The 6th Russian PPP Week Infrastructure Congress was held on 2326 April in Moscow. The event was organized by the Public-Private Partnership Development Centre and the Roscongress Foundation with the participation of relevant federal ministries and support from the Analytical Centre for the Government of the Russian Federation, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Business Russia and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. Sberbank acted as the General Partner of the event.
The Russian PPP Week is the largest event in the field of infrastructure development and public-private partnership in Russia. This year the Congress gathered delegates from 63 Russian regions. Representatives of federal and regional authorities, executives of financing and commercial organizations, leading construction companies and industry experts participated in the event. Representatives of 23 countries attended the G20 Working Panel on Infrastructure which was held on the third day of the event.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev noted the importance of the event in his welcoming address. Public-private partnership facilitates the development of infrastructure, so it is important that investors see the government as a reliable long-term partner, he added.
The keynote of the Congress was the implementation of infrastructure projects, which should contribute to the achievement of national goals set by President Vladimir Putin in his May Decree. During the plenary discussion, the participants covered such topics as the possibility of using PPP mechanisms for the implementation of national projects; pitfalls which may be expected with this approach; where to find private money and what the industry lacks. Mikhail Rasstrigin, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, noted in his speech that there is a handful of exemplary PPP projects already, which means that the mechanism is in demand, as it allows to balance the risks between the government, private partners and contractors. Deputy Minister of Digital Development Evgeny Kislyakov believes that PPP is still a fairly new tool for the IT industry, and it raises questions that need to be answered. Panellists noted the high demand for private investment and certain problems with attracting it. In particular, the lack of guarantees against political risks is not conducive to active funding of Russian projects by international institutions, and the regulatory framework for certain industries needs to be improved.
Thorough project design is an important aspect of attracting investment. There are many ideas, but no funds or personnel to comprehensively develop business models. Pavel Seleznev, Chairman of the Board of the National PPP Centre, noted that around 500 PPP projects do not reach commercial close each year. «There are many initiatives, but only some of them reach the close, even though we constantly hear that this or that agreement is going to be signed. We have reached the point of stagnation in the PPP market,» he added.
The reason for that, in his opinion, is the lack of human resources. «We do not have specialists who can quickly and accurately draft an investment project. At the same time, we need construction and engineering resources to implement these projects,» Mr Seleznev said. «We are now at a new stage of the PPP market: the digitalization.» Pavel Seleznev also noted that the National PPP Centre has already launched a digital platform in test mode, which should become an accelerator for ongoing and planned projects, as well as for expert and financial mechanisms that should assist the public side and investors in the preparation and launch of PPP-based investment projects. In the future, a marketplace for engineering and investing companies will be launched on the basis of this platform. During the congress, all participants had a chance to get acquainted with the platforms features and test its services.
Discussions of the infrastructure development through PPP mechanisms in various sectors from transport to the social sphere and the treatment of MSW continued during the three days of the event. Not only the participants touched upon the investment component of the projects, but also elaborated on regulatory issues and judicial practice.
G20 working panel with business on infrastructure development was another significant event held in the course of the Congress. The seminar was attended by delegates from over 20 countries including government officials and representatives of national and international financial institutions. Participants discussed the key trends and challenges in the infrastructure market and attempted to find effective mechanisms that could stimulate extra-budgetary project investments.
During the final day of the Congress, the PPP-Institute conducted an educational programme at Sberbank, dedicated to the financial and legal support for the projects.
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