“To attract investors, you need to spin like a squirrel in a wheel”

How effective were the territories of advanced socio-economic development (TOP) in the Far East, how the state policy on the development of the Arctic is assessed, how the problems of unfinished construction, the volume of which is more than 5 trillion rubles, are being solved, defrauded real estate investors and resettlement of emergency housing, in an interview with Kommersant said the auditor of the Accounts Chamber (JV) Svetlana Orlova.

Over the past few years, the state has been trying to ensure the growth of investment activity in macroregions. The most striking example is the creation of a TOP in the Far East. Has it produced noticeable results?

– Preferential regimes are needed to attract private investors – without them, it is not always possible to effectively resolve issues of accelerated development of territories. The Far East is a macro-region to which special attention is paid. Generally speaking, according to our estimates, about 2.3 trillion rubles are invested in its development within the framework of state programs, of which 1.3 trillion rubles is money from the federal budget, 0.9 trillion rubles are extra-budgetary sources.

Now more than 500 residents of the ASEZ are implementing investment projects in various sectors of the economy (field development, industrial and agricultural enterprises). For example, the South Yakutia ASEZ, where a large-scale development of a coal deposit, coking coal mining and the production of coal concentrate are deployed. The volume of private investments is 49 billion rubles, more than 5 thousand jobs have been created. The project is important both for Yakutia and for the entire Far East – the main market for Russian coal is in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, therefore additional capacities are required to transport Yakut coal. Now the question of financing the project for expanding the eastern section of the BAM to increase the export of coal from Yakutia to the east is being considered. Also an important component of long-term development is the creation of social infrastructure.

What did it give in general?

First of all, the creation of 35 thousand jobs in the Far Eastern Federal District, but the number of highly productive jobs, in which industries they are created, has yet to be estimated.

By the end of this year, the Accounts Chamber plans to analyze, among other things, these issues as part of a strategic audit of the development institutions of the Far Eastern Federal District and the functioning of the ASEZ regimes.

Of course, there are risks. For example, some investors receive resident status not for a new investment project, but for an existing one in the region – that is, the potential for creating new industries in the ASEZ has not yet been fully used, but the government is working on this. To attract investors, you need to spin like a squirrel in a wheel. Even taking into account the “one window” system, bureaucratic obstacles may arise, so there is still a huge field for work, including on improving regulation. Another important aspect is whether the products produced in such TOP are competitive? Are sales markets created for it, is the logistics calculated? There are also questions about this.

– And how are the results of the ASEZ assessed as a whole?

– At this stage, what has been done is already the result. The figures show: in the structure of investments, the share of funds attracted in the Far East is higher than the average for Russia, and this is ensured by the attraction of a smaller amount of budget funds. If earlier more than 30 thousand people left the Far East, now we are talking about 20 thousand. The measures taken have also affected the infrastructure – the quality of roads has improved, a single Far Eastern company has been created, which will allow you to safely fly from Moscow to the Far East or, conversely, from there to other cities. Yes, there are still problems – not everywhere the quality of life is comparable to the average Russian, there are questions about the quality of facilities, including social facilities, the level of gasification is lower than the national average, there are also problems with logistics.

It is important that the government and the heads of the regions consider the economic development of the Far East as an opportunity to improve the quality of life of people – we in the Accounts Chamber are confident that this will happen slowly but surely.

A significant contribution to the solution of these problems is made by the implementation of national projects and the implementation of the “May” decrees of 2012 and 2018, as well as the use of a single Far Eastern subsidy for social support of economic growth centers, within which more than 450 objects have been built. Now in the Far East, 6.2% of the population are unemployed citizens, and the authorities are actively deciding whether it is possible to stimulate their employment at the federal level. And in general, the trend is correct, although there are problems with personnel, with the quality of public administration and efficiency – now we need to pay attention to them.

– Earlier, the Accounts Chamber noted that preferential regimes – both TOP and special economic zones – did not give a breakthrough effect for the economy. At the same time, the largest SEZ is being created – the Arctic zone. Are there any fears that history will repeat itself?

– While this work has just begun – “Arctic” legislation has been adopted aimed at supporting business, unprecedented benefits are envisaged that will attract more than 240 billion rubles. investment. But usually our execution is associated with a number of problems. In almost any plan or program, the implementation of which is checked by the Accounts Chamber, we see that there were many tasks, but according to the planned indicators, there is no result that should have been – this was, for example, in the state program for the development of the North Caucasus. The plans for the development of the Arctic need time – now we need to start implementing them. In the future, taking into account the experience and practice of the results obtained, we will check the implementation of these plans, conduct a risk assessment in achieving the development goals of the Arctic.

The Arctic provides tremendous opportunities, but business must understand that without breakthrough technologies, innovations, without reliance on science, this macroregion cannot be developed – the world is moving forward very quickly.

This should be a comprehensive development – new, extraordinary approaches are needed. The Arctic is a zone of strategic interests of a number of states, and since Russia is chairing the Arctic Council this year, there will be more demand from us, including in terms of environmental standards.

– Has there been an interconnection with other strategic planning documents, which is usually lacking in the adoption of certain programs?

