The guest of our column today is Igor ANTROPENKO, the head of Omsk regional branch of All Russia Public Organization ‘Delovaya Rossiya’ (Business Russia), the deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Omsk region
Omsky Biocluster: Good afternoon, Mr. ANTROPENKO!
Igor ANTROPENKO: Good afternoon!
In May 2018 you were appointed Chairman of Omsk regional branch of All-Russia Public Organization ‘Business Russia’. What challenges are members of Omsk branch facing?
The main objective is to promote the development of friendly environment for business in Omsk region. Business is extremely sensitive to details: within the same bureaucratic procedures business issues can be solved positively and in short terms in one region, but it can be quite the opposite in the other ones. Although the law is same, its implementation is different.
Having numerous legislative regulations in the regions, business faces difficulties in applying them. Some of the regulations do not actually work.
How can business defend its interests, adopt the ‘right’ laws and amend them?
My colleagues and I see several ways. One of them is preventive. We should make usual the procedure where draft laws affecting business activities in some way or another undergo a kind of expert examination in business community. The development of legal instruments should be carried out with the direct involvement of business representatives.
Under such conditions, we will manage to legislate long-term comprehensible business rules, including the ones in the field of state and municipal preferences. Productive investment projects are always considered to be ‘long investments’. Investors, banks must be sure of successful implementation of the project financial model. The mess in lawmaking creates serious risks for potential investors.
How feasible is it to change legislation, especially federal one within the current legal framework?
You are right, most administrative and legal barriers are caused by federal legislation. Making amendments in federal legislation is the second way to develop friendly business environment. Judging from my deputy experience I would say that it is very difficult to make changes in the federal legislation being in Omsk, it is almost impossible. However, we can’t just sit back waiting for someone to come and make everything fine.
The advantage of ‘Business Russia’ is in the fact that it is a federal structure. They defer to opinion of ‘Business Russia’, its members are involved as experts in the preliminary examination or federal draft laws and government resolutions, regulating business processes in our economy.
The General Council of ’Business Russia’ keeps in constant touch with the regions. For example, in April 2017 Co-chairman and President of ‘Business Russia’ Alexey Repik and his colleagues visited Omsk region within the framework business navigation project. The businessmen met the regional authorities, discussed the problems of regional business with local entrepreneurs, and got current information on specific business sectors. I think that is a civilized way of interaction between businessmen, executive authorities and federal experts.
Mr. ANTROPENKO, and how did you come to ‘Business Russia’?
I took part in the April meeting. I was invited by Mikhail SUTYAGINSKY, a member of the General Council of ‘Business Russia’, the head of the Committee on Chemical Industry, Biotechnology and New Materials. He said "Igor, you should come, you can meet a lot of interesting people, you’ll be able to communicate with them." Of course, I knew about ‘Business Russia’ from the federal media, but I did not pay much attention to it, as in Omsk its action is not really visible. I thought I'd come by for an hour or two, have a look and then continue to go about my business. But ...
Frankly speaking, I really liked the conversation which was meaningful and dealing with the problems concerning all of us, all Omsk entrepreneurs. I thought that we needed to develop the cooperation, to continue the dialogue.
That means that you became involved?
Exactly! We began to get to know each other, to identify our business problems and the issues that prevent us from implementation of new investment projects. Our colleagues from different regions shared their experience in eliminating barriers standing in the way of business development and developing comfortable investment climate in collaboration with local authorities. They told me: "Igor, speak about your problems briefly and to the point and submit your proposals. We are preparing a business report for the President of the Russian Federation on the issues preventing business development." I got really interested.
Which one of your meetings with businessmen was the most remarkable?
My meeting with Alexey REPIK, President of ‘Business Russia’. He is not only a successful businessman, but also a leader on the national level, who is interested not only in development of his own business, but first of all in the prospects of developing the country’s economy. I had an opportunity of having a long talk with him. We talked a lot about business, about our country’s economy. Mr. REPIK shared his confidence that Russia should lead the way in the field of technology. I share his view that we need to develop science-based production and reduce Russian economy dependence on oil. It is the development of breakthrough technologies that guarantees prosperity and independence of Russia from any sanctions. Everything depends on us, which means that we must convey our position to the authorities and adjust the legal environment in the interests of business and the country.
What are the nearest plans of Omsk branch of ‘Business Russia’?
At the moment members of the regional branch form committees according to their competences and interests. We want to propose to the state authorities and local self-governments a mechanism of preliminary independent expert examination of draft legal acts in a business-related field in order to find out how they affect the business matters. Laws and programs existing only on paper are harmful. They give only the appearance of state regulation: the law seems to exist, but nobody abides by it. This reduces respect for the law and encourages businesses to operate outside the scope of the legal framework. But that’s the way to nowhere.
How do you see the interaction between the regional office and Omsky Biocluster?
Agriculture is a traditional specialty of Omsk region. I believe that the plant, livestock, food and processing industry production in the region have a serious export potential. The way of extensive development is almost exhausted. We can develop only by increasing the efficiency of business, reducing costs, improving the quality and raising the volume of sales, expanding the range and geographical spread of sales markets. The future of agribusiness is based on high-tech investment projects. For example, Omsk region has a serious potential for the development of deep processing of crop products. We must facilitate the development of conditions for implementation of such projects in the region. After all, it will bring additional tax revenues to the budget in future. I would note that in Siberia, a worn-out infrastructure and long distances for laying new communications are serious obstacles to the implementation of new investment projects. That’s the problem, the solution of which we must found together.
How is it possible to contact you?
You can find Omsk region page in the Regions section on the website of ‘Business Russia’ www.deloros.ru. Our regional branch is in the process of reorganization, but I think in Q3 the page of Omsk region - https://deloros.ru/omskaya-oblast.html - will be updated. In the meantime, you can contact me by my email email@example.com.
Mr. ANTROPENKO, thank you for the interview! I want to wish you and the regional branch of ‘Business Russia’ success, and good laws for business in Omsk region!
Omsky Biocluster Press Secretary Ravshana Balloyeva