The participants discussed improving the investment climate, digitalising the economy, expanding the consumer market, improving customs legislation, and developing the banking and financial sectors.
This Foreign Investment Advisory Council meeting is special. This year, the Council turns 25.
A very good platform, even unique in some aspects, has been created over these years. Where else would top Government officials be able to talk directly with the representatives and heads of major companies? Probably, no other place.
In 1994, when the Council became operational, investments amounted to about $700 million. Now, the annual inflow of investments is measured in the billions.
The total capital investment by the companies that are part of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council amounts to about $180 billion.
The investors’ interest in Russia hasn’t weakened over the years either. On the contrary, even after the sanctions had been imposed, the volume of investments under the FIAC continued to grow and increased by approximately 50 percent over a period of the past five years.
In addition to the 53 companies that are Council members, four other companies received observer status. Ten companies that stood at the origins of the FIAC are still working at the Council.
I’m quite sure that this kind of work is giving a positive boost to your respective industries.
Things are looking good in the economy in general. The volume of industrial output and trade is up, macroeconomic indicators in Russia are at a very good level, and inflation is low. We are doing our best to move up across a variety of ranking systems. This in itself reflects the general state of our economy and our successes and mistakes.
All this was a natural outcome of the Government’s work to improve the investment climate. International financial reporting standards were introduced including thanks to your recommendations. The migration legislation was improved, and it became easier to attract specialists, although things here, probably, were not as smooth as we wanted them to be. The time it takes to obtain title registration and building permits was reduced, and grid connection procedures were simplified.
We launched a mechanism for the operational management of systemic changes in the business environment. Last January, I signed an action plan to transform the business climate with about 140 initiatives, which have been coordinated with businesses both in Russia and internationally.
We started a fairly complicated process called the control and oversight activity reform, which is the proverbial “regulatory guillotine.” The point is to get rid of all obsolete documents, and do so very quickly. We have a lot of these documents, including those created back in Soviet times.
We are also creating a new code on administrative offences, as the current one is cumbersome and overly complicated. This work will be completed soon.
This year, we updated the special investment contract (SPIC 2.0.), which will help improve the situation. It provides guarantees for a steady business environment for 15 to 20 years, and also exempts investors from a number of taxes.
We continue to work on the investment protection law which is new legislation. This draft law involves promoting entrepreneurial activity through guarantees of stability for the investment activity environment. Soon, our parliament will review this draft law.
Solutions that are part of the budget process, as well as cooperation with the Russian development institutions, such as RDIF and VEB.RF, create additional opportunities.