Across Russia, there are now investment agencies that are intended to be a one-stop-shop for investors coming to Russian regions. In February 2019, Igor Devyatko was appointed Head of the Pskov Region’s Investment Development Agency. An expert with vast experience of working with investors in different regions, Igor Devyatko earlier held various posts in the Agency for Strategic Initiatives and the Committee on Investment and Strategic Projects of the St. Petersburg Government. Since 2017, he headed the Agency for Strategic Developments in the Arkhangelsk Region.
Invest Foresight interviewed Igor Devyatko about his work with investors and measures that could make the Pskov Region more attractive for businesses. The interview took place during a presentation of the region’s investment potential at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
– Mr Devyatko, what are the main instruments at the agency’s disposal for working with investors?
– Of course, it is the information that we have on all the opportunities and concessions available in the region. It is the instruments of support that we provide for investors. It is a status of a large-scale investment project that provides the opportunity of receiving concessions on income tax, property tax, opportunity to obtain land through targeted programs. It is our database of local partners’ contacts so that it would be easier to enter local markets. Our time-tested reliable partners from the Pskov Region are ready to get involved in new projects. Of course, there are also our friends and colleagues in the Moglino special economic zone to whom we supply verified investors.
Certainly, it is not our only platform because we are interested in all the commercial platforms and technoparks in the Pskov Region and offer them to investors. We offer them the land that is at the disposal of the regional and municipal officials but we also offer them private land. This is a complex task: we act as a one-stop-shop for the investors and businesses coming to the region. Among other, we deal with such matters as staffing and legal formalities.
– Usually, the concessions provided to investors in a region are described in a major regional law. Are you content with the regional legislation? Do you plan to change it?
– This is a very timely question. Right now, we are considering changes to the investment law in order to simplify it and make it easier for investors to obtain concessions and undergo formal procedures. We will soon introduce amendments that will make it easier for them to enter the region.
– Everybody knows about the Moglino free economic zone in the Pskov Region. Will there be an increase in the number of similar large platforms with a special status?
– Of course, we are not going to stop at this. As I said, we are not only considering the platforms owned by the regional government but private platforms as well. Moglino itself is not done yet and they plan to open new platforms there. There will be Moglino-2 in Dedovichi (where the Pskovskaya Power Plant is located). It could be an interesting opportunity for cooperation with energy-generating companies. We are currently working on the approaches in this direction.
– Does the Pskov Region plan to take any special effort for developing tourism? Is your agency involved in this?
– Yes, we were largely involved in creating the first tourist cluster by attracting private investors. Of course, the project received federal funding but we were attracting private investors. We plan to do the same for the second tourist cluster. But it is just a formal aspect for us. We are more interested in tourism as a business and an opportunity for investors to earn money. I’m talking mostly about developing the hospitality industry with hotels and public catering facilities. There are plenty of opportunities in this area.
– Does federal funding play a great role in all these projects? Currently, what are the primary programs and main sources of federal funding in the region?
– Of course, federal funding is very important to any region. Therefore, we must and try to build most efficient cooperation with our colleagues from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Culture across all areas. However, involvement of the federal government is not always important to investors. They are more interested in the end result, whether they can cut costs and increase profit. The source of funding is not that significant although, of course, we offer our investors the entire range of possible concessions and support measures, including the federal support fund of the Small and Medium-Sized Business Corporation and the federal Foundation for Industry Development. We offer them all the instruments available at the federal level. And we always face the same problem. Not all businesses are willing to use those instruments because it means more attention from government authorities, tougher quality control and more transparency. But these issues occur in any region.
By Konstantin Frumkin