Buy patriotism with all the money // Oleg Sapozhkov on the activity of quotas for purchases of Russian products

Since the government agreed in 2020, under pressure from the industrial lobby, to introduce mandatory shares of public procurement from Russian manufacturers, we regularly read detailed discussions of officials about the device of import substitution, the implementation of quotas for 2021 and coercion of private owners as well (after all, state-owned companies, about which here speech, there are also private shareholders) to buy Russian.

At first, the main tone of the official correspondence was disappointment: the legislation is full of holes and customers will buy what they want. But by the summer, the nature of the discussions had changed: plugging of holes was being discussed, bills were being introduced through the industrial lobby, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Economy were writing reviews on them, amendments to the law on public procurement were being prepared, ways of influencing state-owned companies and the idea of ​​a general rule “buy 15% more expensive, but but from the EAEU. ” The goal is to provide the industry with budgetary demand for what it produces. At the same time, the meaning of the law on the contract system – transparency and efficiency of relations with the market, competition and, as a result, optimization of the price-quality ratio – is not mentioned at all in the correspondence of departments, although people buy a thing for a task and determine the price based on it – someone needs a picture, to close the hole in the wallpaper, to someone in the collection.

This is the main problem of the state order: there is a general understanding of quality for a shopping list of hundreds of thousands of customers worth tens of trillions of rubles, and the truth is not, there is only a universal criterion – cheapness. And here the task of supporting its production becomes related: it will somehow master the cheap and massive, if it receives an order. This, in fact, is the subject of endless correspondence. It doesn’t matter what the state wants to buy and why, it is important that it be 30% Russian. And if we reach 100%, then, probably, competition and an increase in quality will begin.

Sometimes, however, whole areas emerge where product properties are important. When it came to musical instruments, four ministries seriously discussed the criteria that need to be introduced so that music schools buy only Russian guitars and violins, and it turned out that the instruments are chosen according to their sound, and not according to the share of domestic brass or ate in the total mass of the product.

However, music is an art, it has its own laws, and the state order has its own. The incident had no effect on the activity of the struggle for import substitution in other industries, and the fact that living people will use what is bought under the quota is still not of interest to regulators. “If you don’t like it, let the customers go to court,” the officials say almost unanimously. The court, apparently, will correct what is cheap, but the Russian industry did not do very well, but for now you have to be patient – it is localized 100%.

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