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Putin suggests several initiatives to improve business climate

February 10, 2012, 16:18 UTC+3
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Presidential candidates Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Prokhorov participated in a congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs /RSPP/, where tax policy was the key topic. The prime minister suggested introducing a tax on luxury goods, while Prokhorov suggested having a charity tax for all entrepreneurs. The prime minister voiced several initiatives on the improvement of the business climate.

Vladimir Putin suggested introducing a so-called luxury tax, which he used to doubt, RBC writes. The fiscal meaning of the tax should not be overrated, the prime minister said. Besides, he continued, the tax should not affect the middle class. The prime minister also suggested reconciling the society with the unjust privatisation of the 1990s. He suggested the industrialists and entrepreneurs chip in and give a certain share to the public. However, the prime minister did not specify what to return and how much.

Mikhail Prokhorov suggested for all entrepreneurs to pay an obligatory charity tax, Novye Izvestia writes. The billionaire said that they can easily afford sparing one percent of their own assets and 0.2 percent of corporate revenues for a special social fund.

Members of the RSPP expected from the prime minister another portion of governmental initiative to improve the business climate, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. It did arrive. Putin approved promptly the practice of regulating impact, which allows businesses to vote down legal and regulating acts at their drafting stage if they affect the economic situation – in 2011 every second document was rejected. The procedure should be applicable for the legislation and regulating acts in customs, and later on – in tax legislation.

The second initiative is a tax barrier that would ease fiscal burden in the real economy. The prime minister promised to set rates of key taxes and to fix them for future. The third initiative is to refuel from reconstruction of existing industrial facilities for construction of new ones. Putin is sure terms of these projects may be reduced by cutting approving formalities from present 51 to seven in future. Time limits for approvals should be cut, too – from 423 to 53 days.

Putin’s fourth initiative is aimed at humanisation of the criminal legislation. It should exclude an opportunity of investigators’ arbitrariness. The prime minister spoke for revision of the Criminal Code and of the entire law enforcement practice in connection with entrepreneurs, by removing “hooks and formal reasons to press businesses.”

The initiatives aimed at improvement of the business and investment climate were taken by entrepreneurs with great interest. But they are expecting not words and promises, they are expecting realistic steps in that direction, the newspaper writes. “The business is expecting serious steps from the power. A lot was voiced, including correct words. But, in order to form attractive investment climate, to attract foreign and exported domestic capital, it is necessary to start structure reforms,” commercial director of Schrei Leasing Alexander Bakhmatsky said.

Meanwhile, the judicial system remains ineffective and unable to protect private property, he said. As for taxes, the power is speaking about them only in view of their growth. The administrative and bureaucratic barriers would not let small and medium businesses develop. Thus, speaking about attractive investment climate is out of question, he added.

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