Rustam Minnikhanov: ‘There was and there is a task of 5 trillion rubles of GRP’
A readiness to make a post-pandemic breakthrough reaching 3,9% growth of GDP was expressed at a meeting of the Tatarstan Ministry of Economy
The coronavirus pandemic and its consequences shattered the economy of Tatarstan: GRP fell by almost 3%, the republic’s Minister of Economy Midkhat Shagiakhmetov said at the meeting on 15 February. In reply, the federal ministry prepared a wide range of instruments that would enable the republic to enter a new investment cycle. “The first task is to start preparing new investment projects for 325 billion rubles,” claimed Vice Minister of Economic Development Andrey Ivanov via teleconference and specified that direct capital investments would account for 50 billion. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
Ministry of Economic Development to Tatarstan: be ready to receive 325 billion
The meeting of the republic’s Ministry of Economy gathered the biggest number of federal speakers for the first time in the last 10 years. Moreover, many of them arrived in Kazan. But key guests anyway delivered speeches via teleconference. First Vice Minister of Economic Development Andrey Ivanov and one of the authors of Tatarstan’s strategy through 2030 Alexey Kudrin were among them.
Andrey Ivanov, a former Russian vice minister of finance, thanked the republic for the results achieved during the pandemic but mainly focused on what would happen next. According to his speech, the federal government created a wide range of measures aimed to attract investments to the economy. The main essence of the efforts in coping with the consequences of the epidemic is to give investors guarantees of the permanence of financial conditions of the project during its implementation. The federal authorities consider investment protection and promotion agreements (IPPA) as a key tool to achieve the president’s goals to relaunch the investment cycle and restore the economy after the coronacrisis.
The first task is to prepare the republic for new investment projects for 325 billion rubles, he said: “It is around 150 billion rubles of capital investments, 145 billion in fixed capital”. According to him, now the portfolio of the republic has approximately 13 big projects:
“I offer to make a joint investment task force, quarterly make summaries, how many investment projects we implemented, what questions arise due to their implementation, what needs to be done within federal and regional regulations,” Ivanov said and specified that the format of the joint task force didn’t mean “you can’t resolve some issues”, the republic simply accumulated our country’s best practices.
According to the vice minister, this also complies with Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov’s long-standing idea — to make the republic a methodological centre for all regions of the country to create conditions for investment attraction.
“We would like the republic to perform not only Tatarstan’s investment tasks but also those of the whole country,” Ivanov concluded and explained that some formats of such a task force would be offered to the Russian government’s Vice Chairman Andrey Belousov.
Midkhat Shagiakhmetov said that three investment protection and promotion agreements (IPPA) were signed for projects implemented in the republic at federal level, another 10 agreements are in work.
Time to update the strategy-2030
Alexey Kudrin who developed Tatarstan’s strategy through 2023 nearly 6 years ago offered to update it to adapt it to economic shocks. He says the document needs to be updated from time to time because the strategy like a live document must be topical. At the same time, he recommended providing integrated development of territories, particularly develop a scheme of the Kazan agglomeration, create single management approaches for agglomeration processes. Later the economy minister developed this topic:
“This will enable to use such agglomeration effects as reduction of transport expenses, attraction of the economically active population, higher cooperation between enterprises,” he explained.
The strategy of Tatarstan’s social and economic development through 2030 envisages three agglomerations: Kazan, Kama, Almetyevsk.
“Now the republic has faced an imbalance of development of territories, migration of the population and excessive load on the social and transport infrastructure. To solve these problems, it is necessary to determine the republic’s agglomeration management model, adopt documents for its socio-economic and territorial development,” Shagiakhmetov indicated.
In 2020, the republic’s gross regional product totalled 2,447 trillion rubles, or 97,1% compared to 2019. “Despite the high uncertainty of economic conditions for a rise in the population’s real incomes and a transition to sustainable economic development, we have a serious and intense task of providing 3,9% GRP growth in 2021,” the republic’s economy minister claimed.
5 trillion rubles of GRP — the task remains
“The main task that was set by the strategy through 2030 was to make GRP reach 5 trillion rubles,” Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov claimed. “I think we should make amendments to our strategy, but there was and there is a task of 5 trillion rubles. It is a tough task but possible. Thanks to Mr Kudrin, he has always supported us.”
According to the president, 2020 wasn’t easy, but the federal authorities significantly supported the republic. “It is very important that new economic incentives to develop the economy were launched at federal level, it is the IPPA and decrees No. 1119, No. 1704 and No. 1705. Of course, key but not all offers and remarks were considered or taken into consideration or promised to be considered. The decree No. 1704 hasn’t been adapted today, of course. The decree No. 1190 works quite well, but it should be prolonged. There are proposals for the IPPA too, meetings will be held this week. These issues will be resolved.”
Minnikhanov indicated the necessity of intensifying the work on public and private partnership. “Our position on some aspects of PPP is wrong,” he addressed the remark to TIDA’s head Taliya Minullina. “As for administrative barriers, I would ask Mr Shagiakhmetov to be careful. The investment climate is our task,” the president said. He tasked the head of the Tatarstan Ministry of Digitalisation with keeping digitalising services: “Only 8% — 29 in 326 services — are electronic,” he indicated.
Talking about the development of agglomeration, the president said that this work would go on within the State Council’s committee: “Big tasks were set for housing development, nearly 1,6 million square metres, and of course, the housing will develop in the agglomerations, and today many issues are transport issues. Especially we will create a collapse with jobs if such an amount of people start to commute, then we won’t solve this problem with any highway.”
The president pins big hopes on the development of the Sviyazhsk Multimodal Complex. “It is necessary to adopt final documents, residents are ready, it will be a big platform,” he said. It is assumed to increase exports from Tatarstan through e-commerce.
“You haven’t seen the 90s”
Gely Kobelev, an ex-chairman of the Tatarstan State Council’s Committee for Budget, evaluated consequences of the pandemic simply as a swan song that can’t be compared with the problems in the 90s. “Under Soviet power, there was no road to Zelenodolsk... While now, one can drive on this road at 100 km/h. There was laid a road to Bakirovo health resort too,” he noted.
“Mr Kobelev, now everybody will head to Bakirovo on holiday,” Rustam Minnikhanov stopped his excitement. “You are complaining that there weren’t roads. Do you remember you were a committee chairman, while I was head of Vysokaya Gora, and you told me off because I relaid the road every year,” the president laughed.
“If we remember that I was a committee chairman and you were the finance minister, we worked late into the night... I have seen a lot of executives, but the president’s style of work is not to humiliate a person but hold him accountable. Say it to a person’s face, and people like it very much,” Kobelev replied.