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Governor Matviyenko Paints Rosy Picture

Published: April 1, 2005 (Issue # 1057)


Governor Valentina Matviyenko painted a rosy picture of St. Petersburg in her annual address, saying she would like to see it as a prosperous European city in which the incomes of its citizens grow steadily.

In her second address delivered to the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, Matviyenko ignored the fact that official statistics show that the strengthening ruble and rising inflation slowed income growth in 2004. She focused on figures suggesting the city has been successful in improving the investment climate.

"The arrival in the city of some of the country's biggest tax payers will raise city revenues by 5 billion rubles ($180 million)," she said. "And that is a conservative estimate."

In 2004, City Hall succeeded in convincing several large enterprises, most of which have strong connections to the federal government, to re-register their head offices from other regions, mainly Moscow, to St. Petersburg. The companies include Vneshtorgbank, Sovkomflot, Transnefteprodukt, the Northwest Federal Network Co. and Territorial Generating Company No. 1.

LUKoil and Rosneft have also opened branch offices in the city.

The total volume of investments in the city grew 40 percent to an estimated $900 million, according to City Hall statistics.

"The main thing here is not the figures, though the statistics are at record levels," Matviyenko said. "The investment landscape has been changed. We are no longer being treated as an economic province, as a city that is merely a source for pleasure because of its culture sites, where it is impossible to operate big business."

Among the biggest projects launched in the city in 2004 Matviyenko mentioned electronic equipment production plant Elcotech, a Knauf plant making construction materials, the Tinkoff brewery, Gillette, Pepsi, Russky Standart, Yarovit Motors and First Furniture Factory. Investments in these projects ranged from $20 million to $100 million.

While the investments are growing, the average income of city residents stayed practically the same last year, going up by about 13 percent in face value compared to 2003, or about the same amount as inflation, according to official statistics presented in the local media. In 2003, city incomes grew about 32 percent.

But Matviyenko said the average city income grew 26.5 percent in 2004 to about 8,665 rubles ($311) a month.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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