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Yakutia: results - 2014 - EastRussia | News The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)






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Yakutia: Results - 2014

A recipient on the way to donors and to sustainable development?

Yakutia: Results - 2014 continues the “Far East - 2014 Results of the Year” series of publications. During January, the portal publishes expert materials on the main achievements and shortcomings in the development of the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District. Next in line is the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

In 2014, positive trends in the economy as a whole remained in Yakutia. At the same time, one can not speak of rapid economic growth in the region. In the industry there was a slight increase, whereas in agriculture there was a rather stagnation. However, the existing plans and projects allow Yakutia to hope for further economic growth, and more active than last year.

The past year was full of events and was quite successful for Yakutia. Positive tendencies of social and economic development were noted in the republic, and the head of the region Yegor Borisov went through difficult for him direct elections.

Very positive for the image of the republic in the eyes of the federal center was the summing up of the 2013 year. According to the official assessment of the effectiveness of the regional executive power, conducted by the federal government, Yakutia took the second place after Sakhalin in this rating among the Far Eastern regions and 17 in Russia as a whole. Hit in the top twenty allowed Yakutia to receive a government grant for the achieved success. It is important to note that for all the federal authorities considered within the framework of this assessment, there has been an increase in indicators. The level of development of the economy (12 place in Russia) and the dynamics of the development of the social sphere (15 place) were best evaluated. The level of social sphere development was worse (52 place), which is quite typical for the Far East.

In one piggy bank

The positive trends are indicated primarily by the financial and budgetary situation in the region. Yakutia in the Far East has the largest budget, competing in this respect only with Sakhalin. True, there is a significant difference between Yakutia and Sakhalin, since Sakhalin is a donor of the federal budget, and Yakutia is a major recipient. In January-October, 2014 (this material uses available budget statistics for this period), for example, its own tax and non-tax revenues made up only 56,25% of revenues of the consolidated regional budget, and the rest came through intergovernmental transfers. Nevertheless, even in terms of its own budget revenues, Yakutia is ahead of all regions of the Far East, except for the clear leader in the person of Sakhalin.

A very positive fact is the high level of income tax revenues in the budget of Yakutia. The share of this tax in the country's own tax and non-tax revenues was 31,7%, it is higher only on Sakhalin. On the contrary, the share of income tax is lower and amounts to 26,9% (it is lower again on Sakhalin). These data suggest that there are strong profitable enterprises in the republic, mainly in the commodity sector, which provide large revenues to its budget.

Speaking about the republican budget, it is also important to note a significant share of the mineral extraction tax (12,1%). This is due to the decision taken in due time by the federal authorities on the enrollment of all mineral extraction tax on diamond mining in regional budgets. Yakutia is not a leader in terms of the percentage indicator in the Far East, but in terms of collection, it is certainly ahead of all regions (it gives about 60% of the fees going to the regional mineral extraction tax budgets in the Far East). In addition, Yakutia is leading in the Far East in terms of the share of revenues from the use of regional and municipal property (more than 6%) and payments when using natural resources (more than 2%). All this testifies to the availability of diverse sources and possibilities for replenishing the regional budget.

At the same time, a somewhat paradoxical situation is connected with the Yakut budget, when the republic, being far from being a poor and well-endowed with diverse natural resources, is at the same time leading in terms of the amount of federal transfers entering its budget. This is mainly due to the current amendments in the country to the northern conditions, thanks to which the republic can claim large amounts of subsidies. As a result, about a third of the revenues of the republican budget are provided through federal grants, mainly their main type - subsidies for equalizing the budget provision. There is a very convenient situation for Yakutia, when large own revenues and large federal transfers in total amount to more than a solid budget. But it should be noted that actively donating subsidies to the region, the center gives him not so many subsidies and subventions, which is especially noticeable when analyzing the structure of the regional budget revenues, where the three main components are profit tax, income tax and subsidies for equalizing the budget provision. For example, theoretically Yakutia could receive much more funds through the FTP. But this is unlikely to be beneficial to the center, which already pumps huge funds into Yakutia.

At the same time, the successful own development of Yakutia already allows the federal authorities to raise the question of reducing subsidies, which is what is happening. Last year, the volume of subsidies entering the regional budget fell by almost 4%, and federal transfers as a whole - by 2%. Even more noticeable was the decline in subsidies - by more than 5% (but subventions that go on to exercise the powers transferred by the center, on the contrary, increased by 11%). On the other hand, the region’s own revenues increased last year by more than 17%. According to this indicator, the budget dynamics of Yakutia again gave way to Sakhalin and was on the same level with Chukotka, ahead of the rest of the Far East. Particularly noticeable was the increase in income from income tax - by more than 40%, which once again shows the excellent dynamics of the manufacturing sector. The revenues from the mineral extraction tax, which is mainly paid by ALROSA (20%), also increased significantly. As a result, despite the reduction in federal transfers, regional budget revenues increased by more than 10%. For several months, this provided a noticeable surplus of the regional budget, and the debt burden on it was not so great (it was 37,7% at the end of 2013), although it could have been less with such income.

