Tatarstan business ombudsman: pressure on entrepreneurs falling
Administrative pressure on business eased in Tatarstan, the number of criminal prosecutions decreased, the amount of sellers in marketplaces rose
“Can you imagine that the management of the Prosecutor’s Office weekly receives complaints from a district’s entrepreneurs? From Atnya, Baltasi, an appointment can last for up to four hours,” said the Tatarstan president’s authorised Ombudsman for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Farid Abdulganiyev on 2 July how he did the task of protecting businesses from an unfounded intervention of supervisory agencies. However, the business ombudsman intends to create a comfortable environment to enter marketplaces and attract new logistic operators, not to fight with the authorities. So Abdulganiyev boasted that Denmark’s Maersk company expressed its interest in Sviyazhsk Multimodal Complex. The project of a bonded warehouse was also mentioned.
Business inspections have decreased five times in five years
During the pandemic, administrative pressure on business in Tatarstan started to notably go down. If the number of entrepreneurs’ complaints soared to 17,000 last year, at the height of the pandemic, now it has become possible to get rid of the “nervous syndrome.” Only 1,960 petitions have been received from businesspeople since the beginning of the year. Tatarstan Business Ombudsman Farid Abdulganiyev told journalists about this last Friday. He thinks that it became possible to stabilise relations between businesses and supervisory agencies thanks to switching direct communication channels, which opened in various messengers. Entrepreneurs began to receive new information from the authorities in Telegram channels, they have it all: explanations for tax changes, comments on restrictive anti-COVID-19 measures and much more. Abdulganiyev proudly said that after comments on new federal decrees were published on Telegram, they started to be downloaded in 27 regions at once.
“Lawmaking works actively in our country. There is a new decree every day. It is hard to explain orally at times, this is why our specialists create schemes to avoid unpleasant consequences. Tax decisions are the most popular theme. As soon as we published a flow chart, it is immediately downloaded in 27 regions,” the ombudsman bragged.
At the same time, there is a trend for fewer inspections. So the total number of scheduled inspections has reduced five times in the last five years, the amount of unscheduled inspections has decreased three times, to 12,000.
“You will say the pressure is growing. Supervisory agencies report that up to 60% of inspections are denied because of the absence of foundation,” he said.
“The appointment hasn’t ended, while the head of a district is calling”
The practice of joint appointment of the Tatarstan Prosecutor’s Office and ombudsman has remained. So 17 entrepreneurs from different Tatarstan districts visited them last time.
“The appointment lasted for four hours,” Farid Abdulganiyev recalled. “The questions are complicated if people reached out to the Tatarstan prosecutor. The appointment hasn’t ended, while the head of a district is calling and saying they will fix it. While we ask, ‘What have you been doing?’ Because local authorities should help businesses first.”
Entrepreneurs who were prosecuted are protected too. According to Farid Abdulganiyev, those who resort to us themselves receive support. Practising lawyers are invited on pro bono terms. They meet with imprisoned entrepreneurs in a detention centre. This year, the ombudsman’s office has received 11 petitions. Five of them have been addressed, seven entrepreneurs are receiving protection.
“We should thank the Federal Prison Service for giving us free access, we are always given the green light,” Abdulganiyev thanked the service.
At the press conference, he commented on a decision of the management of Alabuga Special Economic Zone to make vaccination compulsory. In his opinion, every executive has the right to make such decisions because they are responsible for the staff’s safety.
“We stay tuned to avoid overkills locally. We haven’t had complaints either from staff or entrepreneurs,” he said. As a business ombudsman endorses the nationwide vaccination campaign and recommends its staff to receive a vaccine. He says that he received both vaccines without problem, moreover, a long time ago, he finished the vaccination on 5 March.”
The business ombudsman pins big hopes on e-commerce. Abdulganiyev bravely forecast that Tatarstan entrepreneurs’ revenue in marketplaces will quadruple this year, to 14 billion rubles. Wildberries is the most popular platform for Tatarstan sellers. Statistically, more than 6,600 entrepreneurs of the region actively traded in marketplaces (Wildberries, Ozon, eBay, KazanExpress) by late May. Their number increased by 61% since the beginning of the year, the pandemic anyway made its impact teaching Tatarstan citizens to buy things and food online.
Maersk to open an office in Tatarstan, though there is no sea here
A big international logistic company — Maersk, a company headquartered in Denmark — can become one of the logistic partners of the republic. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov Maersk Eastern Europe Zsolt Katona signed an agreement to develop international container transportation on the territory of the republic on 30 June. Sviyazhsk Multimodal Complex built in 2015 is the focus. It has been offered to many companies, but none has said either nor or yes.
“Now I will not say if it will be leased or there will be a concession agreement. They see what is better. They said that if they have 8,000 containers a year, it is the lowest bar to consider this region. We called the top 20 companies, we turned out to have as few as 22,000 containers. It is early to say how they will work with the International Exhibition Centre, it is important they are interested in this site,” Abdulganiyev said.
The business ombudsman says that the Sviyazhsk complex has a wharf, rail access, road. It might seem what else can one want? Now the Danish company is changing its business approach: they used to bring containers from port to port, and then the containers were out of their responsibility. Now they are delivered till the last mile, either to a plant or deadlock.
“They go further, they are interested in this site, but we will still have to think about the decision, how relations and their terms will be established. Most importantly, the first step has been made. In general, it is a port transporter, and the fact that it is opening an office in Tatarstan though we don’t have a sea indicates the seriousness of their intentions!” said Abdulganiyev.
They didn’t forget the bonded warehouse that was to be launched as early as 1 November.
“It is a very good project, very popular, we are waiting for it very much,” the business ombudsman exclaimed.