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Interview
21.05.2018
On-the-ground initiatives. How regional leaders plan to develop business
There are many potential investors among participants at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The heads of four completely different Russian regions discuss their expectations for the event and what they have to offer business.

What do you expect from SPIEF 2018?

New opportunities for the republic, and new contracts for businesses. We will have a joint stand for the first time at SPIEF, where we will showcase the republic’s investment potential and the products made by local businesses.

How can the region’s economy be diversified?

Diversification is an especially urgent issue for the Udmurt Republic, because the defence industry accounts for the lion’s share of production in manufacturing, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has set the challenge of gradually converting these companies to fous on alternative markets.

It is undoubtedly a plus that defence industry enterprises have superlative competencies and human resources, and can produce high-tech and competitive civilian products. For example, Aksion-Holding manufactures a wide array of medical equipment. The Government’s job is to help businesses find market niches and new orders.

Another opportunity to diversify the economy involves creating advanced special economic zones in cities where a single industry holds sway. In 2017, Sarapul was designated an ASEZ, and this year we are submitting applications for Votkinsk and Glazov.

Lastly, we need to expand the types and amount of support available to small businesses. Last year, we created the Udmurt Republic Development Corporation, a single window for all entrepreneurs and investors. It provides businesses support services, assistance, and advice on a variety of issues. We are also putting a significant focus on developing exports. The Russian Export Center now has a presence in the region, which has already yielded results: 286 small businesses have taken advantage of its services and signed 40 export contracts worth a total of 560 million roubles.

What is more important: meeting current obligations, or working towards the future?

That is a provocative question. My first impulse is to answer that, of course, working towards the future is more important. But, no. Both tasks are equally important. That is because current obligations are mainly in the social sphere: education, healthcare. Housing and utilities. And the Government has done and continues to do everything it can to ensure the best possible quality of life for the republic’s residents. It’s simply vital to work things out so that there are no emergencies, no breakdowns, no catastrophes in our current activities, so that everything runs like clockwork. Then there will be much more time to work towards the future.

Attracting investors, creating new production facilities and jobs, modernizing existing enterprises, promoting Udmurtian manufacturers’ products in external markets – we are constantly engaged in this work for the future, as well. Businesses in the republic take part in trade and economic missions to foreign countries. We have created and are promoting ‘Made in Udmurtia’ as a brand. In 2017, several large-scale events were held in the republic, including forums entitled ‘Made in Udmurtia’ and ‘Invest in Udmurtia’. The results of that effort have been new orders, an increase in industrial capacity, higher salaries, and more tax revenues, which makes additional funding available for social services. In the end, this means increased prosperity for our citizens.

Source: SPIEF-2018 Official Magazine

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