Forecasting the outlook for the development of the Russian model of corporate management and control implies that many factors should be taken into account, among them of particular importance are the following (apart from those dealing with the general economic and political orientation): the final coming into being of the stock market model; the inevitability of Russian companies’ entering the stock market in search of investment resources and the orientation towards the liquidity and multiple market stemming from it; the development in Russia of the system of financial institutions (intermediaries) adequate to meet Russian population’ requirements, which will ensure the effective transformation of savings into investments; the extent of the state influence on the activity of the leading corporations, which will continue in the foreseeable future; the character and intensity of changes in the relations between the state and the privatized enterprises; further shifts in the structure of property in terms of national economy (the actual dominance of the private sector over both the state and mixed sectors); development of forms and methods of behavior of the joint-stock companies and relations between them.
Using this as a basis it is possible to single out, taking into account the specifics of the transition period, the following constant features which should be specific for the Russian model of corporate management over the medium-term period: a sustainable maintenance of parity between inside and outside investors; combining by the management the functions of the shareholder and the manager, and the functions of an outside shareholder (through their own companies, funds etc.) and an inside shareholder (administration); among outside investors - the maintenance of parity between the banks, on the one hand, and the non-banking financial institutions and other legal entities, on the other hand; slow (mutually compensated) reduction in the participation of the employees in the authorized capital and the growth in the number of small outside investors. The forming of this model means, apart from other peculiarities, a sustained reproduction of conditions for conflict of interests and infringements of the shareholders’ rights. This implies that the issues of legal regulation of the procedures for joint-stock companies’ activity are becoming of paramount importance.
Foreign Investment Promotion In Tatarstan
Individual attempts are being made in various regions of Russia, within their terms of reference, to improve the climate for investment including foreign capital. For example, the Tatarstan Parliament approved the law “On the Status of the Approved Investment Project with a Foreign Investor’s Participation”.
Under the law, all investment projects fall into the following categories: large - over 1 million dollars, medium - 500-600 thousand dollars, and small - 100-500 thousand dollars. The projects exceeding 100 thousand dollars in value may enjoy some tax concessions. To get these concessions the applicants should submit to the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations of Tatarstan a request together with a business plan.
The projects are to be examined by the Interdepartmental Investment Policy Commission of the Republic. The project is approved if the Government finds it to be viable. Further, depending on the payback period, the revenues, which go to the central budget, after the project with foreign participation has been implemented are partly exempt, for the first five years, from profit and VAT taxes, while oil-processing companies do not pay excise duties as well. The local authorities are entitled to reduce a property tax. For the following five year the exemption may amount to as much as 50%.
The legal basis which is thus being established for foreign investments to the Republic compares favorably with that of Russia, first and foremost, by the concessions it grants and by its clearness. Besides, this scheme makes it possible to calculate the amount of the state guarantees for each individual project. As to the institutional basis, it is this constructive approach that provides for the establishment of the Republican Investment Promotion Center who finalizes the working out of the financial schemes of the projects, risk management and auditing. It is the center that carries out the substantiation for obtaining the state guarantees for the projects with foreign investments.
A decided advantage of the investment environment in Tatarstan is that the land there, unlike in other regions of Russia may be given into property to foreign investors.
The fuel and energy enterprises of the Republic are among the most promising projects for foreign investors. Apart from these, one of the largest is the project to manufacture jeep cars at the Elaz Auto Factory jointly with the General Motors. The American counterpart plans to invest 500 million dollars (50% of the project).
Last year the Republic was second after the Moscow Region by volume of foreign investment. It attracted 160.60 million dollars (or 5.8% of the total), according to the State Statistics Committee of the R.F. The figures of the Committee are predominantly based on the foreign founders’ investment into the authorized capital of the PII and reinvested profit. In 1995 the foreign investment into the Republic’s economy are estimated at around 400 million dollars. The new legislative initiatives are most likely to contribute to the growth in foreign investments, including also medium-size and small projects.
March-April of 1996 saw a growing concern of the authorities for some social problems. The President made the payment of wage and pension arrears priority number one. As to the arrears of the federal and local budgets, the required sums were transferred at the beginning of April. Yet, in the off-budget sector of the national economy the payment of back wages remained an acute problem, and the basic solution here depends on the rate of the structural reforms in the economy, and the reduction of the number of loss-making companies.
It is not feasible to prevent a recurrence of new arrears in the budget sector under the circumstances when low tax collection provide only 40% of the revenues. If the budget continues to cover 100% of wage payment, then its distortions, as compared with the planned expenditure, will result in a disaster. Supported by the centralized funds, investment financing, subsidies to the agricultural sector, the coal industry, and a number of other major budget projects have already been threatened.
It is, therefore, most likely that by the end of the first six months the delays in wage payments to the budget sector employees will again become a steady source of tension in economic, social and political life of the country. Pension settlement poses the same problems.
