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Private Investment in the Social Sphere: New Support Mechanisms
4 September 2019
12:30—14:00
KEY CONCLUSIONS
The Far East needs sizeable investments in the social sphere

Despite the fact that the economy in the Far East is growing rapidly compared to Russia as a whole, despite the decline in population outflows over the past few years, people continue to leave. This means that the quality of life in the Far East is worse than in the country as a whole. The task set by the President to raise the standard of living in the Far East above the Russian average cannot be achieved by administrative methods alone — Grigory Smolyak, Head of Department, Ministry for Development of Far East of Russian Federation.

The state supports private investments in the Far East

For each private rouble in PPP projects in the Far East, there are 50 kopecks of direct budget subsidies, i.e. there is co-financing of the launch costs. This is much higher number than the average for Russia. Every second project in the Far East is a project with the so-called availability fee, with payments guaranteed by the budget. And there are many more of them than on average in Russia. <...> The project initially, had it been 100% commercial, would have never paid back even the investment costs, let alone the interest for the investor — Maksim Tkachenko, Executive Director, Public–Private Partnership Development Center (PPP Development Center).

Social development plans for economic growth points are the most important PPP mechanism in the Far East, which has no precedents in the country. It works in the following way: the investor spends money on the enterprise, while the state is developing the infrastructure for this enterprise, specifically for this growth point — Vladimir Solodov, Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

Private-public partnership is key to modernizing the social sphere

Today, in the social sphere, not a single bank is ready to finance. <...> the construction of nursing homes, because it takes a very long time. We cannot survive without PPP tools today — Alexey Mavrin, Chairman, Patronage Social Geriatric Center.

I would not oppose the implementation of national projects and PPPs in any way. For us in Yakutia, private investment is a mandatory and necessary tool for the implementation of the President's instructions — Vladimir Solodov, Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

There is no need to separate private investments and national projects, they should go together, and then we will see the result that we want to see — Andrey Kutepov, Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Economic Policy .

Business is motivated to take part in social projects

There is demand for social and infrastructure investments. First of all, it is observed in health care, preschool education, nursing homes. This is understandable. Government spending in these areas is not growing as fast as the demand for these services, and businesses are interested in participating in them — Dmitry Breytenbicher, Senior Vice President, Head of Premium Customer Relations, VTB Bank (PJSC).

We see that private money is starting to come into areas where business has not previously been involved — Andrey Kutepov, Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Economic Policy .

Franchising is a network thing: standards, an opportunity to replicate successful businesses, a chance for a reliabile financial model of these businesses. In general, private business supports no more than 5% of social projects, in franchising it is more than 20% of socially oriented business — Agnessa Osipova, President, Russian Franchising Association.

ISSUES
High risk of recouping investments in the social sphere

The main problems are the long payback period, the difficulty of forecasting the flow of clients and, consequently, the assessment of the social effect <...> [Other problems are, – Ed.] localization and small capitalization of projects. They are carried out at the regional level and, due to the heterogeneity of demand, such projects arise sporadically. They have different estimates, different payback and project documentation levels. <...> As a bank, we try to develop long tools to attract long money that we could use in such long infrastructure projects — Dmitry Breytenbicher, Senior Vice President, Head of Premium Customer Relations, VTB Bank (PJSC).

For a children's recreation camp to return the investment, it needs to be full year-round, have a capital grant and concession to cover the loan payments — Evgeny Shulyatiev, Founder, National Operator for Children’s Holidays .

Regional budgets lack funds to develop social sphere

Over 2.5 thousand schools need to be built in Russia. To do this, it is necessary to attract investments of about RUB 3 trillion. Russian regions, with few exceptions, cannot afford it. There is an even greater need for children's recreation camps now. I hope that in the coming months this topic will make its way to the state agenda and we will have a programme for the development of children's recreation — Aleksey Shapovalov, Vice President for Strategy Marketing, Prosveshcheniye Group of Companies.

Dated approach to designing social facilities

In our country, there is a problem of standard design of social facilities, and it does not provide the quality of infrastructure needed today. PPP allows to solve this problem — Nataliya Reznichenko, First Deputy General Director, First Concession Corporation (VIS Group).

There is a need to seriously change the existing norms of school design. Some of them are simply outdated, while most of them are not applicable to new educational spaces at all — Aleksey Shapovalov, Vice President for Strategy Marketing, Prosveshcheniye Group of Companies.

SOLUTIONS
Using a unified subsidy

Last year, on behalf of the President, Yuri Trutnev [Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District, – Ed.] created a new instrument called a unified subsidy. This implements the measures for the social development of economic growth centres. We have identified 58 such centres located in the areas where large investment projects are concentrated, either through our support measures or large regional projects. These centres have a budget of RUB 95.3 billion in 2018–2022. We will build 480 new social facilities, reconstruct 262 existing ones, and carry out a profound modernization of the secondary vocational education and healthcare facilities. Last year, we purchased RUB 1 billion worth of equipment for technical schools, as well as medical equipment. Far East has never seen such volume of construction of social facilities in the history of Russia — Grigory Smolyak, Head of Department, Ministry for Development of Far East of Russian Federation.

Making investing in the social sphere simpler

In general, we need to make the social services market more attractive for investment in general, and more accessible for private investment — Vladimir Solodov, Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

We should not lure investors in, we should create such conditions so that they queue up [to take part in PPP projects, – Ed.] — Andrey Kutepov, Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Economic Policy .

As an Investment Promotion and Export Support Agency, we are engaged in PPP transactions, concessions and look forward to working with each investor — Alexander Kondrashin, Director General, Agency for Investment Development of Sakha Republic (Yakutia).

To make social investments more attractive to investors, it is necessary to simplify the bureaucratic mechanism for attracting a government partner to an existing facility — Anna Shabarova, Vice President for Human Resources and Social Responsibility, Russian Copper Company; Member of the Board of Trustees, Russian Copper Company Charity Fund .

We need to involve local, smaller companies. Let them have subsidies and grants — Sunil Sachdeva, Co-founder, Medanta.

Perfecting and coordinating PPP mechanisms

If we are talking about a territory in the Far East, we can do this: a part of the grant comes from the Ministry of Development of the Far East, we can cover another part, another part is being co-financed by the bank. Then there is a 95% subsidy of the key rate from the Ministry of Labour, and such subsidies can still be accumulated. We have 0% VAT and 0% profit as a social entity. In other words, we see that the state gives us a lot of mechanisms, and then we can stay on a small tariff — Alexey Mavrin, Chairman, Patronage Social Geriatric Center.

The specialty of our company is finding enterprises in remote areas, including monocities. Monocities could become a wonderful platform for the experiment, because the funds are allocated for them under various state programmes, but maybe it is worth going through an investor, through prosperous businesses in single-industry towns — Anna Shabarova, Vice President for Human Resources and Social Responsibility, Russian Copper Company; Member of the Board of Trustees, Russian Copper Company Charity Fund .

Attracting foreign investment

The anchor point of the project [Nuclear Medicine Centre in Ulan-Ude, – Ed.] is the need to develop drugs that are used in diagnostics. The medication will be produced directly in Ulan-Ude. In addition, apart from the needs of Ulan-Ude the production will also provide the neighbouring region, Chita. With the help of small aircraft, it is possible to reach Blagoveshchensk. The project is gaining regional significance for Buryatia. <...> We planned to look for additional flows of patients, including those from Mongolia and China, and we are doing a lot of work in this regard — Alexander Khasin, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Centre for Development of Nuclear Medicine of Ulan-Ude.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS