Putin stops ten SEZ: are Alabuga and Innopolis out of danger?
Chairman of the board of directors of VTB 24 Mikhail Zadornov comments the cessation of the opening of new special economic zones
Ten Russian SEZ are to stop their activity until 30 June. President of the country Vladimir Putin entrusted this task. According to federal mass media, ineffective costs forced President to stop the opening of new SEZ. Realnoe Vremya was finding out what two Tatarstan SEZ in Yelabuga and Innopolis are waiting for.
Putin decided to thin out PDA and SEZ
Head of the Presidential Supervisory Department Konstantin Chuychenko's report was the final nail in the cleaning's coffin. The Kremlin controllers found out 186bn rubles have been spent on 33 SEZ since 2006. In addition, 24bn rubles were unclaimed, and tax and customs duties from the very zones were 40bn rubles. As a result, the creation of one working place in SEZ cost the budget 10m rubles. The report had a dig at regional authorities too. So, the regions underfunded the construction of facilities of the infrastructure by more than 40% (by 45,7bn rubles), 18,000 working places have been created by 2016 instead of planned 25,000. The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation (its data is mentioned in Chuychenko's report) noted in its materials the regions apply for an extremely big territory but don't manage to develop it – as from 1 January, SEZ did not use 40% of the land (84,400 ha out of 214,000 ha). A big part of the auditors' claims referred to tourist zones.
As a result of the scandal, Putin entrusted a task to stop the creation of new Special Economic Zones (SEZ) at least until the elaboration of single approaches to SEZ and Priority Development Areas (PDA). According to Kommersant, the activity of ten zones will be stopped. There was an errand to give all active SEZ to the regions. This process refers to Tatarstan as well, it has two SEZ.
How many zones Tatarstan has
It should be noted only 17 zones are marked as active on the site of the Russian SEZ: 6 industrial, 5 technological, 4 tourist, 2 logistic. The map of the site also mentions 7 zones: 3 industrial, 3 tourist, 1 logistic. So, in case of the closure of 10 already active zones, their number can reduce by more than twofold.
The Republic of Tatarstan has two active zones: industrial Alabuga SEZ and technological Innopolis SEZ. Moreover, we should remind that the opening of a SEZ in Sviyazhsk Multimodal Logistic Centre, which opened in December last year, was actively discussed. To tell the truth, later it became known it is planned to connect it to the active Alabuga SEZ.
We can also remember that in the Presidium of the State Council of Tatarstan in summer 2011, it was offered to include Bolgar and Sviyazhsk to the list of federal tourist SEZ. A PDA was launched in Chelny. It was supposed PDA would appear in other districts of the republic too.
'I can't even imagine we are among them'
Mikhail Mironov, a representative of Alabuga SEZ, talked to a correspondent of Realnoe Vremya and confirmed that the procedure of devolution on the management of the SEZ to the region is in the process, but it is a long process. 'It is no news for us. We have a corporate agreement between the SEZ and the Republic of Tatarstan. The Republic of Tatarstan was devolved the management of Alabuga SEZ. As for the closure, I cannot tell which regions are meant. We hope it is not ours. In our opinion, Alabuga SEZ is the most effective. They are speaking about ten ineffective zones. I can't even imagine we are among them. We have not received such messages,' Mironov stated. He could not comment a possible devolution of Sviyazhsk Multimodal Centre to Alabuga SEZ.
However, Alabuga SEZ together with Lipetsk SEZ is in the top successful projects. As head of Alabuga Timur Shagivaleyev told in an online conference of Realnoe Vremya, the estimated volume of investments is 142bn rubles. 'The volume of physically invested private investments is 92,3bn rubles, which is a very good indicator, according to all world canons. What is more, today we've already accumulated 12bn rubles of taxes during 9 years and offset almost 50% of state investments directly via taxes. But, as a rule, it is a usual thing for such projects if one ruble of investments in the state body accounts for 2 rubles of private investments. Based on our estimates, we will have offset the state investments with the help of the residents' taxes by 2018. We know that when such a factory is built and working, construction materials are produced, builders, transport and energy workers, restaurants and museums are working too. They pay taxes without any concession. This is why we think it is possible to double the cluster effect,' he told.
'According to our information, no technology innovative zone of Russia is on the list'
Representatives of Innopolis SEZ told Realnoe Vremya that the list of ten SEZ, which will be liquidated, has already been formed. 'Innopolis SEZ is not on the list. Moreover, according to our information, no technology innovative zone of Russia is on the list,' we were told in the SEZ of the scientific city.
SEZ also reminded that there were two meetings of the Supervisory Council in 2015, when 15 companies were chosen and obtained the resident status. Consequently, they had access to tax incentives. The next meeting of the Supervisory Council took place in May 2016. Projects of five Russian IT companies were considered and approved. What is more, the next session of the Supervisory Council will be on 22 June. It will consider five more companies that applied for the resident status.
'According to the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation as for 1 November 2012 No.1131 'On Creation of Technical Innovative Special Economic Zone in Verkhneuslonsky and Laishevo municipal districts of Tatarstan, the volume of financing is: the federal budget – 15bn rubles and the regional budget will expend no less than 50% of the volume of the federal money,' SEZ answered the question of Realnoe Vremya about the financing.
'For example, it was planned to create four play areas, then they became five…'
President and chairman of the board of directors of VTB 24 bank Mikhail Zadornov commented the break in the opening of new SEZ:
'I have not managed to study the decision in detail yet. You know every business needs to be estimated and summed up. It is no secret Russia has successful zones, and Tatarstan is the example of it. Both Alabuga and Innopolis and PDA are here. But there are unsuccessful ones. For instance, it was stated about the creation of four play areas, then they became five. Life is in full swing only in two of them. It is correct to close the project if it did not develop. Why should we deceive ourselves? Will there be losses during the devolution of SEZ to the regions? I don't think so because the regions themselves make concessions regardless of the level of their project – federal or regional. The business all these zones were created for needs to work, and the regions are interested in it. Economic conditions and a team is needed for this purpose. It is what defines the success of the development of SEZ today.'