On 30 October 2007 amendments were made into the Statute on the Investment Fund of the Russian Federation, which is to be an active tool of federal investment policy. This fund was created with a part of oil and gas earnings that were previously on books of Stabilization Fund and means that became available due to early repayment of the external debt. The aim of the Fund is to support commercial investment projects that are of great importance for the development of the national economy. In fact, investment projects whose fulfillment is envisaged according to concession agreements in compliance with the Federal law “On concession agreements” are to be financed from the Investment fund.
Issues connected with the operation of the Investment fund are considered by:
Federal law “On concession agreements” from 21 July 2005 No 115-ФЗ;
Clause 179.2 of the Budget Code of the Russian Federation “Investment fund of the Russian Federation”;
“Statute on Investment fund of the Russian Federation”, adopted by the Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation from 23 November 2005 No 694 (further referred to as the Statute).
Clause179.2 of the Budget Code of the Russian Federation was added to the Budget Code only in 2007 in connection with Federal Law from 26 April 2007 No63-ФЗ coming into effect. However this clause is of reference character – neither the notions “project fulfilled on the basis of public-private partnership47”, nor the sources or formation or the forms of spending of the fund's means are specified in it. With respect to all these issues clause 179.2 contains the reference to the acts of the Government. Thus, the Statute mentioned above is for the time being the only document regulating this sphere.
The amendments made specify the term of “public-private partnership”, which is of no practical use and was probably added by the Statute’s authors to underline the fact that private sector as well as the government should bear responsibility for fulfillment of the investment projects financed at the expense of the Investment Fund of the Russian Federation. According to the new version of the Statute the means of Investment fund are allocated to fulfill investment projects of all-nation significance and carried out on condition of private-public partnership, in compliance with the Federal law “on Concession agreements” as well.
The changes also broadened the list of governmental support forms that can be provided at the expense of the Investment fund. From now on the means of the Investment fund can be directed to finance preparation and conducting of contests for the right to sign concession agreement (including preparation of contest documentation), preparation of sights for construction (including purchase of the land plot) and development of engineering documentation for investment project on construction (reconstruction) of the sights of federal property whose fulfillment is planned within the framework of the Federal law “On concession agreements”.
In such a way a unification of financing sources both for pre-project preparation and for investment projects by the government.
However the changes made are more of perfunctory character. There remain a lot of problems connected with Investment fund’s activity that require changes to be made to the Statute.
For instance, it is characteristic for the procedure of choice of investment project that are to be financed by the Investment fund that there is no relative importance of different criteria to estimate investment project quantitatively48. Meanwhile it is the established influence of each criterion that the conformity of the choice There is no definition for private-public partnership on Russian legislation and there is no uniform approach to this issue in international practice.
Investment projects that have passed the procedure of choice basing on quality criteria are subject to choice on the basis of quantitative criteria, based on the figures for financial, budget and economic efficiency.
The following are the indices of the efficiency:
Net present value of the investment project, defined as accumulated discounting effect of investment project fulfillment over the accounting period. Net present value characterizes the excess of the total cash incomings by all the investors, including private, over the total expenses taking discounting into account;
Internal profitability norm of the investment project.
The index of budget efficiency if the ratio of discounting tax earnings and (or) savings of federal budget expenditures due to fulfillment of the investment project to the total amount of the planned governmental support.
The index of economic efficiency is the amount of investment project contribution to the increase of the gross domestic product or gross regional product.
procedure with the announced aims of the fund will eventually depend on. According to the Conception of the Investment fund it is the commercial projects characterized by high positive externalities, which cannot be fulfilled without budget support due to long payback periods, high risks or low return level of the invested funds that should be financed at its expense. Such an approach seems to be well grounded since there is no need of budget support for fulfillment of highly profitable commercial projects. However, for two of three quantitative criteria envisaged by the Statute, namely for financial and budget efficiency, the more profitable the project is the higher the results of the estimations will be higher, though budget efficiency can be high for lower profitable projects as well49. If the projects for financing by the Fund are to be chosen by the highest figures for these two criteria the projects that can be successfully fulfilled without governmental support by private sector on its own will have the priority. Correspondingly, the projects that were supposed to have the biggest right for government support that is projects “with low return rates that cannot be fulfilled without governmental support” will have the lowest chance. The consideration of the issue on relationships of quantitative criteria for the choice of the projects to be supported at the expense of the Investment Fund was commissioned by the Government to the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade. The “Guidelines for calculation of indices and application of efficiency criteria of investment projects aspiring to receive governmental support at the expense of Investment fund of the Russian Federation” 50, which was approved by the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade in order to carry out the commission of the Government, does not contradict the aims of the Fund, but also does not secure the choice of the projects that meet them most.
These guidelines, as well as the Resolution of the Government No 694, do not establish relative importance for three criteria of quantitative estimations of the investment projects, which aspire to receive governmental support at the expense of the Investment Fund, namely financial, budgetary and economic efficiency. In general, the guidelines do not envisage ranging of the investment projects. It is possible for every project that meets minimal requirements for budgetary, financial and economic efficiency established by the guidelines to get the budgetary support.
Among the projects that meet these minimal requirements the choice is made arbitrarily, that is in accordance with the personal opinion of the people involved in estimation on the importance of each of the criteria. So, these guidelines allows for the projects characterized by the biggest economic effect as well as the projects characterized by the biggest financial effect to be chosen. It seems that the issues of such importance should be regulated more strictly and not be left for personal judgment of those making decisions.
For example, construction of a road can provide the increase in tax earnings from other tax-payers due to the growth of business activity.
См. Приказ Министерства экономического развития и торговли Российской Федерации от 23 мая 2006 г. № 139/82н.
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