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Kamchatka: results of the year 2014 - EastRussia |

Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

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Kamchatka Krai: results of the year

Exit from the shadow

Kamchatka Krai: results of the year

Kamchatka rarely makes headlines in economic and political news. In some, it is consistently associated with volcanoes and geysers, in others with endless problems of very expensive energy and utilities, but one could never say that this region is in the center of constant and priority attention. Last year, this state of affairs began to change.

Pros of remoteness

In 2014, regional authorities began to demonstrate unprecedented activity in the promotion of their investment projects. For their part, the federal authorities showed an enviable benevolence and provided Kamchatka with great support. Of course, this situation is largely explained by the preparation for the gubernatorial elections, which can be held ahead of schedule, as early as 2015 (or on time - in 2016). But it's not only the elections, because regional projects have long-term prospects, and the center, of course, will not stop them after the elections. Meanwhile, for Kamchatka, for the first time in many years, there have been optimistic prospects.

So far, of course, the region is more likely to count and hope than to implement any projects. During 2014, Kamchatka did not show rapid economic growth. In industry, in January-August 2014, there was a slight decline. Agriculture rather repeated past performance. Evaluations of the effectiveness of regional authorities in 2013 for the year put Kamchatka on the 78 place in Russia. And the worst thing was the situation with the dynamics of economic development (much better - with the dynamics of social development). Thus, a breakthrough in socio-economic development has not yet happened. But in promoting the region at the federal level, the shifts have acquired a qualitative character.

At this stage, Kamchatka is highly dependent on the federal center and has a weak financial base. In terms of revenue, it looks good - in its second group of Far Eastern regions (if the first group includes clear leaders - Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories, Yakutia and Sakhalin). Its budget revenues exceed those in the Amur and Magadan regions, not to mention Chukotka and the Jewish Autonomous Region. At the same time, the budget is replenished mainly due to federal transfers: in terms of its subsidization, Kamchatka is now the Far Eastern leader. In January-October 2014, own revenues accounted for only 35,8% of all its budget revenues. Kamchatka looks like the clear leader of the FEFD in terms of the share of subsidies for leveling fiscal security in its budget: this share is as much as 57%. The shortage of own funds and the Finance Ministry’s calculations, which take into account the remoteness and extreme conditions of the region, allow Kamchatka to claim large funds from the federal center (recall that in the process of creating the Kamchatka Territory, the former Koryak Autonomous Region, which also received large transfers, was one of the most remote regions of the country, along with Chukotka). At the same time, the importance of other transfers, on the contrary, is small: subsidies are only 2,6%, subventions - 1,9%. In other words, the center helps the region solve its basic financial problem, but does not provide equally large funds for projects and delegated authority.

The own economy of Kamchatka is still too weak to provide the region with tax revenues. It is noteworthy that Kamchatka is an outsider of the DFO (only 11,4%, while the share of income tax is maximal - 56,65%) by the share of profit tax in the structure of own revenues. In the region, there are no large enterprises-taxpayers, but at the same time a small business is well developed. It is interesting that according to the share of taxes on total income Kamchatka outruns other regions of the Far Eastern Federal District (this share is 8,65%). Regarding the structure of its own revenues, Kamchatka resembles Primorsky Krai, but in a more hypertrophic form.

Salaries are rising

At the same time, trends in fiscal policy clearly indicate an improvement in the current situation. Thus, income from income tax showed an increase by as much as 45%, from tax on property of organizations - by 56,6%. As a result, own revenues increased by 12%. At the same time, the center does not deny transfers to Kamchatka, although in this case its possibilities are most likely close to exhaustion. Thus, the center increased subsidies for leveling fiscal security last year by almost 10%, but at the same time subsidies decreased by a third (subventions remained unchanged). As a result, the growth of regional budget revenues in January-October last year amounted to solid 8,4%.

Positive trends in the budgetary sphere allowed Kamchatka to form a fairly balanced budget. Over the past year, there was a surplus. The debt burden on the budget of Kamchatka remains relatively small (according to the results of 2013, it was at the level of 27,5%).

At the same time, in the expenditure side of the regional budget, a high proportion of expenditure on national issues is striking. Here, Kamchatka is also the leader of the Far Eastern Federal District (the share is 9,35%). Officials in Kamchatka receive high salaries, which are higher than the average for the region by 78%. According to this indicator, Kamchatka lags behind in the Far Eastern Federal District only from the Khabarovsk Territory. However, on the media, on the contrary, Kamchatka spends very little, and their share in spending is lower than in other regions of the Far Eastern Federal District (0,13%). The authorities of the Kamchatka Territory also spend a lot of money on the national economy (20,6%). Housing costs are 12,65%, which is higher than the average share in Russia, but below the average DFO.

