The results of BEEPS survey also indicate that as a rule, Russian enterprises complaint about the quality of tax administration and tax rates much less than the companies in other countries with economies in transition.
their business development (balance of responses: -29.3 p.p.), than enterprises of mineral extraction sector (19.2 p.p.).
In the background of overall relatively negative assessment of changes in the judicial system (balance: 6.2 percent points), the deterioration in this area was often mentioned by the business leaders in manufacturing sector (balance: -7.8 percentage points) and small enterprises (balance: -20.5 p.p.). This is consistent with the results of the survey on corruption, performed earlier by the World Bank and European bank22, which also reflected a deterioration of the situation from business point of view within 2002 -2005.
Interesting results were obtained from assessment of business environment dependence on managers’ optimism (see Tables 6 and 7). As a standard of managers’ optimism degree, we used the answers to the question about expectations in their business production and revenue growth in the next 2-3 months. As a result of the above-mentioned IBRD and EBRD survey, a conclusion was made that the enterprises more frequently noted reduced corruption, when their attitude to the economic environment in general was more positive. Similar results were obtained in the IET survey. Pessimistic business leaders assess the dynamics in the in business development barriers as more negative, than optimistic businessmen. Expectations of business managers for production growth are of primary significance to their assessment of all other business environment components.
Thus, more optimistic managers, who are looking forward for production growth23, assess the dynamics in basic business factors, hindering the production (such as power supply and labor resources), less negatively than pessimistic leaders. The difference between relevant balances of responses exceeds 30 p.p. According to optimistic assessments, an access to financing is significantly improved (balance of responses: +29.7 p.p.), while in understanding of the pessimistic businesses, it is deteriorated (balance of responses: -36.5 p.p.).
There are fewer complaints about high tax rates among optimistic businessmen (the difference in the balance of responses is about 35 p.p.).
The above results can be interpreted as follows: disadvantages in business environment hamper the development of more successful businesses to a lesser extent. Apparently, the overall potential of economic growth can be higher than average survey ratings. Some of complaints, for example, high tax rates and a shortage of labor resources reflect the inefficiency of businesses, losing their market ratings in the situation of overall economic growth.
However, these results do not discredit the general opinion of businessmen on the significant deterioration in business environment. The fact, that the majority of business managers consider the situation uncomfortable, should not be ignored. Apparently, there are real barriers, hindering higher industrial growth.
Similar differences are observed in assessments of profit growth expectations24.
Basing on the obtained results, one can make the following comments on the current status and dynamics in business environment in the Russian economy.
institutional environment factors (administrative barriers) are not crucial for efficient busineses, large enterprises in particular. Those who managed to survive so far in the Russian market, have learned to overcome administrative barriers in one way or other. Regulatory barriers are rather noticeable and give daily headache to the top business managers, but nevertheless, there are ways to overcome those barriers (though effort- and budget-consuming), they are not the greatest constraints in industrial business growth for the time being.
However, the same administrative barriers happen to be extremely high for the new and small businesses.
This conclusion can be made, for example, by comparison the results of IET and BEEPS surveys25.. That is the reason for so few new businesses emerging in the market, as well as the low level of competition. From this point, it looks that the problems of administrative barriers are underestimated in the IET survey.
In general, the economic environment is less favorable to small businesses and to processing companies, which is consistent with the slow rates of diversification in the Russian economy.
EBRD-World Bank Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS). 2006.
180 businesses anticipate production growth, while 184 enterprises expect reduction thereof.
When comparing the IET and BEEPS survey results, one should take into account the differences between targeted business groups. The basic distinction of the BEEPS Survey is wider participation of small businesses (only 34 % of businesses have more than 50 employees), while the IET survey is focused on large enterprises (93 % of businesses have more than 100 employees). Moreover, all 673 targeted companies, participating in the IET December survey are industrial enterprises, while there are only 40 % industrial businesses among 599 companies, that took part in the BEEPS survey in 2005. Therefore, a higher level of dissatisfaction with the supervising system, identified by BEEPS appears to be based on a larger share of small businesses, to which those problems are more acute.
