Vladimir Mau speaks at Moscow Financial Forum
On September 12, RANEPA Rector Vladimir Mau took part in the Moscow Financial Forum, speaking at the session on National Projects and Regions: Set Tasks and Ways to Solve Them.
The participants discussed issues related to the implementation of the National Projects, which kicked off in 2019, as well as the need to revise and finalize the mechanisms for their implementation and the possible replication of successful practices.
Chairman of the State Duma Budget and Tax Committee Andrei Makarov moderated the discussion. He said the government plans to allocate 25.7 trillion rubles for the implementation of the National Projects, so it is essential to ensure that the money is spent effectively. According to him, the National Projects are about the quality of people’s lives, and not about numbers.
The heads of Russian regions who participated in the session cited the biggest problems that arise while implementing the National Projects. In particular, the mechanism for setting the targets needs to be adjusted, because at this stage, many of them have been drafted and adopted without the participation of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. Furthermore, it would be a good idea to review the level of federal co-financing of the National Projects implementation: many of the projects included had been launched earlier, and therefore are being financed under a different plan. The regional heads specifically spoke about the Electronic Budget system, noting that despite its convenience, some federal authorities still require paper reports, while state regulators do not have access to this system at all, which also increases the paperwork.
Vladimir Mau noted that the problems identified by the governors coincide with the assessments made by the Presidential Academy experts: the regions were not involved in work out the targets, and co-financing of most projects is dwindling. “The situation is also complicated by the fact that measurements of the effectiveness of governors' work overlap with the National Project targets, creating a very tangled structure. It would also be a good idea to coordinate the activities and statements on the Regulatory Guillotine,” he added.
First Deputy Minister of Finance Leonid Gornin said in his remarks that successful work on the implementation of the National Projects depends on how well communication is developed between the regional and federal authorities. He also pointed out the importance of expanding the horizons of budget planning, since one year is clearly too short for a planning period and needs to be increased to three years, and the regional governors have the right to know about the full amount of resources allocated for the National Projects. According to Gornin, a fair level of co-financing of national projects should reach 95%.
At the end of the session, Vladimir Mau noted that the existing targets need to be adjusted: the meeting participants agreed it is important to evaluate the result, not the process, yet about 40 indicators of the National Projects are process related. He also said that the agreements concluded as part of the work on the National Projects should be long-term. “And we should analyze not the fixed costs, but the total discounted costs for the entire period of operation. What we should discuss at the next forum is the real costs that arise when projects are successfully implemented,” the rector of the Presidential Academy concluded.