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Protection From Account Blocking and Fast Customs Clearance: How the Ministry of Economy is Going to Improve the Business Climate
September 4, 2019 17:14

The Ministry of Economic Development has supplemented a plan to transform the business climate in Russia. The authorities are going to protect the business from unjustified blocking of accounts, reduce the time spent on goods clearance  at customs by 30% and eliminate “dead souls” from the lists of shareholders of companies.

The "white list" of the plan of the Ministry of Economic Development for the transformation of the business climate has been supplemented with new activities, it follows from the materials of the department. 

The plan is developed by the agency on behalf of Russian President and is aimed at the precise removal of barriers to doing business in Russia. It provides key performance indicators (KPIs) to achieve the goal of moving up to rank 20 on the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking by 2024. Now Russia occupies 31st place among 190 countries.

Account Lockout Protection

One of the steps is  to protect entrepreneurs from blocking accounts. Now, under the “anti-laundering” law 115-FZ, banks are obliged to suspend suspicious transactions of clients and disconnect them from remote servicing until the termination of the contract. Sometimes banks abuse their powers by blocking funds on formal grounds, the Bank of Russia pointed out.

“Measures of a repressive nature” were experienced by at least 750,000 entrepreneurs, according to the materials of the Ministry of Economic Development. At the same time, banks charge fees for unlocking the account, and removing from the black list with the participation of the Central Bank can drag on for two months, which leads to significant costs up to ruining the business.

The head of the department, Maxim Oreshkin, explained to RBC that the new package of measures would complicate the procedure for blocking accounts for the bank. 

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Simplification of customs control

The department also plans to simplify customs administration procedures. The Ministry of Economy is going to accelerate the time for passing checkpoints due to selective rather than continuous control. As a result, the average residence time of goods at the places of registration should be reduced by 30%.

In addition, the group working on the implementation of the plan proposed to establish clear rules for determining the amount of financial security for goods not subject to customs duties, and oblige inspectors to justify the amount. Now the procedure for calculating the size of financial support is “absolutely not transparent,” RBC reports the words of the adviser to the president of Delovaya Rossiya Vitaly Survillo, who spoke at the meeting of the subcommission on ensuring sustainable development of the Russian economy. He noted that “on the same product, it [the size] can differ significantly even within the same region”, and the lack of clear instructions creates “wide opportunities for administrative pressure and corruption.”

Elimination of "Dead Souls"

The Ministry of Economic Development also decided to establish criteria for exclusion of a person from the list of shareholders - the reason could be the non-participation in meetings and non-receipt of dividends for a certain period of time, as well as the return of correspondence for various corporate events. The authorities want to allow not taking into account the shares of inactive shareholders when calculating the votes and put up their shares for sale.

The reason is that due to mass privatization, a large number of persons appeared among the owners of shares who do not have an economic interest in owning these assets, RBC points out. Moreover, their opinion should be taken into account when making decisions. With such shareholders it is impossible to contribute to the company, change the charter or transform the company into a limited liability company.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian economy Russian business Russian laws   

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