Nevertheless, in our view, the survey results provide grounds to make a conclusion that there are remarkable changes in the nature of the barriers, hindering industrial growth, at least for the medium and large enterprises, over the past 2-3 years. Currently the major constraints in growth are newly introduced restrictions, to which businesses are not prepared by earlier experience, i.e., restrictions in power consumption26, shortage of labor resources, transport infrastructure failures. In the above-mentioned BEEPS survey those factors were regarded as difficulties in less than 15 % of the cases and indeed, they were not a problem in 2002 and 2005. However, according to the results of the present Survey, the situation has changed by the end of 2007.
Companies face serious “physical” constraints to their growth, and in such cases it is very difficult to resolve the issues through habitual “negotiations with a civil officer”. They have to create favorable conditions for employees, invest in the energy sector, etc.
The dramatic dynamics in the importance of administrative regulations and overall economic developments confirm once again, that recovery phase of growth in the Russian economy is over. Businesses can no longer live on old reserves, such as available production capacities and skilled employees. Probably, it is a temporary situation. Quite quickly companies will get adapted to the new requirements and will complain again on the business environment and the level of administrative barriers, which are rather less explicit in the background of new challenges, than dismissed.
An easier access to external financing for businesses is the core development in economic environment over the last years. Surveys, performed in 2005, did not reflect such an expressed positive development in this area.
An interesting impression makes a comparison across the responses to the two groups of questions. At the level of economic policy there is practically no government interference in the activities of private companies and they do not face serious restraints in their development strategies, caused by government officials.
Direct involvement in economic activity is relatively insignificant. If government authorities do interfere, they do it usually for lobbying some policies and projects, implemented in public enterprises. But there is a lot of restrictions in the implementation of selected strategies. There is interference in business activities in terms of "how to do", rather than "what to do". This is an administrative barrier in the process of economic growth.
The constraints in business development, related to power supply and transport, highlighted by the respondents, also confirm the high relevance of the recent government decisions on drastic increase of public investments in infrastructure and expanded opportunities for private investments in this sector (privatepublic partnerships, etc.). These developments should be supported by measures on further liberalization of labor market, tighter budgetary constraints to inefficient businesses, support of labor immigration and mobility.
Responses to questions on government interference in decision-making process in business companies Break-down by types of responses, % of target group How often the government and local authorities interfere in decision-making process in your business on the fol- Affect any Often inter- Sometimes Never inter- Difficult to Share of relowing issues: decision fere interfere fere assess spondents, % 1. Investment projects for business development 2.2 3.0 19.0 63.6 10.3 98.2. Staff reduction 0.6 2.2 11.7 74.7 8.5 97.3. Wages 1.2 6.4 24.4 61.5 5.3 98.4. Pricing policy 1.8 2.4 13.2 75.0 6.2 98.5. Mergers and acquisitions 1.6 1.5 7.0 63.0 23.0 96. It is also important to mention that, as confirmed by other surveys, there are a lot of complaints on labor shortage from the least efficient companies, that can not provide adequate compensations.
Pricing policy Staff reduction Investment projects for business development Mergers and acquisitions Wages 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Never interfere Sometimes interfere Often interfere Affect any decision Difficult to assess Fig 1. Government authorities interference in decision -making process as per business management issues, % of responses Performance of law-enforcement authorities Labor Code Performance of other government authorities Unfair court decisions Customs regulations Access to financial resources and costs thereof Land lease or acquisition Transport infrastructure Tax audits Tax burden Non-competitive behavior of other companies Power supply and costs Labor resources availability 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Improvement Severe deterioration Deterioration No changes Explicit improvement Difficult to assess Fig. 2. Dynamics in various constraints in production / development in 2007 against 2000,% of responses Table 2.
