OREANDA-NEWS.  Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Presidential Economic Council.

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon colleagues,

Two years ago at the Business Russia congress, we launched the National Business Initiative. We set the goal then of creating a comfortable environment for doing business in the regions and in the country in general.

We have already achieved visible results that are reflected in international ratings, as you know. It is not these ratings that are so important of course, but that it really is becoming easier and more convenient to do business.

To give you some concrete examples, we all remember the complaints and criticism about the complicated procedures and exorbitant costs of getting connected to the energy grids. This situation dragged on for years without any real change. The situation still cannot be called ideal, but coordinated efforts by businesspeople, experts, and the Energy Ministry have finally resolved a lot of the problems. Today, we will discuss the next steps needed to improve the situation in this area.

To take another example, broad use of modern information technology has made it possible to do away with superfluous administrative procedures and halve the cost of state services for cadastre registration and state registration of real estate property rights. We are now among the top 20 countries in the world for ease of doing business when it comes to property registration. 

We have also made a lot of headway in improving customs administration. One of the measures taken under the National Business Initiative was to introduce preliminary notification when going through customs procedures, and also electronic payment of customs fees.

I stress though that we need to continue moving forward if we want business to really feel the benefits of faster and cheaper customs procedures. We will discuss this in detail too today.