– It happened. And we must pay tribute, now the government and the regions have begun to pay attention to both strategic planning and regional planning – what state programs are, how they are implemented, what indicators are included in these programs. So, for example, in 2020, the president made decisions on reconfiguring strategic management in the Arctic: the foundations of state policy in the Arctic and the strategy for its development until 2035 were approved. The government adopted a unified comprehensive plan for their implementation and updated the state program for the development of the Arctic zone, which is being implemented in conjunction with the activities of sectoral state programs and national projects. Since 2019, the Northern Sea Route Infrastructure Development Plan for the period up to 2035 is also being implemented. As a result, the required composition of linked strategic documents with a planning horizon until 2035 was formed for the Arctic regions.

– Large state investments go to the construction of capital facilities. The accounting board has repeatedly raised the issue of unfinished construction. Are there any positive dynamics?

– The changes have already begun. The Accounts Chamber has done a great deal of meticulous work in this direction. The emergence of this problem is due to the fact that, firstly, not all legislation has been worked out. Secondly, there were many questions about the quality of planning – whether this facility is needed, whether the need for its construction has been calculated for the future at least 10-15 years.

Now there is an annual systematization of such objects, each region has already made an inventory.

According to preliminary data, by the beginning of this year, 5,700 problem projects of unfinished construction with a total investment of almost 1.2 trillion rubles are registered at the federal and regional levels, of which 2,300 are “long-term construction” at 925 , 1 billion rubles. and 3.4 thousand abandoned objects for 250.1 billion rubles.

Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin pays close attention to this issue, including at weekly headquarters. Recently, he instructed to determine the Ministry of Economy responsible for the issues of unfinished construction department. The Ministry, together with the Ministry of Construction, are completing work on the draft “road map” aimed at solving the problem of unfinished business, and submitted it to the government – the soonest approval of the “road map” will put the work on a systematic basis, and its implementation will create the necessary tools to prevent the emergence of new problem objects …

– The Ministry of Construction proposes to create a unified register of capital construction objects. Will it help?

– Sure. Back in 2019, the Accounts Chamber proposed to the government to create an information resource that allows, based on the unique identification number of an object, to receive information about it from all state information systems at all stages of its life cycle – from the idea of ​​creation to its liquidation. Therefore, we will support this initiative.

– Another problem of the construction sector, which, however, concerns more housing conditions of citizens, is the resettlement of the emergency fund. For these purposes, tens of billions are spent annually from the budget. Is it effective?

– Now about 240 thousand people are settled out of 4 million square meters. m of emergency housing with the goal of resettling 630 thousand people out of 10.5 million square meters. m by the end of 2024. Taking into account the fact that the Housing and Utilities Fund and the regions worked well, at the end of 2020, an additional 50 billion rubles were allocated from the federal budget to the Housing and Utilities Fund. for advanced resettlement. At the same time, I would like all houses under construction within the framework of the program to be also energy efficient. However, this, unfortunately, does not always happen. This is a complex and controversial issue – when an energy efficient house is rented out, services become much more expensive, and people do not always have the opportunity to pay for them.

– The problem of the emergency fund is, in fact, endless – every year more such housing appears than is settled. In this regard, it was said that a permanent settlement mechanism is needed …

– We always want more. But until 1995, dilapidated housing was not considered emergency at all – this is already a big advance in managing this process. I still remember when there were only four regions in the resettlement program: Kemerovo, Astrakhan regions, the Republic of Komi and Yakutia, where housing was in an unsatisfactory condition. After that, it was already decided to extend this practice to other regions.

Yes, now there is a lot of dilapidated housing, although the Housing and Utilities Fund has done a great job. We understand perfectly well that housing will continue to deteriorate, and the emergency fund will only increase. The regions need to solve this problem together with the Housing and Utilities Fund.

– The Housing and Utilities Fund will merge with the Fund for the Protection of the Rights of Shareholders. How do you assess the situation with solving the problem of defrauded equity holders now?

– With the transition of developers to project financing and the creation of the Fund for the Protection of the Rights of Shareholders, stricter control has been introduced in this area. Now decisions have been made to restore rights in the form of housing or monetary compensation for 60 thousand defrauded equity holders. Although their number, everyone is well aware of this, is much more – about 180-200 thousand people.

Now it is important to ensure effective interaction between the Fund for the Protection of the Rights of Shareholders and the established regional funds, which, unfortunately, do not work well enough everywhere.

Most problematic objects and, accordingly, deceived citizens are in the Moscow, Leningrad, Novosibirsk regions, as well as in the Krasnodar and Krasnoyarsk regions.

– Is this due to the fact that these regions have the largest construction volumes?

– Not only, it is also a question of increased demand for real estate. The state is faced with the task of resolving the issue of defrauded equity holders by 2024. All the prerequisites for its implementation are there. Although there are risks – first of all, they relate to the issues of financial support for measures to restore the rights of citizens, as well as the lack of personalized registration of defrauded equity holders. For example, a lot of letters from such citizens come to the Accounts Chamber. But at least the state has an integrated approach to solving this acute social problem.

Interviewed by Evgeniya Kryuchkova