The New Economic Povestka* (NEP): The What, the How, the Who?

The New Economic Povestka* (NEP): The What, the How, the Who?

Moderator Herman Gref, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Executive Board of PJSC Sberbank, in his opening speech focused the attention of participants on the relevance of the answer to the question of today's agenda for Russia: "How to achieve an economic breakthrough, and what should be the strategy of a breakthrough?" In his opinion, responsibility, trust, predictability, and openness of the economy, government and businesses are necessary; effective public administration and adequate reforms. Speaking about the responsibility for making decisions and their outcomes, he cited an excerpt from Nassim Taleb's book Skin in the Game: "Only when their skin is on the table...", i.e. when he makes decisions and is responsible for those decisions with his own skin. Solving the most complex national tasks in all areas, one must listen to another and hear each other, says Herman Gref.

Evsey Gurvich, an expert, believes that there are resources to accomplish the social goals set by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in the Decree of 7 May 2018, and they will be accomplished. Achievement of the goals for development and acceleration of the economy will face serious problems due to internal and external constraints: shortage of labor force, sanctions and unpredictability of oil prices. In addition, increasing labor productivity and economic growth will require radical reforms. It is necessary to dramatically improve the investment climate and the financial system. "If we are ready for radical reforms", we must follow the path of "creative destruction", the speaker said.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of the Russian Federation Anton Siluanov spoke about the high priority plans of the new government. It is necessary to create the new quality of economy in the budget sector, to conduct tax adjustments, to look for new sources of long-term investment money, including individual pension savings, and to liberalize the currency legislation. Transition to project format for achieving goals with personal responsibility for results is planned, said Anton Siluanov.

Alexei Kudrin, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, compared the Government to the "tiger getting ready to jump...", which direction is set by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, and voiced his understanding of Anton Siluanov's position on the tax system. "Taxes will change, but then they will not be changing for six years. This is an open issue today," Alexei Kudrin said. 

He also believes the quality of public administration does not meet the challenges of the day, while the speed of decision-making at the federal level is disastrously low. Practices of business regulations are excessive, they need to be reduced approximately by half. Strategic management requires digitalization and creation of a "cyber state". According to the speaker, the education reform and investment in human capital are the main investments today, requiring a budget maneuver. And, of course, the competition and the decline of the state's share in the economy are very important, Alexei Kudrin believes.

Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Tatyana Golikova emphasized that the social sphere is a very complex focus area tied to the country’s entire economy, and the tasks are quite ambitious. A human being should be at the center of all changes. The quality of education for socialization lags behind the demands of life, because a fully-fledged infrastructure for training specialists in this sphere has not been created yet, Tatyana Golikova admitted. In her opinion, the reform of the social security system is urgent. Digitalization of the entire social sphere will allow prompt and accurate decisions to be made, since the general public is practically uninformed of the 317 social services rendered by the state. Issues of the social sphere are most complex and multifaceted. They require our common attention, Tatyana Golikova concluded.

Andrey Makarov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Budget and Taxes, believes that the problems of economic growth have nothing to do with the economy and lie outside of the economic realm. We must ask ourselves a question, he said: "Does Russian and global agendas collide? If we only discuss our local problems, we risk falling behind the global problems forever."

"The measures that we’ll be proposing must be qualitative as in the well-known saying: "We must run very fast to at least stand still." The governors have no money to fulfill the tasks of the May decree of the President of the Russian Federation from 7 May 2018. According to provisional estimates, they need at least 8 trillion roubles to solve them. We reduced it all to the question of where to get that kind of money, but we need to answer the question: "What needs to be done?" We must finally decide what the main problems are today. I believe they are total inefficiency and total irresponsibility... It is impossible to fix education and healthcare by pouring money into an inefficient system. Through this pouring we only give a chance to effectively steal them. It is necessary to reform the whole system of public administration," Andrei Makarov believes.

The Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Maxim Oreshkin believes that it is necessary to maximize the financing the infrastructure projects. According to the Ministry's estimates, over 35 billion roubles would transit through the country's banking system within six years, and the economic growth depends on which economy sectors it will provide loans to. We plan to finance education, as well as transport and infrastructure projects since they generate returns, said Maxim Oreshkin.

Sergey Sobyanin, the Mayor of Moscow, noted that "before the jump, all processes must be set up," since "complete order is next to disorder." We are already regulated enough, management is difficult. It is necessary to go step by step towards making management at the lower level work faster. The speaker recalled world experience, which indicates that those countries with more powers at the lower levels of government develop more rapidly. He stated: "Nowadays we have created huge administrative barriers at the city level and the municipal level."

Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation Sergei Glazyev agreed with the speakers and confirmed that we do not have enough long-term loans, we have a "useless management system and complete irresponsibility." It is necessary to implement laws on strategic planning, said Sergei Glazyev.

Summing up the business breakfast, Herman Gref held the voting in four blocks: public administration, digital transformation, science and education reform, investment in infrastructure.

The results of the voting showed that about 60% of those present agreed that a public administration reform needs to take place. 

More detailed information is available on the website of the Roscongress Foundation information and analytical system

Read also