Housing - in priority

It is not surprising that Yakutia is the leader in the Far East in terms of budget expenditures. At the same time, the revenues allow the authorities of the republic to direct a significant part of the funds to conditionally “political” goals, all the more necessary during the election campaign. The large expenditures on the functioning of power bodies and on the media fully answer the traditional political ambitions of the republic. Yakutia is leading in the Far East in terms of funds spent on nationwide issues (although their share in budget expenditures is closer to the average in the district). It is striking that in Yakutia they spend a lot of money on the functioning of the region’s top official and municipal executives. On the contrary, which is also curious, the Yakut parliament is cheaper than the legislative assemblies, for example, Primorye and Sakhalin. In this case, the cost of maintaining the apparatus does not mean high wages of average officials. The excess of the salary level of employees of regional executive authorities over the average salary level in the region in Yakutia is only 17% and less than in all other regions of the Far East. Also, Yakutia is distinguished in the Far East by the largest in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the level of media spending. Although this is only 0,6% of budget expenditures, but clearly more than in other regions. The Republic, with its vast territory, seeks to keep under control the entire vast information field.

On the other hand, Yakutia spends not so much on the national economy (almost 12% of spending). If we talk about the individual articles of these costs, then, since there are few roads in the region, the costs for road maintenance are the smallest in the Far East (3,6%). At the same time, another tradition of Yakutia is state support for agriculture, which, however, can not yet be called effective. Agriculture accounts for more than 5% of budget expenditures, and Yakutia is ahead of the entire Far East in this indicator. It would be superfluous to recall that the current head of the republic Yegor Borisov was responsible in his time in the government for the agro-industrial complex, whose interests are close to him.

Very costly is the housing and communal services of the republic, for which 16,3% of budget expenditures go. Of the spending on the social sphere, education receives an especially large amount of money (32,1% of expenditure), and in this respect Yakutia is again ahead of other regions of the Far Eastern Federal District. Specificity of Yakutia, like other republics of Russia, can be considered a high level of spending on the cultural sphere (4%, which by Russian standards is quite a lot). However, on the contrary, the share of spending on health in Yakutia is the smallest in the region (only 9,2%). Below the average for the DFO is the share of spending on social policy (12,1%). Thus, in spending on the social sphere in Yakutia, their skews are noted, although it can not be said that some of its directions looks clearly deprived.

The prospects for the socio-economic development of the republic and the filling of its budget depend on the inflow of investments. The investment climate of Yakutia is estimated by rating agencies, for example, RA Expert, quite high. Last year, there was an increase in investment. In terms of per capita investment rates, Yakutia was second only to Sakhalin and Kamchatka with their small population. The development of the fuel and energy complex continues in the republic, which makes its raw materials sector more diversified and makes it possible to count on even larger revenues to the budget. Still, the oil and gas fuel and energy complex, according to the experience of other regions, is able to give the budget much more than the same diamond mining, production of precious metals or coal.

Gradually, Yakutia is turning from a “diamond” region into an oil and gas region, while having opportunities to increase the extraction of other mineral resources - the same diamonds, gold, iron ore, rare earth metals, coal, etc. But too many large projects have accumulated outside the oil and gas industry. which are implemented with a clear delay or idle. Suffice it to recall the extremely unstable situation around the Elga coal deposit, which is interconnected with financial problems and the unclear future of Mechel.

At the same time, Yakutia is still poorly developed by foreign companies, and investments come mainly from Russian business and from the budget. Back in 2013, there was a decline in foreign investment. The volumes of foreign direct investment in Yakutia are small and unstable. For the future, you can count on the further attraction of Canadian investments, despite the complicated relations of Russia with this state. The Canadian company Silver Bear Resources is gradually preparing to launch the Vertical silver deposit. Last year, against the backdrop of the intensification of Russian relations with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, Yakutia in this area had its own new opportunities. For example, a cooperation agreement between OJSC RAO Energy Systems of the East and Dongfang Electric China implies the development of solar energy in Yakutia. The Sakhatransneftegaz company, controlled by the republic’s government, has signed an agreement to expand the Yakutsk gas processing plant with the South Korean Hyundai. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to count on a sharp increase in foreign investment in Yakutia.

