Russia’s Finance Ministry has conceptional objections to the government’s plans to create a mega state corporation to develop Russia’s depressed eastern Siberia and the Far East, a ministry official said on Wednesday.
“We have serious conceptional objections concerning tax preferences for some territories. We believe this approach runs counter to the tax provisions (the Tax Code of Russia),” the ministry’s tax, customs and tariff policy department deputy director Sergei Razgulin said at a Russian tax summit.
The bill to create the state corporation, dubbed “Far Eastern Republic,” was finalized by the Economic Development Ministry and filed with other ministries for approval. The mega-corporation will be partially exempt from federal legislation and be subordinate only to the president.
The corporation is expected to cover 16 regions encompassing more than 60 percent of Russia’s territory and will have the power to distribute mining licenses bypassing state tenders, which are obligatory elsewhere in the country. This includes many prominent ore deposits, among them Sukhoi Log, the country’s biggest gold deposit.
Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Tuesday the project was detrimental to the country’s investment and business environment.
“These plans immediately cross out the target for Russia to jump to 20th place in international 'doing business' ratings from the current 120th position,” Kudrin said.
“The creation of such a market player capable of implementing any private project, considering the state's administrative resource and using special preferences, means that any other investor in this area must be aware that at any moment another player with special preferences, special administrative resources and special access to finances may come to the market.”