At the federal level, the institution of investment ombudsmen has been functioning for one year as part of the Economic Development Ministry. Their main objective, apart from addressing specific problems of individual companies, is to minimise potential future problems for all investors by improving legislation.
The ombudsmen’s responsibilities include assisting investors in the implementation of private investment projects, including through cooperation with authorities at federal, regional and local levels.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues,
Four months ago, in my speech in Magnitogorsk I outlined ten priority measures that should improve the investment climate in our country. One such measure is setting up the office of investment ombudsmen.
I believe that at the federal level a similar mechanism of cooperation with investors has proven effective. Businesses can come to investment ombudsmen to complain, and the federal authorities’ involvement in resolving certain interagency conflicts or any other problems facing investors has been justified.
Today I have signed an executive order conferring the status of investment ombudsmen on Deputy Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoys to Federal Districts and one aide [to the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Central Federal District], as we had agreed.
The state now seeks to improve the investment climate, and the Government and other agencies have done a great deal already. Federal legislation has been improved, administrative barriers minimised (though I must admit that as we get rid of some, new ones seem to appear but we have to continue fighting), project documentation approval period has been shortened and the procedure for getting connected to infrastructure has been simplified.
However, there are still many barriers to doing business. Therefore, we must continue our efforts and experience has shown that two-thirds of these barriers are, surprisingly, not in Moscow but in the regions. This is your domain and your main job.
”The state now seeks to improve the investment climate. Federal legislation has been improved, administrative barriers minimised, project documentation approval period has been shortened and the procedure for getting connected to infrastructure has been simplified.“
Colleagues, you must ensure investors’ questions and problems are addressed promptly, and to identify and eliminate the causes of these problems. This is particularly important when it comes to systemic barriers – not just some one-off problems but systemic obstacles that were originally created by regional or federal legislation.
You must make relevant changes to avoid similar problems later. When it comes to federal regulations, you can submit your suggestions directly to the Government to ensure that we take the necessary decisions.
There must be no delays in this work and you have the powers you need. If necessary, you should go directly to the heads of regions, the governors, mayors and the regional offices of the federal government. Of course, this must be done under current legislation, and I hope all of you understand it as experienced and competent professionals.
This is a very important job and I will monitor it personally. If we do not change the investment climate and fail to create the optimal conditions for private business initiatives, we cannot move forward, and therefore will not be able to tackle major social challenges, including improving the people’s standard of living.
”If we do not change the investment climate and fail to create the optimal conditions for private business initiatives, we cannot move forward, and therefore will not be able to tackle major social challenges.“
I expect to receive reports on the organisation of your work by October 1. You will submit quarterly reports to the Presidential Executive Office and the Economic Development Ministry on the complaints received from investors, your efforts to make practices more systematic and proposals to amend laws and regional and local regulations, as well as federal regulations where necessary.
Another issue I would like to mention here: these powers are important and serious, but you must avoid excessive red tape in your work and not attempt to substitute the existing mechanisms. I do not want you to become alternative prosecutors in investment cases, but if you receive complaints, you must look into them and find solutions.
Needless to say, you shouldn’t force your services on anyone. If the investor does not want your involvement, don’t badger him with your offers of help, because situations like that also happen sometimes.
Let's get to work.