ASI devises models for improving regional investment climate

ASI devises models for improving regional investment climate

Only 20 of Russia’s regions are working to remove institutional barriers, while in the rest, such efforts are either not being made or are happening at a significantly lower level, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives has learned. The ASI’s CEO Andrey Nikitin discussed this in an interview with Alexei Bobrovsky.

At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin warned of the need for a serious discussion about what is keeping the regions from increasing their investment attractiveness.

According to Nikitin, the ASI, together with the relevant ministries, carried out a serious project on recent changes to federal legislation in order to understand how quickly institutional reforms can be carried out, different types of permits can be obtained, and connections to electricity networks can be turned on.

The agency drew up target models of how a region should ideally work towards increasing its investment attractiveness. Each region will have a year to bring its current situation, taking into account its administrative barriers, closer to the ideal model.

“Since SPIEF, work with the regions has shown that there are no factors other than unwillingness and ineptitude preventing the barriers from being removed,” reports Nikitin.

It is entirely possible to create a situation in which it takes no more than 100 days to obtain a building permit and three months to connect to the gas network, instead of two years as is currently the case in several regions, he noted, adding that the new standard could be achieved across the country.

According to ASI’s CEO, barriers can be done away with only on a systematic basis, through the creation of regional administrative teams. The work must be coordinated on the federal, municipal and regional levels, and a method needs to be developed enabling all levels of government to work together on a single task, Nikitin emphasized.

“Most of the goals that are being set and discussed today can be achieved within a year,” he claims. “All that is needed is the desire and capability to shake up outdated bureaucratic regulations and change the administrative structures within regions.”

During the year, the heads of 36 regions underwent special training on how to work in teams. Key vice governors, mayors of major cities and key federal civil servants were trained in how to work using project-based principles at a special programme led by the ASI and RANEPA.

“Significant growth took place when managers understood that they could only solve the regional problem by working together,” explained Nikitin. “When the officials stopped dividing themselves into the categories of regional, municipal and ‘malicious’ federal bodies, things immediately started moving for them.”

Three regions – Kostroma, Vladimir, and Yaroslavl – have created a joint project that allows businesses to move smoothly from region to region without being hampered by administrative changes.

Source: (Russian)

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