A comparatively small share of social expenditures attracts attention. As a rule, it is slightly lower than in Russia and the Far Eastern Federal District: 24,7% goes to education, 12,4% goes to social policy, 11,65% goes to health care. Given the high index of budgetary expenditures, as a correction factor, it turns out that in terms of social expenditures, Kamchatka is ahead of only Chukotka in the DFO (if you calculate health expenditures per capita, expenditures on general education per student, and expenses on preschool education per preschool child) . However, Kamchatka perfectly fulfills the requirements for raising public sector wages. For example, already in 2013, the salary in health care was almost equal to the average for the region, and in this respect Kamchatka surpassed all other DFO regions. The level of wages in the field of education was also the highest in the DFO, although with a noticeable lag behind the average. The region is distinguished by a rather high level of security in the field of education by teachers and places in kindergartens (third positions in the DFO). As for health care, its availability of doctors and beds in hospitals is rather average.

In general, it can be said that the existing expenditure of the budget on the social sphere more or less corresponds to the needs. But, perhaps, more active intervention is needed in the housing and utilities sector, which is traditionally problematic in Kamchatka. For example, Kamchatka is characterized by the highest in the DFO's share of loss-making organizations of housing and communal services (more than 60%). In connection with the high cost of imported fuel, it is unrealistic to create efficient housing and communal services in the region. The share of dilapidated and emergency housing, however, according to the results of 2013, was not so great (5,4%).

Active policy

It should be borne in mind that Kamchatka stands out prominently in the DFO with its protest activity, concentrated mainly in the regional center. The reaction of the population and public organizations to problematic situations can be very acute. In the city protests were held against the rise in prices for gasoline, rising prices for goods and services of housing and communal services, for raising wages in the social sphere, etc. Periodically, resonant actions and statements were noted by the regional trade unions, the movement "The People for Kamchatka!". At the city level, the Union of Individual Entrepreneurs announced itself, criticizing the municipal authorities. Therefore, the authorities of Kamchatka need to keep the situation in the social sphere under control if they do not want to face a protest movement, even if not mass.

At the same time, regional authorities are pursuing a fairly active policy aimed at financing their priority facilities. In particular, the program of social and economic development of the Koryaksky district, the most remote territory of the region is being implemented (it is planned to spend 2014 billion rubles for it in 18-38). Infrastructure facilities are being constructed (for example, the construction of runways in Yelizovo and Palana, bridges in the Ust-Kamchatsky region), social institutions (regional hospital), great attention is paid to tourism and sports.

The obvious problem of Kamchatka is the lack of investment. Moreover, according to the data for the first half of the year 2014, investment in the region also fell by 15%. But one of the main achievements of last year was a sharp activation of the investment policy of the regional authorities. In the region, for the first time, the Far East-2014 investment forum, supported by the Ministry for the Development of the Far East, was held. The regional meeting adopted a bill granting tax incentives to mining companies when they implement new investment projects. The partners of the Corporation for Development of the Kamchatka Territory are looking for partners, which concluded a number of cooperation agreements.



Kamchatka region is not spoiled by foreign investments at all. Last year, attempts to attract them, too, have become more successful. For example, a pilot Russian-Japanese project for the construction of a wind power complex in the Ust-Kamchatsky district is being implemented in the region (regional authorities, the Russian company OAO RAO ES of the East, and the Japanese government organization NEDO participate in it). Contacts with India became more active: Governor V.Ilukhin held a meeting with the Consul General of this country, and Tata Power expressed interest in developing coal deposits. The issue of creating industrial parks in cooperation with the Turkish company Orteksan was discussed. Negotiations are underway with the French business on the development of ski tourism in Kamchatka. There are no major breakthrough projects yet, but at least there have been positive trends.

There will be a port city!

But, perhaps, the main breakthrough in Kamchatka is a cardinal improvement in relations with the federal authorities, which actually promises serious prospects for the region today. During the year, regional authorities regularly contacted their federal counterparts and hosted high-ranking guests. In October 2014, V.Ilyukhin met with V.Putin. The capital hosted the Days of Kamchatka in the Federation Council, an agreement was signed with the Moscow government. Directly in the region visited the Chairman of the Federation Council V.Matvienko, the Minister of Agriculture N.Fedorov and others. Of course, the regional authorities have repeatedly contacted Deputy Prime Minister Y. Trutnev and the leadership of the Ministry of Regional Development.

One of the visible results of cooperation between the region and the center was the hit of TOP "Kamchatka" in the number of the most priority. This project assumes first of all the development of the port infrastructure of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, it is closely linked with the plans of the federal authorities for the development of the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is intended to become the most important transport hub that closes the NSR from the east. During the discussion of the projects, the relationship between the government of the Kamchatka Territory and the Federal Agency of Sea and River Transport, as well as FSUE Rosmorport, was strengthened. Their agreements presuppose the modernization of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka sea commercial port, which until now had a local significance. The port is supposed to build a container terminal, reconstruct the berths, create an infrastructure for cruise shipping.

