Ilshat Gafurov asks for tax benefits for KFU
The rector of the Kazan Federal University says that his university “pays taxes much more than some enterprises”
Ilshat Gafurov made an unexpected statement at a meeting of the Tatarstan State Council Committee on Education, Culture, Science and Ethnic Issues on 9 October. Commenting on the report on the budget of Tatarstan for the year 2020, the rector of the Kazan Federal University (KFU) appealed to the ministry of economy to study the introduction of tax preferences for higher education institutions, following the example of the SEZ and PSEDA. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
“Your report is general”
The parliamentary committee on education, culture, science and ethnic affairs have considered the budget for the year 2020, amendments to the law “On cultural heritage” and the work plan of the committee for the last quarter of this year.
The first and main report was made by Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Tatarstan Oleg Pelevin. The data announced by him had already been reported the day before by Minister of Economy Farid Abdulganiev within the meeting of the relevant committee in the State Council of Tatarstan.
As usual, when concluding the speech the speaker expressed readiness to answer questions. Ilshat Gafurov, the rector of the KFU, suddenly attacked the speaker with a flood of questions and comments. First of all, the rector of the university noted that it would be nice to make the report less general, adding more figures to it and, most importantly, bring it closer to the sphere of the committee.
“We can do the same as the ministry of finance did — in the context of industries, with regard to our cultural institutions, education, science and so on. Your report is general. I would like to understand the vision of the ministry for the development of scientific institutions of our republic,” Gafurov addressed to the representative of the ministry of economy.
“We are not economically very interested”
After that, the speaker switched to the indicators of the special economic zones and the territories of advanced development in the republic announced in the report, for which, judging by the lack of clear answers, the representatives of the ministry of economy were not ready.
“In the report, you quite correctly have said that the SEZs and PSEDAs have shown their effectiveness, but we need to talk about this efficiency in figures. Not about how many residents there are, but how many they are here. After all, in any case, they replenish the revenue side of the budget, carrying out their activities, although they are exempt from taxes. We could judge the effectiveness by this parameter,” said the rector of the KFU. “Let’s take, for example, Innopolis, where, if I'm not mistaken, there are about 80 residents. I wonder what salary fund they generate? What is the tax return? At the expense of what there is a filling of workplaces — probably, somewhere there were redundancies? It would be advisable to have the figures by the session [of the Tatarstan State Council].”
Shortly afterwards, the head of the university addressed to the ministry of economy of the Republic of Tatarstan a question concerning tax preferences for universities.
“Aren't you going to do something similar for higher education institutions, so that they receive an additional impetus for their development and conduct humanitarian research? Something like the creation of certain conditions in the SEZ for residents,” he addressed to Oleg Pelevin. “The more we increase our own activities, the more we pay taxes. It turns out that we are not economically very interested. As a federal university, we pay much more taxes than some businesses — about 2,5 billion a year. We could pay more if we received some boost and additional conditions.”
Continuing the idea, Ilshat Gafurov reminded the audience that in his recent address to the State Council of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov said about necessity of creation in Tatarstan of a scientific and educational centre: “The task of the government of the Republic of Tatarstan is to make specific proposals for system integration of education, science and production, and also on creation in the republic of a scientific-educational centre of the world level in the framework of the national project Science.
“According to the regulation, certain preferences should be provided for all participants in this process. So I asked the question from so afar: “Aren’t you going to create something like this for educational institutions and research centres?” summed up the rector.
Summing up the discussion, Chairman of the Committee on Education, Culture, Science and Ethnic Affairs Ayrat Zaripov said:
“The questions have been raised, let's deal with them, answer them. If you need new introductions, then we will meet and discuss.”
“We are obliged to protect and maintain”
The second part of the report on the republican budget was announced by Deputy Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tatarstan Oksana Kisapova. The official spoke in detail about the volume of budget allocations under the expenditure sections Education, Culture, Cinema, Mass Media for 2020 and for the planning period of 2021 and 2022.
Thus, the projected amount of spending on Education for 2020 amounted to 67 billion rubles, for 2021 — 63,8 billion rubles, for 2022 — 60 billion rubles. Under the section Culture, Cinematography, the budget allocations are provided in the amount of 9,1 billion rubles, for 2021 — 8,1 billion rubles, and for 2022 — 8,8 billion rubles. On Media, they are going to spend 1,5 billion rubles in 2020. For the years 2021 and 2022, almost similar amounts are provided for Media.
Then the parliamentarians began to consider the second issue of the agenda, devoted to the amendments to the law “On cultural heritage objects in the Republic of Tatarstan”. The amendments, by the way, are formal: the document has been developed to regulate the issues in the field of preservation and use of cultural heritage sites included in the World Heritage List and provides for the creation of additional guarantees for their safety, integrity and authenticity.
The meeting of the committee was attended by one of the initiators of the draft bill — Deputy Chairman of the parliament Tatiana Larionova, who stressed that 3 of 30 World Cultural Heritage Sites of Russia are located in our republic: “Tatarstan is the only region of the country with such a number of world cultural heritage sites, and we are obliged to protect and maintain them.”