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Putin pledges to improve business climate in Russia

October 02, 2014, 15:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Assessments of leading international institutions have confirmed evident progress in this sphere, Russian President Vladimir Putin says
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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

©  EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

MOSCOW, October 2. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is hopeful that Russia will be a “free and prosperous country.” “We persistently move forward to reach the goals we have put before us,” Putin said on Thursday at the Russia Calling investment forum that is underway in Moscow. “We are sincere in our willingness to build a strong, prosperous, free country open to the world.”

The Russian president urged the forum participants to work in cooperation with Russian companies. “We will continue system-wide work on improving the business climate in Russia,” he said, recalling that laws had been considerably changed, lot of barriers lifted and administrative procedures optimized.

“Assessments of leading international institutions have confirmed evident progress in this sphere,” Putin said, underscoring that “a place in ratings is not the main thing.” “It is principally important how comfortable an investor feels while working in a concrete region of the Russian Federation,” Putin said.

He expects the parliament to adopt during fall and spring sessions a whole package of draft laws within the framework of national entrepreneurial initiative on improvement of business climate. The president called on the lawmakers to “debate (these bills) promptly and in a constructive manner.”

Putin said that “the work of regulators is becoming more open and transparent.” “Creating a unified federal portal on inspecting entrepreneurs’ activities is drawing to a close, and thus business people and the whole society will soon get access to information, on which controlling agency has initiated an inspection of this or that company and what the aim of this inspection was and moreover, and it is very important, what results have been reached,” Putin said.

“We are dealing with business like real partners,” Putin said. “Associations of Russian leading businesses participate in taking each decision related to the business sphere,” he said, adding that “entrepreneurs themselves carry out a permanent control of how our decisions are implemented and submit results of these checks to the presidential administration and government.”

A national rating of investment climate that was set up in regions “enables (them) to find out and introduce efficient practices into creating favorable business environment,” he said.

“A competition of regional management practices will become a serious stimulus for Russian regions to create better conditions for investors, and eventually it means a dynamic development of the whole Russian territory,” Putin said.

Sanctions vs Russia 'complete foolishness'

Anti-Russian sanctions are “complete foolishness”. They will have long-term negative effects on global economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. When answering questions at an investment forum, the president said Moscow took the imposed anti-Russian sanctions easy. “We should not be fixed on it,” he added.

Sanctions violate WTO fundamental principles and undermine confidence in international financial institutions and currencies, he said.

Russia intends to activate cooperation with foreign investment funds and banks, President Putin noted. He underlined that the state was ready to support sectors of the economy and companies hit by Western sanctions. "The state is ready to support sectors of the economy and companies, which were hit by sanctions, and offer its assistance to increase the capital of the Russian banks, " Putin declared.

"Renewing the economy and the infrastructure, we intend both to use our own financial resources and activate cooperation with investment funds and banks of other countries,"Putin said. "The confidence that serious financial structures placed in Russia has not been declining. Around $15 billion have already been attracted to joint investment platforms," Putin said. He highly praised cooperation with Russian partners from Asia and the Middle East.

Prospects of privatization

The Russian president said he did not rule out the sale of a part of a state stake in a major energy company already in 2014. “We are now considering a possibility of entering the market with large packages of our biggest energy companies,” Putin said at an investment forum.

The Russian president said he had spoken about the course towards privatization back in 2012, but the sale of stakes in energy companies was not on the agenda at that time. “But now the situation is changing, and I’m not sure that we should keep this position,” Putin said. “We are now considering selling some of these packages. We are considering such possibilities, and most likely they will be realized maybe already this year,” the Russian president said.

Putin said at the same time that Russia would not change its strategic goals, despite persisting difficulties in the economy. Some 15 years, Russia’s main task was to double GDP, Putin said. “Many simply laughed at us,” he said. “But we managed to do this,” the Russian president said.

Putin said that the economic trend had changed, although now no one could give 100% accurate forecasts on oil prices, risks or other important indicators. “After all, we proceed from the fact that we should keep the goals unchanged but we should look for such instruments that will allow us to achieve them or at least to come close to these goals,” Putin said. These instruments include the improvement of the business climate, de-bureaucratization of the economy and other measures, Putin said.

Putin also said that some defense and industrial enterprises could be converted into joint stock companies with a prospect of holding initial public offerings (IPOs). “Our defense sector now produces 25% of civilian products. In order to make these enterprises more flexible, more effective and more competitive, we do not rule out that some of them may be corporatized and floated on the stock exchange and the market,” the Russian president said.

The Russian authorities are now closely watching the state of some defense and industrial enterprises, Putin said. “Some of them could be corporatized. This creates more favorable conditions for development, bearing in mind that the state invests considerable funds in the defense and industrial sector,” the Russian president said.

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