Saratov Region, the next investment heaven!

Thanks to the regional government's efforts, both domestic and foreign investors have been eyeing the Saratov Region with great interest. With attracting investment seen as a priority, the region is going all out to create a favourable investment environment.

Over the past few years, the government has formed an investment asset base, which includes all property/assets in the region and has taken an inventory of all mineral resources. Work carried out by the Saratov Region Investment Policy Ministry has resulted in a number of laws being passed granting investors tax benefits and preferences. Potential investment opportunities have been analysed and the most attractive locations identified, including Saratov, Engels, Balakovo, Volsk and Marx. All of these cities are perfectly placed to attract investors - with the required asset portfolios, raw materials, sites and infrastructure.

Saratov is one of the biggest rail junctions in Russia, which connects the Central Russia with the Ural, Siberia and Central Asia. A new international rail line Saratov-Berlin has been functioning since 1993. The region is also crossed by nine federal motorways, what is another bib logistic advantage of the region. Being located on the Volga River - a major waterway for large vessels, the region plays the role of a gateway to the Mediterranean, Baltic and Barents seas.

The governor is convinced that the right approach economically is to manage entire territories - not just separate industries or private companies. That is why a cluster system has been selected as a strategic innovative component of the region's investment policy. The construction industry was the first cluster to be established. This has been developing quite successfully. The region has excellent mineral resource potential, including large chalk deposits and all the necessary ingredients for the manufacture of cement.

The cluster's anchor points are municipalities with existing construction industry assets and companies using local raw materials to produce a full line of building products, from mortars to plastic pipes for the public utilities sector. Existing operations (for example, cement plants in Volsk) are being refurbished and upgraded. Greenfield projects relying on new technology are also under way. A million-ton scrap processing plant in Balakovo, currently at the design stage, will manufacture equipment for the construction industry.

Many building materials manufacturers are also engaged in industrial and residential construction. Projects involve the use of advanced, high-quality building and finishing materials. Dozens of industrial and public properties are being built today, mainly by local contractors.

Saratov has traditionally been an agricultural region - so an agriculture cluster is also being developed. Thanks to external and internal investment, new farms are being built according to modern standards, prime livestock are being purchased and fodder resources improved. The Saratov Region has a fairly high agricultural output but is experiencing a shortage of processing facilities.

The region has industrial sites with utilities infrastructure and power/heat generating facilities, as well as being rich in mineral resources like oil & gas, and offers the benefits of low-cost residential, industrial and commercial property construction.

In addition, the region boasts excellent professional education and research capabilities, with 14 higher education institutions, 21 research institutes and 19 design institutes.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.