Along with this, Kamchatka authorities are promoting the tourist and recreation project Paratunka. Apparently, they will be able to finally agree with the federal authorities on the establishment of a training base for Russian athletes in Kamchatka in preparation for the winter 2018 Olympiad to be held in South Korea. In addition, Kamchatka began to be perceived as a strategically important region, solving the task of providing the country with fish products in the context of a sharp rise in prices for imports. In this regard, it is not yet possible to talk about any breakthrough, although there certainly is a growth point (for example, Sberbank provided a loan for the modernization of the salmon fish factory Vostochny Bereg LLC). In addition, against this background, there was a clash of interests of the crab miners with the Federal Agency for Fishery, refusing to increase the catch quotas (the captains of the ships, quite in the spirit of typical Kamchatka civil activity, even sent a letter to the head of state on this issue).

Gold is a priority

The big success of Kamchatka, along with the successful promotion of its TOP, was the selection of priority investment projects designed for state support. These projects are in the interests of both regional authorities and big business, which is also engaged in successful lobbying. It was Kamchatka that gave most of the projects, namely, three, to the list of successful pre-selection (and another project was on the list of those for which it was suggested to remove comments). The implementation of all these projects is designed to transform Kamchatka into a larger gold-mining region, and among the FIGs, the interests of Renova are particularly noticeable. It is the structures of "Renova" that realize the project of GOK "Ametistovy", which fell into the first group, and the Baranievskoye field, which appeared in the second group. Another project that deserved the support of the government was the Ozernovskoye gold ore deposit, which is operated by the Siberian Mining and Metallurgical Alliance (SIGMA). Moreover, Kamchatka was able to successfully lobby and its agro-industrial project, which is important for self-sufficiency in meat products. This is a pig development project, which Agrotech Holding CJSC is engaged in.

No other region of the DFO managed to get such a high level of support from the Minvostokrazvitiya at the first stage of selection of investment projects. If these projects are implemented, Kamchatka will be able to take the next step in the development of its mining industry, as well as improve the food situation (for a region that is isolated in transport, the issues of providing its own products are of particular importance).

As already mentioned, in the case of the implementation of investment projects in the region, the influence of such FIGs like Renova, which has been working here for a long time, but did not hurry with new projects, until they had government support, will continue to grow. An important player will be the Sigma company, for which the Ozernovskoye field is the main project, and which was re-registered last year in Kamchatka.

Meanwhile, the regional fuel and energy complex, which is one of the traditional problem points, remains dependent on large federal players. A simpler and more positive situation is the situation with Gazprom, which some time ago started gas production and provides the region with its own raw materials, which is fundamentally important for Kamchatka, which previously depended on expensive deliveries of coal and fuel oil. Last year the management of Gazprom Exploration discussed the issues of gas exploration with the governor V.Ilyukhin and concluded an agreement on cooperation with the head of Sobolevsky district V.Kurkin.

At the same time, the problem situation aggravated on the issue of providing fuel for Kamchatka. The transfer of Kamchatnefteprodukt to the hands of the Alliance group controlling the refinery in Khabarovsk was accompanied by a rise in fuel prices, which caused social protests and discontent of the regional authorities. V.Ilukhin conducted negotiations on this occasion with M. Bazhaev, in general, the regional authorities managed to find support in the federal center and, in particular, in the antimonopoly service. However, the emergence of this situation makes the authorities think about the diversification of fuel supplies. In this regard, they have become more actively in contact with Rosneft, which is another key producer of petroleum products in the Far Eastern Federal District. In particular, the cooperation of Kamchatka and Rosneft was discussed at the negotiations of V.Ilukhin with the vice-president of the company V.Ishayev. It is planned that Rosneft will create its own tank farm in the region, which, in particular, will be used to supply the Northern Sea Route.

Success in promoting regional projects allows the Kamchatka authorities to count on a quiet passage through direct gubernatorial elections. In the region there have not been major election campaigns for a long time, and the governor in the meantime was actively engaged in strengthening the power vertical and personnel reshuffles. One of the most important decisions was the appointment of the former Minister of Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Trade of the region E. Panchenko to the post of city manager of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. This allows V.Ilyukhin directly to influence the work of the city administration. In the meantime, direct elections to the municipal chapters were finally abolished in the region, but this was no big news, as the city manager model spread widely in Kamchatka much earlier. Directly in the gubernatorial team was replaced by a number of high-ranking officials.

Thus, 2014 year in Kamchatka marked the beginning of a new stage in the development of the region, which promises him considerable prospects. The region was able to enlist the support of the federal authorities, who see Kamchatka as one of the main growth points in the Far Eastern Federal District. The variety of projects, which we mentioned above, is impressive. They are not so lucrative to turn Kamchatka from a recipient into a donor to the federal budget. But in any case, the region has the opportunity to play the role of one of the development centers of the Russian Far East, and not its far periphery, and this can already be considered a breakthrough.