There are, at least, three groups of causes that account for the critical state of affairs in this area.
The first group is mostly of a demographic nature, and it results from a very heavy burden on the workforce when for one thousand of people there are 350 pensioners, which is two times higher than the similar indicator in most developed countries.
The setting up of a pension system on the distributive basis makes it extremely important that a very high level of tariff contributions to the Pension Fund should be maintained, which, in turn, encourages their non-payment.
The second group of causes is the changes in the employment pattern of the population.
In recent years there has been a steady trend of diminishing the number of the workforce, especially, employed by the public sector, the portion of the population who contributes to the Pension Fund. In this way, the number of employed in the national economy went down from 75.8 million people in 1991 to 73.0 million in 1995. The workforce share in the non-public sector accounts for 62% of the total figure. And it is this sector that is most tax evasive.
The third group of causes is of financial and economic character. The share of wages and salaries to be taxed for pension financing in the total income of the population fell from 69.9% in 1992 to 40% - in 1995. There has been a steady rise in tax evasion. The wages ‘to be paid’ do not always correspond to the actual amounts which the people get.
Unless the pension system is radically changed, it is evident that its ‘crises’ can not be resolved.
Industry Business Conditions
According to some companies’ estimates, there has been a slow-down in the demand reduction for the second consecutive month. In April the balance (growth-fall) went up by 11 percentage points. The growth in the balance of the demand reduction was recorded in all industries except the oil and chemical sector (-44%, after -36% - in March). The most intensive fall in demand is maintained in the wood-working (-70%). The April changes in the demand for the production of both the state and privatized enterprises were similar (-40%).
Given the weakening of the demand constraints, there is a growing dissatisfaction with the volumes of sales. On the whole, the share of the responses ”below the standard norm” in industry reached 95%(and is the all time low for all surveys).
The improvements in the demand dynamics are followed by those of the output. The growth in the balance of the change in the output went up by 26 points in two months. The largest increase of this parameter in April was recorded in the wood-working (30 points), the light industry (21 points), and in the machine-building (19 points). The balances of the change in the output for the public sector and among the privatized enterprises are the same ( -17%).
The estimates of the production volumes increased in April by as much as 9 percentage points. The best results were reported by the wood-working (-62%) and the food industry (-67%). The highest level of dissatisfaction remained in the light industry (-98%).
The growth in the April selling prices was slightly higher (the balance grew by 4 points). The absolute reduction (the negative balance) was recorded in the wood-working industry for the third consecutive month. The most moderate price growth was in the light industry (+11%) and the food industry (+15%). In other industries the balances of the price changes are within the range of +20...+29%. The public sector enterprises estimated their price changes by the balance of +29%, the privatized companies - by +20%.
The balance of change in the volumes of stocks of finished products has remained positive since January 1996 - the stock volumes are growing. The fastest growth is recorded in the construction industry (+22%) and the wood-working - (+20%). The reduction in the stock volumes was reported by only the light and food industries(-12%).
The April estimates of the stocks of finished products dropped by 6 points owing to the surplus growth in the machine-building (+18% after +5%) and the food industry (+5% after -5%). In other industries the balances did not increase. The worst stock estimates remained in the construction industry (+51%) and the wood-working - (+53%). The balances for stock estimates for the state enterprises were +7% and for the privatized companies - +30%.
Despite the weakening of the demand constraints and optimistic forecasts of the change in the demand the estimates of production capacities worsened sharply. The share of the responses more than adequate increased to a record level (60%). The fall in this indicator was recorded only in the construction industry (36 after 40%) and the food industry (29 after 52%). 50% of the state-owned enterprises and 62% of the privatized companies reported overcapacity.
In view of the expected demand 35% of the companies reported workforce redundancy.
The highest values of this indicator were recorded by the oil and chemical industry (64%) and the wood-working - (45%), the lowest values - by the construction - (17%) and the food industry - (22%). The values of the state and privatized enterprises differ by 3 percentage points.
The forecasts of the changes in the output from February 1996 have a positive value. The negative balance (the predominance of expectations of the reduction in production) remains only in the light industry (-20%). Most optimistic forecasts were reported by the construction and food industries (+47%). Expectations by the state enterprises are +4% and by the privatized companies - +7%.
Inflation expectations went down by further 11 percentage points in April. A slow-down in the price rise was forecast for all industries, except the food industry where the balance of expectations grew from 39% to 54% in a month. The most moderate price rise may be recorded in the wood-working (+4%) and the light industry (+15%). The forecasts for the state enterprises and the privatized companies do not differ (+32%).
The forecasts of the change in the demand worsened by 7 percentage points in April., but retained a positive value on the whole. The balances of expectations remain negative in the light industry (-13%) and the wood-working - (-1%). The strongest worsening of the forecasts took place in the machine-building (-1% after +12% in March and +14% in February)
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