The social sphere in Yakutia looks ambiguous today too. Above, we noted that the republican budget spends relatively little on health care. From a formal point of view, this may be justified. For example, in terms of life expectancy, Yakutia leads the Far East. Infant mortality is lower only on Sakhalin. However, the level of salaries in health care in relation to the average salary in the region in 2013 in Yakutia was the lowest in the Far East. Both health care and education in Yakutia are well enough staffed, but salaries still need to be tightened (in the field of education in 2013, the wage gap from the average for the region in Yakutia was not so great as in some other regions of the Far East, but the lag itself was significant and even slightly larger than in health care). The relatively low provision of kindergartens attracts attention, where Yakutia, together with the Khabarovsk Territory, looks like an outsider in the DFO.

Thus, weaknesses in the social sphere of the republic remain. Increased attention to housing and communal services is clearly required, which, however, is realized by the authorities, judging by their spending policies. For example, Yakutia was characterized by the highest proportion of dilapidated and emergency housing in the Far East, and the elimination of this problem is an installation that comes from the very top. Exceeds half the share of unprofitable organizations in the housing and utilities sector. Under these conditions, the republic needs a carefully thought-out budget policy, given that it has the means to solve problems.

The result without privileges

Yakutia has always claimed special relations with the federal center, but now it can no longer be called a privileged region that achieves everything it wants. This was clearly demonstrated by the events of the past year. For example, if we talk about the election of the head of the republic, Yakutia turned out to be one of the few regions where an active critic of the authorities was admitted to the elections. As a rule, such scenarios are not allowed in Russia now. However, through the ONF, there have so far been no complaints about the expenditure policy of the Yakutia authorities, and the ONF “disturbed” completely different regions of the Far Eastern Federal District.

The promotion of the Yakut projects within the new Far Eastern policy of the federal center could not be called smooth either. It is noteworthy that the republic was not able to prepare and coordinate with the authorities in the center and with the interested business any one deliberately passing project of the territory of advanced development. Instead, a sort of "run-around" began. Initially, the projects "North World" (diamond cutting and tourism) and "Basalt - new technologies" (construction materials of a new generation) were considered, then the project "Zarechie" (production of liquefied natural gas, methanol and urea) came to the fore, although it was Actually not worked out. Plus, the agro-industrial TOP, which was close to the immediate interests of the republic's authorities, was declared earlier, but with little chance of success.

On the eve of the elections, the center made a “gift” of Yakutia, transferring to it 25,5% of the shares of Lensky United River Shipping Company, which allowed the republic to increase its stake to the controlling one. Although this did not change radically, since the shipping company, which is strategically important for the region, was actually controlled by the regional authorities before that. In the meantime, more difficult lobbying for the bridge over Lena has drastically dragged out. The emergence of some uncertainty around this project was the result of a federal government policy aimed at redefining priorities in the transport sector in the context of growing budget constraints and in connection with the annexation of Crimea. However, despite this, regional authorities continue to promote their infrastructure projects, involving interaction between rail, road and river transport. An important role is given to the village of Nizhny Bestyakh near Yakutsk, which is the end point of the railway and should turn into an important transportation hub and, possibly, an industrial center. At the federal level, the authorities of the republic are promoting a number of infrastructure projects for their inclusion in the Far Eastern Federal Targeted Program and co-financing from the federal budget (gas pipeline, power lines, road, etc.).

The situation around the most important economic entity, ALROSA, was rather complicated. During the year there was a change in the government curator ALROSA, which became Yu. Trutnev. The complex process of changing the president of the company itself began, which never managed to be completed: F.Andreev left, but the new permanent head has not yet been agreed. At the same time, the authorities of Yakutia tried, of course, to lobby profitable people for this position, however, it is too early to judge the results. Conflict was the question of the company's strategy. Yu. Trutnev insisted that she assume not only extraction, but also lapidary production. However, there has been no change in strategy. At the same time diamond mining for 9 months 2014 year in ALROSA fell by 5%. The profit of the company sharply decreased. The production at the oldest fields, which are part of Mirninsky and Udachninsky GOKI, has fallen sharply. ALROSA, in fact, needs to make new strategic decisions, and it needs to invest big funds in the development of underground mining, on which its future depends.

But the most troublesome economic player from among the large FIGs was, of course, Mechel, which turned out to be a burden of unsustainable debts to state banks. His fate was constantly discussed in the federal government, provoking heated debates, but the decision was not accepted. For Yakutia, this means maintaining uncertainty around one of the major investment projects - the Elginsky coal deposit. At the same time, if ALROSA's policy in Yakutia is still able to influence (although the federal authorities have long seized control of the main levers of control), in the case of Mechel, it is simply forced to wait for results and hope for the best.

Meanwhile, a new prospect of successful cooperation with the federal center arose in Yakutia due to the growing attention to the Arctic. Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the territories of the Arctic zone, where five ulus of Yakutia were assigned (although Yakutia itself refers to the Arctic 13 of its territories). This allows you to count on the participation of Yakutia in the federal programs for the development of the Arctic. The center also paid attention to the military-strategic component of its Arctic policy, recreating a permanent military base on the New Siberian Islands. For its part, last year in Yakutia was declared the year of the Arctic, implementation of the target program “Social and economic development of the Arctic and northern regions of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) for 2014-2016 years and for the period up to 2020 of the year” began, the State Committee for Arctic Affairs was established .

