FPV in the Far East. Yes, tax incentives suggest that the budgets will receive something less in the first years, but we do not expect immediate results. Taxes, new jobs - all this will happen, just not right away. But in other areas the results are already visible. Over the past few years, we have actually doubled the revenue side of the budget: from 10 billion rubles to 22 billion rubles. Last year, the budget of Kamchatka was 75 billion rubles, and we started with 20-30 billion rubles. Over the years, the fishery complex has started working in full understanding of this word. We managed to reorient product flows - before, three quarters of supplies went abroad, now - 70-75% goes to the Russian market. Previously, the companies worked for catching and exporting, now - more than 20 billion rubles of investments in the "shore", in processing. All large fish farmers are trying to work transparently, since this is a condition for obtaining preferences, and the tax return from the industry has grown to 6,5 billion rubles. In 2017, more than 1,2 million tons of biological resources were caught in Kamchatka - this is a record. We will be able to sum up the final figures for this year a little later, but this year will certainly break the records of the past.
- Do other branches manage to achieve at least comparable growth?
- Mining sector used to give a few percent of GRP. Today gives 15-16% in total. I believe that in Kamchatka it is possible and necessary to extract. Three of the largest modern ore mining and processing plants have been built in recent years, this year another Ozernovsky mine was launched, and I hope that by 2022 we will reach the volumes of 10-18 tons of gold per year, although now we are giving 6,5 tons. Forecast reserves - about 1 thousand tons of ore gold. Here, I believe, we manage to maintain the most important balance - and unique Kamchatka nature not to harm, and to introduce into circulation new large deposits, and not only gold ones. Among the latter, as you know, is the Krutogorovskoye coal field, where the Indian company TATA Power enters.
- When will the real movement for this project begin?
- Why the object has not been developed for many years - this is a difficult field in terms of logistics. There is a road through Shanuch almost to the deposit. But there are problems with the sea, which is about 80 km away. On the western coast of Kamchatka, overlooking the Sea of Okhotsk, we do not have a single mooring facility, since there are very strong low tides - up to half a kilometer. Today the main question is how to transport the mined coal. It is up to him to decide how the investor decides - whether he will build a road or a railway, or take the flyover into the water area to the required depth. We absolutely need coal for heating central Kamchatka.
- Historically, it is necessary to carry not only fuel, but also food. With this, how does the situation change?
- Firstly, we bought back the feed mill back into the regional property, and now it works wonderfully, producing feed for layers and pigs. The enterprise meets the market needs, moreover, we expect to start making our own flour using imported grain. Unfortunately, you cannot grow your grain in Kamchatka on an industrial scale yet, although now farmers are trying to do it. Secondly, in the dairy sector, it was possible to open several large production points - thanks to the fact that they built large dairy complexes. The proportion of milk powder is declining. Thirdly, we are fully self-sufficient in chilled pork, and we need to achieve the same results with beef. So far, only the north of the peninsula suffers, where it is economically unprofitable to open such industries. Our task is to organize prompt delivery in the required quantity. For these purposes, a winter road in Palana, which we are building, will operate, aviation and sea transport.
- Not so long ago, the investor came to the project for the modernization of the airport in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the rules for issuing "electronic visas" to the Far East have been extended to the air harbor. In your opinion, will this affect the tourist flow?
- There are decades of foreign tourists in Kamchatka, mainly those who go for trophies: hunters, fishermen. They probably do not need an "electronic visa". But for our main Asian partners this, of course, is important. I have long been a business connected with tourism, I am targeting the creation of conditions for citizens of the Asia-Pacific region: there, after all, their special features on nutrition, living, languages. As soon as the mass flow, there will be positive changes. We advocate that there are direct charters from Korea, from China, from Japan, so that there are regular flights. Foreign companies are ready to start working, but only with very serious volumes. And there is nowhere to place them on Kamchatka.
- New hotels will appear?
- Two large new hotels are being built in the city center. But they are not for the mass tourist, of course. We have only 4,5 thousand places for accommodation - this is very little. At least 10 more places are needed. Previously, the seasonal factor was great, in September everything ended, the hotels were open four months a year. Therefore, the hotel infrastructure did not develop - it was not profitable to invest in it. Everything is changing now. The last two years began to return tourist flows to the city itself. Even in winter, and even more so since April, which used to be a "dead" month for tourists, everything has already been redeemed. We need to tighten the infrastructure. Returning to the question about the airport, the Airports of Regions company became one of the residents of the Kamchatka ASEZ, in July we gave an official start, laying the foundation stone, now the work is already in an active stage.
- In the National Ranking of the state of the investment climate in the regionsKamchatka took 32 place with growth at 36 positions. Now you have set the task to take the 25 line. How do you assess the mood of the business community?
- Doing business in the Far East has always been difficult, and even more so in Kamchatka. We understand what business is and what it hurts. After all, this is a common problem - business says that it is being oppressed, and the authorities say that it does not control business sufficiently. So the task is precisely to find this "golden mean". Of course, the more freedom, the easier it is for business, but business should also have responsibility: to society, to people. In recent years, we have done a lot here - in terms of supporting small and medium-sized businesses, now there are 19 thousand SMEs in Kamchatka. And it is important that all entrepreneurs love Kamchatka, treat it with respect, and do a lot here. And they treat problems with understanding, helping us to solve them.