“The budget is probably not infinite. But there are more applications than money”

SME Support Сentre has subsidized interest on loans for 128 million rubles to entrepreneurs

In Tatarstan, 56 out of more than 250 applications have been approved over two months of the pilot programme on subsidizing loans for small and medium-sized businesses. This year, the centre under the ministry of economy of the Republic of Tatarstan has spent all the allocated 128 million rubles for this purpose. Next year, another 242 million rubles are to be allocated. How to make these loans even more affordable — representatives of businesses, banks and the SME Support Centre discussed at a round table discussion. What has been agreed by the participants of the meeting — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

A drop in the ocean

The demand for the new programme of support for small and medium-sized businesses launched in Tatarstan since October has exceeded supply. We are talking about providing subsidies to entrepreneurs to pay interest on loans issued by Russian banks. The maximum amount of subsidy per recipient is 10 million rubles a year. The uniqueness of the programme is the full reimbursement of the costs associated with the payment of interest on loans — that is, 100% interest rate subsidy. The entrepreneurs who received the subsidy will have to pay only the principal of the loan.

The operator of the programme — Centre for support programmes for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises of the Republic of Tatarstan — considered more than 250 applications in two months, but approved only 56 of them, that is, every fifth. Interest on loans has already been “written off” for fifty-four entrepreneurs. Two more subsidies are at the signing stage. In total, this year the centre has spent 128 million rubles. Next year, the programme’s budget is expected to be 242 million rubles.

“The budget is probably not infinite. But at the end of the year we understand that there are more applications than money. One hundred and thirty million rubles this year have allowed us to help entrepreneurs who had a credit load of 1,7 billion rubles. Maybe it's a drop in the ocean, but this drop will paint the ocean later,” Timur Gumerov, the head of the SME Support Centre, explained to the participants of the round table discussion on the preliminary results of SME support programmes, held on 12 December in the ministry of economy with the participation of banks and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

That’s ok to take out a loan

An entrepreneur needs to meet a number of requirements to receive a subsidy for repayment of interest on loans. The loan must be targeted, valid, issued not earlier than January 1, 2017 for a period of more than one year (from 366 days) and in the amount of not less than 2,5 million rubles with a rate not higher than 14,13 per cent per annum. At the same time, loans cannot be directed to the payment of taxes, mandatory payments, salaries, interest payments on overdue loans and overdrafts. Subsidies are provided by categories of activity for operating assets (for the second and third categories) and fixed assets, construction and reconstruction of buildings, investment projects. Up to 3 million rubles can be received by energy sector, developers, as well as those who work in the field of transportation and storage, waste disposal, engaged in scientific activities. Up to 5 million rubles are provided to entrepreneurs in agriculture and having manufacturing facilities. Within 10 million rubles can be obtained by the management companies of industrial sites, residents of technoparks.

In addition to the package of documents, the candidate for the subsidy must comply with the conditions for the staff. When applying, he must increase the number of jobs by 5 per cent (hire at least one person, but not more than 10 people a year when applying again). If the first time the entrepreneur must hire 10 people, then in subsequent applications, he needs to keep these 10 jobs for a year from the date of receipt of the subsidy.

“We're trying to scream like mutes. We go to the districts. People don't know about the programme. We have been recently explaining in Naberezhnye Chelny: my task is to turn your loan into installments. An entrepreneur should not be afraid to take out a loan. It's cheap and nothing to worry about,” said Gumerov.

The list of applicants for support should be expanded

“Businesses in the service sector, for example, medicine, education, drop out of the list of categories of activity to receive subsidies. These are popular areas. Some entrepreneurship’s services can achieve breakthrough goals. It is necessary to offer the ministry of economy to expand the number of economic activities in the programme,” said the first deputy chairperson of the board of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Artur Nikolaev.

The participants of the discussion noted that Russia successfully operates the self-employed programme. Why can't they be subsidized? As Gumerov explained, the programme is limited by federal law. The self-employed can count on such support once they are equated with entrepreneurs, which can happen soon.

Eduard Kovalev, the representative of Business Russia, complained that some entrepreneurs he know are denied subsidies. Timur Gumerov explained that any entrepreneur from the register of SMEs, run by the Federal Tax Service, has the right for subsidies. As it turned out, the reason for the refusal in the case of Kovalev — excisable activities, which are not subsidized.

Kovalev also proposed to solve the issue of subsidizing interest on overdraft, which many use to replenish operating assets. Artur Nikolaev picked up on the topic. According to him, the entrepreneurs interacting with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry submitted 30 applications to the centre but received only five or six positive decisions. According to the deputy chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the reasons for the refusal are due to that, as a rule, business representatives take out loans to replenish operating assets while not all categories of entrepreneurs can receive subsidies under the programme in this case. It is necessary to reconsider this condition, the business community considers.

Loan for 364 days, but the programme — from 366

“Approval depends on staff expansion. But a small businessman cannot do this. But if he doesn't expand, should he return the subsidy? Is this condition mandatory?” Ilsiyar Khramova, an employee of Akibank, asked.

“It is not our requirement but of the federal legislation connected with increase in workplaces. We were told that without a minimum indicator of the effectiveness there cannot be subsidies. This is one of the indicators of the national project, the republic’s results will be assessed by it. We need to increase the number of people employed in business,” said the host of the round table discussion.

One of the participants of the discussion noted that loans to entrepreneurs in agriculture are given in all banks for 364 days, but the programme subsidizes interest only on loans for a period of more than 366 days — such discrepancy in the conditions many deprives of the support. Besides, it is proposed to revise the condition for tax arrears if it does not exceed 50,000 rubles.

Artur Nikolaev raised the issue of the size of the subsidized loan. Those present supported him and proposed to define the lower threshold of the loan in the programme — 1 million rubles, especially when it comes to the service sector.

“The burden of document flow falls on the bank. Do you plan to allocate subsidies to banks for loans to entrepreneurs? After all, it would be easier,” asked Khramova.

“We also help in the loans issued in 2017, and the bank will not be able to return the money (subsidy) to the entrepreneur for the loan he took yesterday. Secondly, we have no right to subsidize banks. We are limited by the 229th Federal law. In our name, only small and medium-sized enterprises are specified,” Timur Gumerov answered.

“The program is much-needed. If it continues to work, it will relieve many. The credit programmes launched at a preferential 5 per cent for small businesses are not working out. It is much faster and easier to get a loan from a commercial bank. The list of documents is minimal, but if you want to simplify it, it will be even better,” Aygul Khanova, the director of an agricultural enterprise who already has experience of participation in the centre's programme, concluded.

By Ekaterina Ablaeva. Photo courtesy of the press service of Ministry of Economy of Tatarstan

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