“People are Robbed:” State Duma Calls on Head Antimonopoly Watchdog to Tackle Appetites of Government Companies

“People are Robbed:” State Duma Calls on Head Antimonopoly Watchdog to Tackle Appetites of Government Companies

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Valery Gartung, a member of A Just Russia faction, noted that today, more than 70% of the Russian economy is under full control of the state. There is a similar situation in the fuel and energy sector. “The same government companies are imposing inflated tariffs on the residents. In fact, people are robbed,” he added.

The tariffs for energy supplies for Russian consumers have long become proverbial. Despite the global market trends, they remain at a high enough level in Russia for some reason. Representatives of the parliamentary opposition believe that the problem lies not in the problems of the country's economy, but in the fact that the large state companies imposing these tariffs have indulged in playing a giveaway game with their subsidiaries. They conduct purchases without any contests at overblown rates, which eventually result in inflated tariffs. According to the deputies, if the antimonopoly agency does not deal with this problem in the short term, the situation which they consider to be the robbery of people will not only continue to drag on but will get worse.

During the session on March 5, the deputies addressed Igor Artemyev, head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS,) with a proposal to turn attention to the state companies. Notably, Artemyev delivered a speech to the members of the lower house during the “government hour” at the State Duma. According to some deputies, the volume of purchases in the sphere of state companies is approaching the mark of 30 trln rubles ($399 bln) a year. Meanwhile, the government companies sign agreements with their subsidiaries without holding appropriate contests, which results in sky-rocketing tariffs for ordinary customers. This statement was made by Valery Gartung, a member of A Just Russia faction.

People are Robbed

“Leave the medium and small businesses alone. There’s nothing they can give you. They themselves will become extinct soon. Finally, give your attention to natural monopolies, state corporations and companies. They have the money that the country is losing,” said Gartung.

Gartung noted that today more than 70% of the Russian economy is under full control of the state. There is a similar situation in the fuel and energy sector. “The same government companies are imposing inflated tariffs on the consumers. In fact, people are robbed,” he added.

In this regard, Gartung urged FAS to take a closer look at the state corporations that control many markets. “In order to make life of the residents easier, the only thing will have to be done. That is, the state companies will be not allowed to make purchases in bypass of contests. According to the official data on activities under the July 18, 2011Federal Law “On purchases of goods, works, services as separate types of legal entities,” in line with which state companies and corporations, as well as natural monopolies do government procurement, the volume of purchases of this kind is about 30 trln rubles ($399,003,000,000) a year. Let us compare this with the revenue part of the federal budget, which amounts to 20 trln rubles ($266 bln.) Even if 10% of them go into kickback schemes, it is about 3 trln rubles ($39.9 bln) left. However, in fact, much more is siphoned there,” Gartung complained.

He is confident that in order to block this cash flow, it is only necessary to plug a “leak” in the law, through which purchases are made from reciprocally dependent legal entities.

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