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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

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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