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Director of Investment Agency Danil Kustov gave an interview to news agency RBC

Director of the regional state Agency for Investment Promotion Danil Kustov told about the results of  2017, features of investment projects and plans for the future.

I would like to start our conversation with the results of the work . How can they be measured? How many companies managed to attract to the Voronezh region? What is the expected investment? What new productions will be opened in the region?

 The work of  the Agency in 2017 can be measured in figures. Employees of  Investors Attraction and Productive Forces Placement Department​ organized  34 official visits of companies-investors. Representatives of Russian and foreign companies met with regional administrations, visited  municipal districts  where they could potentially locate production facilities.

As a result, 8 companies adopted  a positive decision and chose our region for their investment projects. We are talking about such companies as: Criomash Gas, KUN, Russian Proteins, Universal Stroy, BMA Russland, Devizky Broiler, NWR Logistics, NSTR Missile Technologies.

Among the listed companies there are both Russian and foreign ones.  It is worth noting that the process of attracting investment is very difficult and time-consuming. For example, KUN is one of the world's leading producers of agricultural machinery from France. The first contact with the company was made in 2008. Only after 9 years the company decided to locate production in our region.

These companies will produce liquefied natural gas, agricultural equipment, electronic cards, equipment for sugar refineries, produce meteorological rockets, fertilizers, grow mushrooms and process biological waste.

The volume of attracted investments amounted to 18 billion rubles.

I suppose that it was possible due to favorable investment climate in the region. This fact is confirmed by the National rating of the investment climate in the Russian Federation. By the results of 2017, the Voronezh region rose to 8th place in the rating, while in 2016 it was out  the top twenty. What contributed to such  high result and what is the contribution of the Agency?

At the beginning of June 2017, International Economic Forum was held in St. Petersburg. One of the main events of the forum was «Presentation of the National rating for investment climate in the regions of Russia». Based on results, , the Voronezh region showed a qualitative growth of the main indicators, risen by 15 positions in comparison with 2016. Our region took the first place in terms of the dynamics of the integral indicator and for the first time entered the top-10 leader regions. Currently, in the National rating the region ranks 8th out of 80.

The results of the National rating were formed in 4 main directions: regulatory environment, institutes for business, infrastructure and resources, support for small business.

The Agency's activities were evaluated by specialists in the first direction – «Institutions for business». Experts from Voronezh region put it «perfectly». Other directions  was rated with «good».

The final data of the National rating correlates with the high ratings made by the experts of «Agent of Business» program, which was broadcasted on «Vesti24»               TV channel. Business experts estimated the rating of business hospitality of Russian regions. In this rating, the Voronezh region also entered the top 10 of the Russian entities and took the high 9th place, primarily due to the indicators of the Agency.

The experience of the Agency was included in the Collection of the Best Practices of the Business Hospitality Rating in such section: work of the investment portal, interaction with investors, and the effective work of the specialized organization.

One of the Agency's key tasks is to support projects from the first negotiations to the launch of production. Do projects always go smoothly or still face challenges , despite all efforts to create a favorable investment climate?

Despite of all the efforts made by the Voronezh region government, periodic constraints that impede the implementation of the investment project still exist. And the  Agency is authorized to tackle the problem.

During 2017, the Agency received 28 applications with a request to assist in resolving certain issues from 21 investing companies, which are currently implementing their projects.

Each appeal was considered by the Agency's specialists.

Then most often initiators of investment projects apply to the Agency with obtaining permits.

On the second place is allocation of the land plot. Then goes utility connection to the engineering infrastructure, receipt of state support measures and projects funding.

In total we managed to solve 21 problematic issue. The remaining issues are under control at the decision stage. I would like to note that appealы will not be left without attention of our experts.

As far as  I know, Target Models developed by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives  also refers to minimize problems in the implementation of investment projects. Although their task is even to promote the development of the business environment and increase the investment attractiveness of Russia's regions as a whole. In 2017, these Models were introduced for the first time. Tell us, what is it? Did you achieve any results in their implementation?

Target Models for simplifying business procedures and increasing the investment attractiveness were developed by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives in order to qualitatively change the approach to creating conditions for attracting investments  and to raise the work of regional management teams to a new level.

The Target Models is a set of factors ensuring a favorable investment climate. For each factor, the target value and indicators of its achievement were determined by specialists.

During 2017, the regions of Russia, including our  region, was working to achieve targets.

Two Target Models were assigned to our Agency: «The effectiveness of the special organization for attracting investments and investor interaction» and «The quality of the investment portal».

The Agency is also realizing specific indicators of road maps   «The effectiveness of feedback and the work of channels for direct communication between investors and administration of the Russian Federation entity»  and «Availability and quality of regional legislation on mechanisms for protecting investors and supporting investment activities».

In many ways, measure set by the Models have already been implemented by the Agency. For instance support of the projects on «one contact»  principle, developed system of stuff members training, «hotline» for round-the-clock communication with potential investors.

Еhe Investment Portal of the Voronezh region was adapted for mobile devices and translated into 4 foreign languages for more convenient use.  The Agency also regularly participated in federal investment congresses and forums.

Within the framework of the target models implementation  was developed CRM system that allows to systematize information on investment projects.  The terms for consideration of investor's appeal were reduced to 10 days  and operational performance for the Agency's employees were introduced.

