Shamil Ageyev: ''A war is a war, but merchants need to work always''

Online conference of head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tatarstan Shamil Ageyev

Shamil Ageyev: ''A war is a war, but merchants need to work always'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

At the one conference of Realnoe Vremya, head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tatarstan (CCI) Shamil Ageyev told why we should be ready for the second wave of problems due to the banking crisis, why federal ministries should be in touch more often and how to save international relationship when sanctions are on.

Business climate

We have what we have, Shamil Ageyev claimed in answer to the question whether the business climate in the country and particularly in Tatarstan was worsening. In the CCI director's opinion, everything is relative. We can compare the state of affairs 10 years ago, a year ago and now. We also can compare different regions, for instance, Tatarstan and Ulyanovsk Oblast.

''I can't say the business climate is worsening. The expectations were higher. A person is ready to set a record but fails. When a business hears from authorities that the investment climate improves, inspections reduce, but, in fact, the banking system isn't stable and the tax pressure increases. In general, we can say that the expectations of business didn't live up,'' Ageyev noted.

Inspections are one of the problems. Now there are structures that can easily close their business ''without paying for anything''. From Ageyev's point of view, supervisory agencies still prefer fee business people. They are still not psyched up for preventing or giving warnings.

In general, we can say that the expectations of business didn't live up

''Fine, you will close them. But what to do with the people [who lost their job]? Will you employ them? But, yes, he is right, in fact, there's nothing to reproach for,'' Ageyev added.

In addition, the number of those who want to become an entrepreneur reduces. It means authorities need to turn their face towards them and help more. Ageyev hopes his colleagues will manage to communicate to candidates for the president of Russia that, first of all, they need to support our own production in the country and think of the population more.

Busines vs DIA

Purges of the banking sector that affect entrepreneurs of different levels are another big problem. According to Ageyev, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry still consults business people on the situation with Tatfondbank.

''The consequences of Tatfond's collapse will be greater because the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) starts to sue those who managed to take their money from the bank in last months of its work. For instance, the modular plant took 14 million for salaries. Now it turns out they need to take this money from their workers and give it back [due to the complaint of the DIA]. I think authorities don't understand these consequences completely [after the collapse of banks]. If returns begin now, we will get a layer of protests…'' Ageyev concluded.

The Central Bank carried out inspections, it had to know about the state of affairs in problematic banks. But nobody took measures for some reason, Ageyev says

The head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that now the DIA can also sue physical persons who took out loans in Tatfondbank, purchased flats. ''Do they need to sell the flats now?'' the editorial's guests wondered.

In addition, the Central Bank carried out inspections, it had to know about the state of affairs in problematic banks. But nobody took measures for some reason. ''Should the head of the Central Bank maybe assume responsibility?'' Ageyev asked.

Now the Chamber of Commerce and Industry continues supporting the affected clients. A businessperson can turn to the CCI for consultation.

Sanctions and relations with other countries

Anti-Russian sanctions go on affecting the business climate in Russia. But Russian companies need to follow the example of American colleagues: to take life lessons and look for new loopholes and growth points in these limits, thinks Ageyev.

In Ageyev's opinion, in this situation, regional authorities need to directly contact the authorities and business of prospective foreign regions. For instance, Tatarstan actively augments cooperation with China, Vietnam, European countries and former USSR states, improves the relationship with Baltic states and the USA.

Not everything is fine in import substitution as it might have seemed. According to Shamil Ageyev, not money but people are important

''From a perspective of relations, approaches, we get good feedback everywhere. Questions arise when contracts reach big sums,'' Ageyev noted and added, ''We can't cut off business relationship. A war is a war, but merchants need to work always! Peace comes after any infighting, and business should be ready for it. Not everything is fine in import substitution as it might have seemed. According to Shamil Ageyev, not money but people are important. One can invest as much as possible in aircraft engineering. But if there aren't specialists who can make up a new engine, nothing will be fine.

Moscow asked to be in touch

The detachment of federal functionaries from Russian reality is another important topic, in Ageyev's opinion. First of all, ministers of the financial sector lack direct contacts with population and business.

''Because we hear at the [Gaidar] Forum that the economy grows. In fact, we don't feel it. Come to a shop, Mrs Nabiullina. Come to a bazaar. When was the last time you were in a bazaar? In a factory? It's another thing to work with people, in a collective,'' says Ageyev.

So he thinks the platform of all-Russian economic forums needs to be used a place where one can communicate the real state of affairs to the federal centre.

By Yuliya Krasnikova. Photo: Maksim Platonov