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Regions to Gain Control of Russia's Special Economic Zones

Published: June 7, 2014 (Issue # 1814)



  • Construction of a plant belonging to Turkish domestic goods producer Hayat Group in the special economic zone in Alabuga, Tatarstan.
    Photo: Alabuga.ru

From next year, responsibility for Russia's special economic zones — key institutions that have proved an invaluable boon to domestic and international companies investing in Russia — may be transferred from the federal to regional governments, a news report said Friday.

The decision to delegate management of the zones was reached in late May at a meeting under Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, business daily Vedomosti reported, citing two officials familiar with the decision. The Economic Development Ministry confirmed that the decision had been taken. Kozak's spokesman told the newspaper that the shakeup will have to be approved by the government before coming to fruition.

The special economic zone project was launched by the Economic Development Ministry in 2005 and has bloomed to a total of seventeen zones across Russia, which offer tax benefits, customs benefits, simplified registration procedures and other preferential treatment to investors. Crimea is expected to become Russia's eighteenth special economic zone, following the annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine in March.

Up until now, the federal government has been responsible for opening the zones and allotting funds for construction of necessary infrastructure, while a state-run company — called Special Economic Zones, or SEZ — manages the territories through regional subsidiaries. Federal funds have paid for about 70 percent of the zones' infrastructure, Yulia Stefanishina from consultancy KPMG told Vedomosti. As of April 1, a total of 70.7 billion rubles ($2 billion) had been lavished on building infrastructure for the zones, according to the Economic Development Ministry.

Instead of giving funds directly to SEZ, the federal government will now provide the regions with subsidies for developing the zones, Vedomosti said, though the federal government will retain the power to approve or veto the creation of new zones.

Regional governments will be required to submit a set of targets for their proposed zones to Moscow, and if they do not achieve their aims, they will be forced to repay the federal subsidies, a representative of the Economic Development Ministry said. The criteria for judging a zone's effectiveness will also change, he added — while before they were evaluated according to the number of residents they attracted, the new benchmarks will be the number of high-technology jobs they create and their contribution to the region's economy.

All existing commitments to investors, including promises of land in the zones and anticipated infrastructural development, will be transferred to the regions, the ministry representative said.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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