Far Eastern regions are in deficit // Monitoring of public finances

The expenses of the Far Eastern regions are higher, and the possibilities of forming a revenue base are lower than the average for Russia, ACRA analysts note in their survey “Ranking of regions of the Far Eastern Federal District (FEFD) by the level of financial stability”. The reason for this situation is that these territories have a large area with a low population density, so their needs for budgetary expenditures per capita are higher than average (for the provision of food and fuel, maintenance of the required level of medicine and education). Six of the ten largest regions belong to the Far Eastern Federal District (Yakutia, Khabarovsk Territory, Chukotka, Kamchatka Territory, Magadan Region and Trans-Baikal Territory). In the five subjects with the lowest population density, four are also here (Chukotka, Magadan Oblast, Yakutia and Kamchatka Territory).

Thanks to the mining regions (Sakhalin, Yakutia, Magadan Oblast, Chukotka), in 2019, the GRP per capita in the Far Eastern District amounted to 730 thousand rubles, which is 13% higher than the national average. However, where there is no oil, gas, metals and coal, the situation is different: in Buryatia this figure was 45% of the national average, in the Trans-Baikal Territory – 53%, in the Jewish Autonomous Region – 55%. In the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories, it was lower by 13 and 6%, respectively.

ACRA’s review notes that the dependence of the Far East on transfers from the federal budget is growing: their share in the revenues of the district’s regions increased from 30% in 2016 to 44% in 2020. An exception is the Sakhalin Oblast with its offshore oil and gas projects, where the share of transfers in these years was below the national average. This region is the only one in the Far Eastern Federal District that does not receive subsidies for equalizing budgetary provision.

Modest opportunities for increasing revenues and high operating costs lead to budget deficits in the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District. Over the past nine years, the overall result of the execution of their budgets has been positive only twice – in 2018 and 2019. Over the past five years, the most significant budget deficits were in the Khabarovsk Territory, Buryatia, Sakhalin Region, the Jewish Autonomous Region and the Kamchatka Territory. The need to cover deficits leads to an increase in the debt burden and to a decrease in account balances. Only three regions of the Far Eastern Federal District ended the period from 2016 to 2020 with a surplus: these are Chukotka, the Amur Region and the Primorsky Territory.

Vadim Visloguzov

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