Dynamics in constraints in business development, broken down by business environment factors Break-down by types of questions, % of target group Share of Dynamics in the economic factors of your business de- respondents, velopment to date as compared with 2000 % 1. Power supply and costs 0.6 11.4 23.0 39.1 10.3 3.9 88.2. Transport infrastructure 0.1 18.3 41.9 18.4 3.3 6.4 88.3. Land lease or acquisition 0.1 9.5 39.8 15.6 3.4 17.5 86.4. Access to financial resources and costs thereof 1.5 32.8 28.7 12.8 1.0 10.3 87.5. Labor resources availability 0.0 8.0 28.8 39.7 10.7 1.8 89.6. Tax burdenи 0.1 13.8 41.8 22.3 3.0 5.9 86.7. Tax audits 0.3 7.0 51.9 17.4 5.2 6.8 88.8. Unfair court decisions 0.1 4.8 34.2 8.9 2.2 36.6 86.9. Inefficient performance of law-enforcement authorities 0.1 3.4 37.4 8.0 2.4 35.4 86.10. Performance of other than tax, judicial and lawenforcement government authorities 0.1 5.3 38.9 9.7 1.2 30.8 86.11. Customs regulations 0.0 8.6 34.6 10.7 1.5 31.4 86.12. Labor Code 0.0 23.2 42.1 10.0 0.9 11.1 87.13. Non-competitive behavior of other companies in resource and sales market 0.1 4.3 32.5 20.8 4.8 24.4 86.Labor resources availability Power supply and costs Non-competitive behavior of other companies Tax audits Tax burden Land lease or acquisition Performance of law-enforcement authorities Unfair court decisions Performance of other government authorities Customs regulations Transport infrastructure Labor Code Access to financiall resources and costs thereof -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 Deterioration Improvement Note: negative values reflect larger share of responses on deterioration, positive values - on improvement.
Fig. 3. Dynamics in business environment developments over 2000-2007, p.p.
Responses, broken down by business form of ownership27,Improvement Deterioration or explicit or explicit Balance of responses (improveimprovement, deterioration, ment/deterioration) and variance % of target % of target value group group Dynamics in the barriers to your business development to date as compared with 1. Power supply and costs 20.5 13.0 56.4 56.1 -35.9 -43.0 0.95 0.2. Transport infrastructure 14.3 21.2 28.6 24.3 -14.3 -3.1 -3.84 0.3. Land lease or acquisition 2.3 12.0 27.9 21.7 -25.6 -9.7 -3.37 0.4. Access to financial resources and costs thereof 39.5 39.6 9.3 16.3 30.2 23.3 1.08 0.5. Labor resources availability 11.6 8.8 46.5 57.2 -34.9 -48.4 1.79 0.6. Tax burdenи 16.7 16.1 35.7 28.7 -19.0 -12.6 -1.27 0.7. Tax audits 7.0 8.3 34.9 24.9 -27.9 -16.5 -1.99 0.8. Unfair court decisions 2.3 5.9 7.0 13.4 -4.7 -7.4 0.71 0.9. Inefficient performance of lawenforcement authorities 7.1 3.9 11.9 12.0 -4.8 -8.1 0.83 0.10. Performance of other than tax, judicial and law-enforcement government authorities 9.5 6.2 9.5 12.9 0.0 -6.7 1.84 0.11. Customs regulations 9.3 9.8 4.7 14.8 4.7 -5.0 2.93 0.12. Labor Code 22.0 26.8 22.0 11.8 0.0 15.1 -2.87 0.13. Non-competitive behavior of other companies in resource and sales market 4.7 5.2 30.2 29.3 -25.6 -24.1 -0.23 0. Note: * – hereinafter z-statistics and p-value of the test on responses balance equity are provided on two types of businesses.
Responses were provided by 47 government companies and 622 private businesses.
p-value* z-statistics* Private business Private business Private business Public companies Public companies Public companies Table 4.
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