Infrastructure in exchange for debts // Projects worth 1.2 trillion rubles apply for support through the restructuring of loans to regions

To support investment projects, the creation of infrastructure for which it is allowed to finance at the expense of funds released from the regions during the restructuring of budget loans, 236 projects have already been selected for 1.2 trillion rubles. The Ministry of Economy plans to sign agreements on the implementation of such projects with the governors in July. Regional authorities note that such a measure increases the investment attractiveness of the territories and reduces the amount of debt. Experts believe that the process of reducing the debt burden will largely depend on the financial policy of the entities themselves.

The Government Commission for Regional Development has selected 236 investment projects in 42 constituent entities of the Russian Federation with a total planned investment of 1.2 trillion rubles. We are talking about projects, for the infrastructure support of which it will be possible to direct the funds freed up from the regions due to a decrease in payments on budget loans from the center. As Kommersant was told in the Ministry of Economy, the first agreements on the implementation of such projects will begin to be signed in July. According to the department, within the framework of this mechanism, it is planned to create more than 700 infrastructure facilities, for the construction of which the regions will allocate 85 billion rubles.

Recall that, according to the decision of the federal authorities, the funds that are released in 2021-2024 from the regions as a result of the extension of the restructuring of budget loans until 2029 can be directed to infrastructure support for investment projects (during this year, also to overcome the consequences of the pandemic, and to compensate for the income). We are talking about 422 billion rubles, which the subjects will be able to use by the end of 2024. Subsequently, the debt of the regions will decrease by the amount of taxes that such investment projects will bring to the federal budget. According to the head of the Ministry of Economy, Maxim Reshetnikov, more than 300 billion rubles of this amount remain available.

Examples include the project of a complex residential development in Saransk, calculated until 2025. It is planned to allocate 85 billion rubles for it from the regional budget. for the construction of heat supply networks. As a result, as the Acting Head of Mordovia Artem Zdunov explains, the region’s debt should be reduced by the same amount due to taxes that this project will bring to the federal budget. “The new mechanism makes it possible to simultaneously increase the investment attractiveness of the region and reduce the size of the state debt,” he notes. Karelia has proposed projects in the field of information technology, tourism and stone processing: in 2022, according to the head of the republic, Artur Parfenchikov, it is planned to spend 1 billion rubles on the construction of the supporting infrastructure.

Marat Fattakhov, Director of the Center for Regional Economics of the Center for Strategic Research, notes that this measure will allow one “shot” to remove infrastructure restrictions and help investors implement their projects, as well as stimulate the regions to create the most favorable conditions for doing business. At the same time, he says, “there are few good projects that can qualify for government support, and the greatest effect is likely in the implementation of large investment projects.”

Experts warn that the program imposes on the regions and obligations – to find funds for the implementation of investment projects, as well as to enter the declared objects on time. “It will be difficult for regions that are financially weak: they have to spend their resources on financing current liabilities,” believes Andrey Chernyavsky, a leading researcher at the Center for Development Institute at the Higher School of Economics. The success of reducing the debt burden, in his opinion, will depend on how the regions themselves will build their finances in 2021 and in subsequent years: “The funds that the regions will direct for the implementation of infrastructure projects can be found, including through borrowing in different forms ”.

According to the Ministry of Finance, as of May 1, 2021, the state debt of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation amounted to 2.44 trillion rubles, of which 1.105 trillion rubles fell on budget loans from the center. Thus, 422 billion rubles. released funds are 38% of regional budget loans, or 17% of their total debt.

Evgeniya Kryuchkova