Public administration must change, privatization should increase, and “Dutch diseases” to leave in the past because Russia’s economy, despite the decline in oil prices, remains dependent on hydrocarbon exports. Such ideas were expressed by a senior officials and experts who participated in the April conference, Higher school of Economics (HSE).
Russia is extremely dependent on oil prices — even after reducing the model of the national economy has not changed, was told at the first session of the conference on 11 April, the Chairman of the Board of the Center for strategic research (CSR) Alexei Kudrin. To argue with him, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, from the data of the balance of payments shows that the dependence is not so high (export of oil and oil products in 2016 reached $120 billion and 42.5% of the total merchandise exports of Russia, follows from the data of the Central Bank). But from the “Dutch diseases” we need to get rid of, came back the Minister to the question on the evening session.
“All the crises that we had, was not because of budget but because of the fact that we largely enjoyed a favorable environment, a good external conditions, in some periods, relax. And then, in the deteriorating conditions, suddenly realized that the policies were wrong,” — said Siluanov.
One of the most important issues — the quality of public administration, which hinders the development of the economy. The number of powers of state bodies has doubled in 13 years, this process does not stop, described Kudrin. It is a vicious circle: the state policy leads to inefficiency, where it again grabs new powers, which leads to braking performance. But the management of technology should change not only in the state, how many in the private sector, changed the focus of the Minister of economic development Maxim Oreshkin: “In many companies it is evident that there is potential to grow compared to the best foreign analogues. The state is using its economic policy should create conditions so that the best practices replicated and promoted economic growth.” The public sector must be “adequate, compact and mobile,” added Siluanov.
Competition programs or coexistence?
The head of audit chamber Tatyana Golikova stressed that the problems a lot of talk, but not objectives and not considering the mechanisms for achieving them. In past years, economic strategy has been a maximum of 40%, estimated Kudrin. We developed two policy documents from the Ministry of economic development and CSR, and it is not clear how they will interact among themselves, who will be given priority and discussed on our conference the head of RSPP Alexander Shokhin. “Maybe they perform different functions: one programme for government, the other is the basis of the election program of the presidential candidate. Name calling will not all guess who”, — said Shokhin. RSPP has suggested to the President to accelerate the adoption of a programme to increase predictability for business, he added.
Better or even better
From the target of the macroeconomic forecast of the CSR, which was presented by Kudrin that the Russian economy in 2020 will grow by 3.6% per year, will reach average growth rates, as requested by President Vladimir Putin. This will help increase the basic capital (1.1 to 1.2 percentage points to economic growth), additional use of labour resources (by 0.2–0.3 PP) and the so-called total factor productivity (0,7–1 percentage point). The latter notion takes into account not only such traditional factors as labour, capital and technological progress, but also the infrastructure and the quality of market and regulatory institutions.
Kudrin forecast more positive expectations of the Russian and foreign institutions, including the Ministry of economic development. The drivers of growth, according to the scenario CSR will be not consumption, which has performed this role since the beginning of the 2000s, and other factors. In the coming years will be investment — by 2020 they are expected to grow by 6% compared with 2016. And then place the main factor, according to the plans, Kudrin, is competitiveness and productivity.
It is important for society to have any confidence in the government’s programme. Now the level of trust is rather low (30% in the polls) in comparison with countries such as Germany (49%), Singapore (75%) and China (78%). Russians have no “feelings of the taxpayer” — the desire to ensure that their taxes are going, said later Kudrin. This problem can partly be associated with the “historical moments”, and partly because a large share of expenditures and improvements in the lives of citizens was carried out in the framework of oil and gas revenues, which have little to do with the citizen, admitted the speaker.
“The economy in 10-15 years will be built around a man — promised., opposed the upcoming stage of “economy cars” from the “last century”. “Often oppose social and economic policy, and then these faces will be deleted”, — mused the Minister, because quality of life is an essential element of the future economy, he said. Life will become more transparent, Russia will spend less cash, to avoid paying taxes will become more complicated, and people would be more honest, described Siluanov.
However, the government has already entered into the budget process 2018-2020 years, without any reform, says Golikova. While are only talking about the maneuver in the direction of education and medicine, but it is unclear by what means to implement it. The 2017-2019 budget years assumes no maneuvers, and time to move on to the design of mechanisms for achieving the objectives indicated Golikova.
“Russia is significantly lagging behind in technology development from other countries. We understand that the new markets created by the technology, but we do not catch up in this process, in this competition. We live on a big backlog of the Soviet Union,” Kudrin stated. Russia has a separate design and invention, but they do not correspond to the scale of challenges facing Russia, he said. In the next 10-15 years, the country or significantly fall behind and lose markets, or will have time again to become a technological power, said Kudrin.
In the coming years large revenues from privatization the government has no plans, said Kudrin, and the Cabinet would have to change those plans. Where to reduce the share of state officials not directly said. Over the past few years has made very great progress in the privatization of small and medium enterprises, said Oreshkin. According to the plan of about 1,000 joint-stock companies, state-owned, is expected to sell half.
State-owned enterprises can not sell a natural monopoly, it will hurt society, and we need to focus on competition, said the Minister. As for large companies, it is, according to him, is a question to Siluanov. The Minister of Finance it clearly outlined the position of the Department: “the more money the better. What could be the issues here?”