‘Sanctions will last for several generations’: Talia Minullina critisises Tatarstan businesses for lack of initiative
The head of the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency urged entrepreneurs to prepare in advance for meetings with potential partners
“We met the sheikh of Saudi Arabia, so businessmen from the Altai Krai found an investor for the construction of a large agricultural complex, while Tatarstan (businesses) found few people," Talia Minullina, the head of the TIDA, critisised the entrepreneurs who are “shy” at international forums for inertia. At the New Year's Eve meeting at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the authorities tried to awaken a “hunting” interest in Asian businesses, since Kazan is going to receive guests from the Middle East for almost the whole year and it is necessary not to “oversleep” the chance to establish business ties.
A break with foreigners, dairy crisis, and busy Pesoshin
The New Year's Eve meeting of entrepreneurs, members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and representatives of the Government of Tatarstan, as usual, was devoted to summing up the results of 2023. However, the organisers were not particularly going to “revise” the results. After all, there was a social evening event with champagne, not a reporting board meeting. It was attended by about 70 businessmen from different regions of the republic, officials, the press and musicians. This is quite a lot, considering that the event took place on the penultimate working day, and for the “turnout”, it was necessary to compete with at least the “cabinet” plan, and maybe with official corporate events.
Until the last moment, they waited for the arrival of Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Alexei Pesoshin. But it didn't happen. In general, the head of government rarely attends public events. So, he ran into the final session at the State Council a few minutes before the start, without having time to look at the children's postcard from the “Wish Tree”. And seeing him at the buffet is something incomprehensible.
In an informal setting, the guests talked more about breaking off relations with foreign companies. It would seem that 2 years have passed since the beginning of its development, but the “exodus” of Western companies has not ended. “The hardest thing for us was disconnecting from the parent company," Evgeny Rylov, the regional director of the logistics operator Noytech Supply Chain Solutions (Noytech Logistics Rus), told Realnoe Vremya. This year, the Swiss logistics provider Kuehne & Nagel suspended its operation in Russia. His business was bought out by general manager Perry Neumann, who had led the Kuehne & Nagel cluster in Russia and the CIS countries for more than 14 years. According to Rylov, after that the company itself, the brand, logistics routes, and prices changed. Everything turned upside down. “After the Covid-19 epidemic, logistics returned to normal, suppliers shifted to China. There are many options for cargo delivery. The only thing that is unstable is prices. They are changing every month," he said.
“The restructuring of logistics ties has been a long time coming," Rafinat Yarullin, the head of Tatneftekhiminvest Holding, disagrees. According to him, the export of petrochemical raw materials has been established, processing within the country has been normalised: “We are working with SIBUR, we have good relations. All issues related to the supply of raw materials for small businesses have been resolved. We have a complete understanding," he said. He prefers not to guess what industrial production index of the petrochemical industry is going to be by the results of the year: “The results are to be at the end of January. I think that guessing is a mess. I think we will work well," Yarullin assured the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya.
Not everything is good in agriculture. Tatarstan farmer Alyona Beloglazova was shocked by the low purchase prices for milk. As told by Realnoe Vremya, in early May they fell to 23 rubles per liter due to excessive exports of powdered milk from Belarus: “Some dreamed that in winter they would rise to 60 rubles. No, that didn't happen. They remained at the level of 35 rubles per liter. Small farms continue to slaughter livestock," she said, predicting an increase in retail milk prices, similar to the egg collapse.
Events are held not just to “celebrate”
Traditionally, the New Year's Eve meeting was opened by the aksakal and chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Shamil Ageev. The meeting has been the 30th in his life. Together with him, the businessmen were addressed by Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Nigmatullin and head of the Investment Development Agency Talia Minullina, and later joined by President of the Academy of Sciences Rifkat Minnikhanov. Turkish Consul General in Kazan Ugul Yilmaz and guests from Iran and China could escape from the New Year's bustle.
Ageev made it clear that businesses need to get used to working under sanctions: “We are now in a period when Europe is closed to us and new sanctions are going to last for a long time, at least several generations, while Asian markets are very specific. Therefore, it is necessary to pay more attention to supporting manufacturers," Ageev said. In his opinion, the work of the Investment Development Agency in organising forums provides a good help in this. The main thing is that businesses do not “oversleep” the opportunities. “The business community should find its own points of relationship," he advised.
The head of the TIDA expressed herself more clearly, saying that entrepreneurs themselves should be active in establishing new relations at international forums, and there are many of them in Kazan. Next October, the BRICS heads of state summit is to be held with the participation of the president of the Russian Federation, which is going to attract businesses from Asia. Besides, many annual events will be held — the investment and venture fair, KazanSummit — Russia-Islamic World, ROSTCHI forum.
“The republic holds these events not just to “celebrate”. But for our economy to grow. In fact, we are doing this for you," she said, criticising entrepreneurs for their inertia.
“We met the sheikh of Saudi Arabia in Kazan, so businessmen from the Altai Krai found an investor for themselves to build a large agricultural complex, while Tatarstan (businesses) found few people," she told with annoyance a recent example of how investments are intercepted from under their noses. To catch their luck, entrepreneurs need to prepare for such events. To study partners, prepare business plans, conduct their expertise, and not just “catch live bait”.
Overall, the year is finishing well: “GRP exceeded 4 trillion rubles, the volume of shipped products — 4.5 trillion rubles, and the volume of investments in the republic's economy exceeded 1 trillion rubles for the first time," she cited preliminary figures. But the next one will be very difficult for the republic, the head of the TIDA believes. “We are going to receive a large number of guests. But what is joyful is that the guests will come and leave, and the infrastructure that is being created for a lot of money will remain with us," Minullina said.
Ministry of Industry and Trade has drawn up industry programme until 2030
Later, Deputy Prime Minister of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Tatarstan Oleg Korobchenko rushed to the congress hall: “Everyone writes that Tatarstan's industry is rolling back, but I can assure you that the industrial production index will reach 104.8%," he told Realnoe Vremya on the sidelines.
The volume of industrial production is expected to reach 4.7 trillion rubles. The leaders of growth are defence and mechanical engineering. There is a downfall in petrochemistry, but this is due to that Nizhnekamskneftekhim, TANECO, and Kazanorgsintez are undergoing reconstruction. “They will definitely take off at the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025," he is sure.
The deputy prime minister named three main events in the economy of Tatarstan: “The first is the decision on the assembly of Tu-214 aircraft. Secondly, they began to develop the machine tool industry. And third, we have drawn up a strategy for the development of Tatarstan's industry. We started working on it last year. It describes the situation of 24 branches of the Republic of Tatarstan, we understand in which direction it will move," he said. It has not been published yet, as it has not been signed by the prime minister of the Republic of Tatarstan.