3 may 2012

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the supervisory board of the Strategic Initiatives Agency

Vladimir Putin

At a meeting of the supervisory board of the Strategic Initiatives Agency

“Despite my likely change of workplace, I hope to continue to work closely with the Strategic Initiatives Agency. I will support your work in every way possible, as will, I hope, the future government.”

Vladimir Putin’s introductory remarks:

Good afternoon, colleagues. The Strategic Initiatives Agency (ASI) was established exactly one year ago. I would like to congratulate you as participants in this process and as its organisers. I believe that the agency has started working on a rather impressive scale, that it tackles important and interesting projects which are extremely useful for Russia’s economy and business, and that it has established good relations with associations of business people.

I would like to point out once again that the Strategic Initiatives Agency is not some kind of political organisation or association. The agency deals with politics to a certain extent – it strives to improve the business environment and to create normal conditions for expanded business operations – in a broad sense, but strictly speaking, this is not a political or party association. It implements specific projects in the area of economics. I repeat, in my opinion, the agency is moving to implement large-scale projects, and it works in key areas.

As for specific standards of creating a favourable business environment, we have agreed that such an environment will be introduced in pilot projects. But I would very much like to see this standard begin functioning effectively on the entire territory of the Russian Federation sometime in 2013, as we had agreed.

In December 2011, we discussed the national business initiative at a meeting with Delovaya Russia representatives. I know that the agency also deals with this issue. I would like all of us jointly to promote this initiative in all areas of interest to the economy.

Today, we will examine the first four so-called roadmaps, which are intended to improve the business environment. This includes a simplified procedure for connecting new developments to power networks. Everyone knows about this highly important issue, which we discuss over and over again. Unfortunately, the situation is not changing as quickly as we would like it to. True, the situation is changing, but we still have a lot to accomplish.

The second problem has to do with eliminating administrative barriers in the field of customs regulation and in the construction sector, as well as with support for Russian companies entering the global market. As we discussed at one of our past meetings, we should primarily support small and midsize businesses taking their products or services to foreign markets. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has learned how to support large companies and work in close cooperation with them, but small and midsize businesses need special support.

All these issues are far from simple. For instance, the Federal Customs Service; I know they have not concluded discussions on how to organise the activity of affiliated structures, how to treat them, how to streamline customs clearance of goods, what duties should be levied, what should ensure budget receipts. I understand the Customs Service, they have some fears too, which we must heed. But certain things surely must be done. For instance, the Customs Service should obviously make a transition to the electronic record of all customs documents. There are some other things that nobody will oppose and that demand our special attention.  

As for the construction industry, by 2013 we should transition to a notification procedure for the start of construction in industrial zones, and then we will be able to extend this procedure to housing construction. This is the most important industry for us; it is linked to the country’s general economic development and security. We should not make any missteps, but the situation we are facing is intolerable from the standpoint of economic development. Everything is too unwieldy, entangled in bureaucracy, inefficient, and this hinders the growth of this industry, which is a major industry and the most important one from the standpoint of social wellbeing.        

I have already mentioned connecting to power grids. A lot should be done here. Fees for connecting to power sources should be cut several times over, dozens of times over, in the next few years. There are also other, purely formal things that can be done and that need to be done to radically change the situation.

And I want to repeat that despite my likely change of workplace, I hope to continue to work closely with the Strategic Initiatives Agency. I will support your work in every way possible, as will, I hope, the future government. By the way, following our discussions today of these four roadmaps, the Ministry of Economic Development will have to finalise and approve them. If necessary, if our colleagues consider it advisable, it is possible to formalize them in relevant government resolutions or executive orders. But of course, these should be basic and very general points. 

Let’s get to work.