Kremlin opens door wider to foreign investment

The Kremlin has appointed a supervisor to improve the investment climate at home. The ombudsman will address investor grievances, and will have the authority to overrule government agency decisions seen as obstructing major investment projects.

Igor Shuvalov, the first deputy prime minister, is charged with the role of smoothing the path for large investment projects.

In his speech at the Russia 2010 Forum in early February, Mr Shuvalov proposed broadening the privatisation programme, liberalising migration policy, cutting down red tape for start-up businesses, fighting excessive bureaucracy, and modernising the judicial system.

The revised migration policy will seek to eliminate barriers to foreign travel within Russia and simplify the procedure for obtaining work permits for foreign specialists.

Other measures will include making the approval and permit procedure less painful for entrepreneurs at regional level, and untangling the bureaucratic hurdles that businessmen face in the process of company registration.

In spite of the perceived problems, cumulative foreign investment did not decline, but rose by 4.4pc over the three quarters of 2009, with the amount of reinvestment increasing by 12pc.

Foreign direct investment, however, plummeted by nearly 48pc – perhaps the main reason for establishing the special administrative function to take better care of investor relations.

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