Moscow. December 30. Three years ago, seemingly ordinary hardware discussion on authority and material support of the Federal service for financial markets suddenly turned into a completely different direction and ended with the creation of a Central Bank-based megaregulator. The experience of the officials much, but the next escalation we had to wait a long time. It’s not just that the revolution in regulation is always extremely sensitive to regulated. Every Department has its advocates in high offices, and the simple logic of “joining, because it’s better” doesn’t work here.
Be that as it may, the process of administrative transformation again, and now it is positioned as a systematic search for improvement. That is, to reduce everything ultimately to cosmetic measures will be at least uncomfortable.
Fares said “bite!”
The results of a partial “freeze” tariff in 2014, recognized by many as unsuccessful from the point of view of consumers and the authorities, suggested that a new round of rising prices of monopolies will spin faster.
Moreover, the main fighter with the appetites of the Russian Railways, Gazprom and other monopolies, the FAS head Igor Artemyev as if already surrendered and resigned to the fact that the functions of the tariff regulator, lost his office back in 2004, will not return.
The head of the FTS Sergey Novikov, on the contrary, in public felt quite confidently, as confidently held a regular national meeting in early April and did not hesitate to Express their own ideas or to support ideas they supervised companies, even if they disagreed with the vision of the involved agencies. In a billing office continued to wait until September, when, according to established in years of tradition, accepted macroeconomic forecast for the next year and three years, which will start clearance pricing decisions.
However, this season presented a surprise: in the middle of July the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made a proposal to the President to enable FTS in the composition of the FAS and the appointment of the head of Department Igor Artemyev.
The decision was made quickly – on July 21, the press service of the Kremlin reported that President Vladimir Putin signed a decree abolishing the Federal tariff service. Thus, “survive” until the next September the FTS failed and the “rule” rates in another crisis year, the country’s leadership has entrusted not only the veteran, but, as you now know, the “heavyweight” of the government artemevu.
The combination of “liquidation”
For the first time that there is the idea of merging the two agencies, whose functions partially overlap, it became known more than two years ago. Then, as if casually on the sidelines of one of the antitrust forums, the head of FAS told reporters that first Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov was instructed to work with the relevant item.
“There is a discussion in the government. This reflects the government’s position on the creation of consolidated regulators”, – said Artemyev, adding that his Department supports such a merger.
FTS, which is quite logical, such a prospect is not pleased, and a few months later she has achieved a breather: members of the working group of the expert Council under the government considers it inappropriate to create a Federal body of Executive power with the transfer of powers tariff and Antimonopoly agencies.
In the ensuing two years, the issue of a single regulator more actively was not raised: was the feeling that the head of the Federal tariff service managed to defend and the issue disappeared. However, in June of this year it became known about the letter of the Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev Dmitry Medvedev. The Agency appealed to the government to consider establishing a single regulator of natural monopolies, said a source in the financial-economic bloc of the government. While the Ministry has proposed a regulatory function in relation to infrastructure industries to jurisdiction of sectoral ministries and the relevant services – the FAS and the FTS.
In a public sphere officials was less straightforward. For example, the assistant to the President Andrey Belousov said that “a cautious approach” refers to the idea of Ministry. Yes, and the Minister later spoke out about the offer agencies a little differently: “Why should be created a new authority, existing is enough. Have in mind that the Ministry could play a more explicit role in this direction as a standard-setting organization. A FTS would be, but as normoblasta organization”.
However, the FTS days already were numbered.
The FAS plus FTS is equal to inflation minus
Until the termination of the existence of FTS were all talking about that restrained the growth of tariffs in the near future is unlikely. Inflation after the Ukrainian events, the subsequent sanctions, falling oil prices and the devaluation of the ruble once again regained the two-digit boundaries.
In April after the biggest annual meeting of regional regulators Sergei Novikov said that the final figure for the indexation of tariffs in 2016 is unlikely to be less than 7.5%. But at the same time added that the growth of tariffs for monopolies in 2016 may be different, although not “strongly double-digit”.
However, in a new configuration, double-digit indexing of prices to the monopolies failed to achieve any of the major sectors (however, it’s not only in the change of the controller: for a modest indexation were concerned about the recession and the Ministry of economic development, and fighting inflation, the Central Bank). Bet now not only proposed to index for inflation or more, but even organized the game “down”. Thus, the FAS until recently, it was proposed to raise gas tariffs in 2016 on a figure of around 5%. The Ministry of economic development, its head Alexei Ulyukayev at the beginning of December stated that his Department continues “to pursue a policy of so-called inflation minus”, and all insisted on 2%.
Igor artemevu remained nothing how to be given under this pressure. “We have made the appropriate calculations and saw that “to Gazprom” and it will be okay, agreed at 2%,” said he, answering the question.
The basis for its further work, the head of the FAS declared refusal of the law “On natural monopolies” and the adoption of new rules of work of such companies. Their doubts about the “naturalness” of their monopoly Artemyev systematically advocated for many years. Now, however, his words will certainly listen. No wonder that in the environment of business has already appeared rumors about the upcoming increase of the head of a new “mega-regulator” to the post of Deputy Prime Minister. However, he still denies receiving such invitations.
Customs gives good?
The question of unification of the several departments after the decisions on merging the FAS and the Federal tariff service has again become particularly relevant: “who’s next?”. As old as the idea of a merger of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of economic development to revive yet: the country’s leadership has used to make key decisions on the background dissonance of two key agencies.
In early October, at the forum in Sochi, Dmitry Medvedev made it clear: “First steps for the optimization we have done, there are a number of presidential and government instructions, there are a number of solutions, including unification of a number of bodies including the Federal Antimonopoly service and Federal tariff service. There are a number of suggestions for other mergers and alliances, but about them we will talk later.”
And who’s next? The most obvious, given the rapidly spreading rumors about the integration of information systems of customs and tax services, has been the merger of FTS and FCS.
About how will be this merger (or acquisition?), various high-ranking officials have been told without a lot of hunting, but their statements began to call less and less doubt that this issue will also be a matter of time.
In particular, the assistant to the President Andrey Belousov said that “it is necessary to accelerate the integration of information platforms and services to create a single”. And the first Deputy Minister of economic development Alexei Likhachev spoke about the idea as theoretically possible and not new from the point of view of international experience. Similar views were heard from the lips of other newsmakers.
A little more than a month after it became known about the first steps: the government confirmed the intention to consolidate the information system of the FCS and FTS. According to Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, it will significantly increase tax collection.
According to some media reports, to reform TCF now sufficiently not only political will, but also adopted decisions. So, according to sources RBC, it will take place in the framework of optimization control and oversight bodies, which is carried out on behalf of the Prime Minister from 28 July 2015. To reduce the structure of regulatory authorities on 13 July asked the government of President Vladimir Putin.
The publication writes that after the fiscal function (control over the flow of funds from customs activities in the Federal budget), which will take away the Federal tax service, Federal customs service will be deprived of all the basic functions of customs control in favor of the FSB. However, to write off from the accounts of customs would be a mistake. At least – do not forget that the biography of the head of the FCS strongly intertwined with the biography of the head of a state Corporation, whose biography, in turn, closely intertwined… in short, administrative reform in Russia is difficult to predict but very exciting process.