Moscow's image is changing
Svetlana Ganeyeva, Director of the Moscow City Investment Agency, describes in the GSC-Interview which plans and objectives they have set for the upcoming years, what foreign investors will find in Moscow and for what reasons Moscow is a good place to invest.
GSC: Why is the region Moscow a good place to invest?
Svetlana Ganeyeva: Moscow is widely recognized as one of the world's largest metropolises. With visitors and commuters coming to work from nearby cities and towns, its daytime population swells to 15-17 million each day. In terms of income, the city's residents are also much more well off than people in most Russian regions. Moscow budget, exceeding USD 50 bn, puts Moscow in the third place worldwide – trailing New York City and Shanghai. Moscow is also Europe's largest consumer market. That said, the Russian capital is clearly an extremely attractive place to invest into. I would like to emphasize that the federal authorities and the Moscow City Government have been doing their best to encourage foreign direct investment. Reduced or even zero customs import duties apply to many categories of foreign-manufactured equipment. A separate customs post for the clearance of innovative and R&D products was set up. Moscow authorities provide preferential conditions for businesses operating in Zelenograd special economic zone.
GSC: The survey "Diversifying Russia: harnessing regional diversity" by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development informs about the most important obstacles for investments in Moscow: corruption, access to finance and tax administration. Are there targeted measures or regulatory actions to overcome these barriers for the FDI?
Svetlana Ganeyeva: I am well aware that in their investment climate ratings various international organisations point to serious problems preventing Russia and Moscow in particular from enjoying steady inflow of foreign investment, including corruption, red tape and restricted access to funding. I agree on many points but want to specifically emphasize that major efforts have been made recently to improve the investment climate. In particular, over the last two years, the Moscow City Government and Moscow's Mayor Sergey Sobyanin have developed and implemented measures aimed at to reducing the costs of doing business in the city and simplifying administrative procedures, boosted by the city's commitment to information openness and transparency to invite more foreign direct investment.
The Moscow City Investment Agency, which I am head of, currently plays a key role in supporting investment projects. The quality of advice to assist the implementation of such projects up to the point of completion is of particular importance and the municipal agency's edge is in providing investors with direct access to all relevant authorities and in understanding the current and long-term priorities to ensure high quality project analysis which is imperative in selling the project to the Moscow City Government.
GSC: What are the upcoming potentials regarding the larger sport events especially for the construction industry?
Svetlana Ganeyeva: Everybody knows that Moscow is to host the 2018 World Cup. This is an amazing opportunity to encourage foreign direct investment, particularly in construction and development sectors, as the global football event requires major upgrades to the entire municipal infrastructure as well as new stadiums and stadium upgrades. Moscow is currently in urgent need of more hotels, particularly inexpensive ones. Road and transport infrastructure projects are also essential – so there is plenty of room for investment opportunities.
I would like to note that Moscow has started to shed its image as a city to make fast or easy money. We are keen to invite long-term, rather than speculative, projects to make Moscow a more comfortable place to live.
GSC: Svetlana Ganeyeva, thank you very much for this interesting and informative conversation.
Contact information: GaneyevaSV(at)mos.ru, www.mosinvest.mos.ru