Three forms of feedback were created for investors on the Portal,  allowing to apply for state support measures, solving problem issues, reviewing the investment project. Promoting  of the Portal was made by the social networks Facebook and Twitter.

As a result the Agency worked 100%, these target models were introduced ahead of schedule, in September 2017. I am confident that the experience of our Agency will be adopted by other regions.

Investment attractiveness is a complex concept. In addition to simplifying administrative procedures, an investment infrastructure should be created. In 2017 in the Voronezh region was began the work on the establishment  of a Special Economic Zone and a Priority Social and Economic Development Area (PSEDA). Did the Agency participate in these projects?

Agency staff directly participated in these projects. In October 2017, the Agency staff jointly with the Department for Economic Development and the administration of the Pavlovsky district, participated in the preparation of the application for the establishment of PSEDA. As a site the monotown  Pavlovsk was chosen.

the commission of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia approved the application for the establishment of PSEDA in the shortest possible time. Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation on establishment of Priority Social and Economic Development Area «Pavlovsk» was recently signed by the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

А special preferential taxation system is envisaged for residents. It is planned to set a lower tax rate for corporate profit tax to be credited to the regional budget in the amount of no more than 5% within 5 tax periods, starting from the year of receipt of the first profit, and no more than 11% during the next 5 tax periods.

PSEDA will operate for 10 years with the possibility of further extension of this period and will allow to achieve several goals at once: Pavlovsk's withdrawal from mono-dependence, attracting investments and increasing the investment attractiveness of the region as a whole, creating new jobs and improving the quality of life of the population.

Special Economic Zone will be created in the southern part of the Maslovsky industrial park. Agency staff fully prepared the economic justification for the budgetary efficiency of creating facilities for internal and external engineering, transport, innovation, social and other SEZ infrastructure.

Calculations of forecast indicators of the effectiveness were also prepared and an assessment of the profitability, profitability and payback period of the new development territory was made. Six residents signed the agreement on the allocation of production in the special economic zone. The approximate amount of investments will be more than 9 billion rubles.

Summing up the results of the 2017, it is logical to ask about plans for the coming 2018. What projects does the Agency intend to implement this year?

The strategic task for the Agency in 2018 will be to increase the volume of investments for the implementation of projects in the territory of the Voronezh region. We will invite investors to the region, arrange business visits and negotiations, present the potential of the Voronezh region in the framework of Russian and foreign congress events.

In its work, the Agency focuses not only on attracting new investment projects, but also on stimulating the development of current investment projects. After all, it is also necessary to attract financing for the adaptation and redevelopment of existing production facilities, and this is also an investment in a much larger volume.

We will continue to provide comprehensive assistance to companies that are implementing investment projects in our region. And in this work the Agency's staff will be guided by the principle of «one contact».

Today, the Agency is actively involved in the development of regional strategic documents. The employees are working out a strategy for socio-economic development of five municipal districts: Gribanovsky, Kashirsky, Petropavlovsk, Pavlovsky and Ertilsky under the direct supervision of the interim head of the Department of Economic Development, A.M. Bukreev.

Successful development of municipalities is impossible without defining a system of priorities in ensuring coherence of actions of all economic entities.

The documents include analysis of particular municipal entity in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the main factors of economic activity, determine development priorities.

The Agency organized a free unique training for local administration  in our region on modern educational programs.

Training «Fundamentals of the investment policy of the state»  is conducted remotely, in the form of online seminars.

Seminars suggest the study of lecture and video material through a personal cabinet, located on the Investment Portal of the Voronezh region. In the future, municipal employees will undergo final testing.

This year, the Agency will promote a new measure of state support for investors, as a pledge of regional property. This measure of state support is provided by the «Land Collateral Fund of the Voronezh Region».

At present, 49 plots of land, 211 gas supply facilities and 2 blocks of shares of joint-stock companies are at its disposal. This property has a total market value of about 4 billion rubles.

Danil Alexandrovich, is the Voronezh region ready to accept every investors or not?

Today the term «investor at any cost» has outlived itself. The Agency experts assess not only the economic benefits for the region from the implementation of the proposed project, but also possible negative consequences.

Today it is important to get quality investments.

Experts assess the availability of the market and existing productions (to avoid overproduction), the environmental safety of the project, whether it can solve social problems and many other aspects.

After all, investment in the Voronezh region is an investment in the life of the region. I want the payoff from them to be seen not only by the initiators of projects and bodies of state power, but also by the residents of the region. That is why it is so important to qualitatively approach the selection of investors.

REFERENCE

The Agency for Investments and Strategic Projects of the Voronezh Region is one of the leading specialized organizations for attracting investments and working with investors among the entities of the Russian Federation.

The functional and structure of the Agency were included in the Collection of Successful Practices for Implementing the Provisions of the Regional Investment Standard in 2014, the Collection of Best Practices for Improving the Investment Climate in the Subjects of the Russian Federation in 2015, the Collection of Best Practices of Business Hospitality in the Subjects of the Russian Federation in 2017. The Agency was taken as a basis for the development of the Target Models for Improving the Investment Climate in the Subjects of the Russian Federation for 2017.

Today, the Agency employs experts involved in attracting investors, support of  implementing investment projects, promoting the investment potential of the Voronezh Region in Russia and internationally, providing analytical and business services.

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