Russia Forum Buzz – Increasing Quality of Public Governance: Experience and Perspectives

February 3, 2011

 

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin spoke very openly and frankly. He admitted several problems that Moscow is facing. The absence of a general plan for the city’s development seems to be the most pressing one. The city does not have weighted infrastructural plans and will reduce borrowing. The mayor is going to build partnerships with business. He noted three levels at which the city government comes into contact with business. First is the formation of city orders (more than R10 bln annually). The city is going to fully switch to a scheme of electronic auctions, which should minimize corruption. The second level is investment contracts. The city has contracts for building 40 mln m2, which is considerable, as only 5 mln m2 is built in the city annually. The government will have to take on the difficult task of solving which contracts should be prolonged and which should be cancelled. The third level is new construction, which is the largest problem. As there are no plans for city development, it is very hard to initiate projects.

Sobyanin noted that the Moscow government’s priorities are changing. Transport and social infrastructure will be the key directions of development.

The mayor believes that the invisible hand of the market is already deciding what Moscow will look like in the future. He mentioned that new housing is more active in Moscow Region than in the city itself. Industrial activity is also moving to the regions from the capital. Moscow’s aim is to help this process continue.

The topic of improving the quality of government employees was also discussed. Sobyanin does not believe that the government will be able to pay salaries comparable to business, but talented people will be motivated to go into state service if they see the potential to capitalize on their experience in the future in the private sector. He also proposes increasing the use of electronic services to reduce corruption at lower levels. Sobyanin avoided the question about creating a financial center in Moscow. In his view, Moscow should first be a comfortable place to live, and the government will focus on developing social infrastructure.

Tatar President Rustam Minnikhanov talked about Tatarstan’s policy. The expansion of electronic state services seems to be very important for the government. The government is the people who work for this. That is why education of the staff is also a priority. Minnikhanov admitted to problems in its relations with investors: they simply do not know anything about the republic. Improvement in this sphere will also be a priority.