Large federal FIGs generally positively influenced the prospects for the socio-economic development of Yakutia. First of all, the positive trends were asked by the leaders of the Russian state fuel and energy complex, whose influence on Yakutia is growing steadily. Gazprom continued to develop the Chayanda field and launched the construction of the Power of Siberia export gas pipeline. An agreement on the sale of gas was signed with the main buyer, the Chinese corporation CNPC. Rosneft has found a foreign partner for the development of the Srednebotuobinsky field, which, contrary to assumptions, was not CNPC, but British Petroleum, which became the owner of 20% of Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha. In addition, a project to build a new power plant, Yakutskaya TPP-2, is being implemented, which RusHydro is engaged in.

The alliance of two politically influential structures - Rostec State Corporation and the private ICT group is becoming a new player in the mining industry. From 2015, they begin drilling at the famous Tomtorskoe rare-earth metal deposit, which is scheduled to be mined in the 2020 year. There are real chances that this long time being an orphan project will be realized. Rostec’s structures also proposed the above-mentioned project of the ZORECHE TOR, also demonstrating its growing interest in the republic.

Of the private FIGs, close to the leadership of the country, the group of G.Timchenko, represented by Coal Company Coal, is stepping up its influence in Yakutia. It is not surprising that her Inaglinsky project turned out to be one of the priority investment projects of the Far East, supported by the Ministry of Regional Development. In fact, in this way it was positioned as the most important raw material project of the region receiving federal support. Although it can not be called breakthrough, of course, it is not so great.

Of the other private financial-industrial groups, the Evraz group is established in the region. But its project of iron ore Taiga GOK is still not realistic. During the year, the company tried hard to secure state support. The question of closing the transaction on the purchase of shares from ALROSA, which remained co-owner of the project, was also difficult to solve. As a result, the Taiga GOK project may be among the priorities for the state, along with the “Colmar” project, but clarity has not yet come. Recall that this is part of the former mega-project for the development of South Yakutia, which did not take place at all due to the lack of funds from the state.

Into the future - with optimism

The political background in Yakutia could not be called completely stable because of the elections, which were accompanied by criticism of the head of the republic Yegor Borisov and signs of a split in the Yakut elite. From the 30 regions, where direct elections of regional leaders were held in 2014, the results of the Yakutia leader turned out to be the second from the end, although quite high (58,8%), and the second round was not needed. Nevertheless, the candidate of the "Civil Platform" Ernst Berezkin acted quite successfully, gaining a solid 29,5% of votes (the remaining candidates actually played up to Yegor Borisov, as did the potentially strong candidate of Fair Russia, Fedot Tumusov).

But on the whole, the political situation remained under control, and the victory in the elections now allows Yegor Borisov to increase his success, as he proved in a difficult struggle his status as a dominant player. During the year, many personnel changes were carried out in the republican government (but the head of government, loyal to Egor Borisov, remained in place). It is noteworthy that Yegor Borisov remains a supporter of political compromises and intra-elite agreements, not trying to build a rigid vertical in the region. Thus, in Yakutia, unlike most regions of the country, they retained direct elections of heads at the city and district levels, including elections of the mayor of Yakutsk, which promise to be difficult (now the mayor is a former political rival of Yegor Borisov and another influential representative of the Yakut elite Aisen Nikolaev). Last year, district elections did not create any special problems for the head of the region, but at the same time, quite sharp conflicts arose in a number of areas (for example, in Nyurba and Neryungri). The alliance of Yegor Borisov with his predecessor Vyacheslav Shtyrov, who retained the status of senator from the republic, also survived (and the influence of Vyacheslav Shtyrov in the Federation Council fell as he lost the post of vice-speaker).

The financial and economic indicators achieved by Yakutia and the end of the nervous period in the political sphere related to the direct elections of the head of the region allow us to look to the future with optimism. New incentives in the development of the republic should create the fuel and energy complex. The economy of Yakutia remains predominantly raw, but it is no longer so dependent on the diamond industry, which makes it more stable, given that diamond mining is just losing momentum. At the same time, uncertainty may remain around a number of important raw materials and infrastructure projects, as well as the activities of ALROSA. The republic continues to need significant investments in the social sphere and housing and communal services, as well as in more active attraction of foreign investments. There are prerequisites for Yakutia, with all its wealth, to gradually withdraw from the number of main recipients of the federal budget and become financially more independent. At the same time, in our opinion, a strategically thought-out and reliable organization is needed both of the relations of Yakutia with the federal center and numerous FIGs and its budget policy.