President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Titov, let us begin with the State Council and the decisions that were made to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Not long ago you were the head of a popular organisation supporting small and medium business and asked me corresponding questions on this topic at the recent Direct Line. Besides, I know this is what you are doing in your new capacity. So, I would like to know your opinion regarding the implementation of our agreements and your proposals as to what could be done to ensure that all these things actually get implemented.
Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov: I have to say that the State Council meeting was very substantive, as was the number of proposals that gradually develop into a single system of changes pertaining to small business regulation. The proposals that were made and that have now been formulated as your instructions can become an important stage in the development of small businesses in this country.
I have to say that it is very important today to make sure these instructions are implemented as soon as possible in the form of specific laws and draft laws. In this connection, it would be great of course if the right mechanisms are used to coordinate the various positions and opinions – those of the authorities and of the business community – so that they can be formulated as draft laws.
One such issue that is our top concern pertains to ‘micro’ businesses – the self-employed. They represent the mass part of small business and also the part that is experiencing difficulties (though not very often) with open, legal operations due to existing administrative barriers (primarily registration).
Therefore, we would like to ask you, if possible, to set up a special inter-departmental working group to resolve the issue of self-employed individuals to ensure that they could register using the simplest scheme possible, merely by showing their passport, buying a patent and working without any additional requirements.
Vladimir Putin: That is how we agreed – to make sure a patent is enough.
Boris Titov: Nevertheless, different authorities have different opinions in this regard, like the Finance Ministry and the Pension Fund. So, if possible, we want to ask you to approve the creation of an interdepartmental working group.
Vladimir Putin: Ok.
Boris Titov: We could coordinate this group to ensure a speedy final solution to the matter.
(Further Mr Titov laid out specific proposals dealing with improvements to certain legislative acts and taxation of small businesses involved in production. He also spoke about the creation of a special institution in the form of a joint stock company to coordinate work with small businesses).
Vladimir Putin: I have another request for you from a different area – it is not directly linked to small business, but to business in general. As you may know, we are drafting a law on amnesty in business, capital amnesty, so I would like to ask you within your current authority to take an active part in supervising the implementation of the law once it comes into effect. If you see the law is not being properly executed, this would give us a chance to react in a timely fashion.
Boris Titov: Ok. We are actively involved in drafting the law; it is now undergoing a broad public discussion. We believe the draft that has been submitted to the State Duma will work.
At the same time, the issue of guarantees to entrepreneurs is very important to make sure that declaring their assets – something they would have to do under the law – does not entail any negative consequences or problems for them. Here we need to work with each entrepreneur, so that if they do have any problems they would know whom to turn to.
Vladimir Putin: So that they know the place to go.
Boris Titov: We will take care of this.
Vladimir Putin: Fine.