Dmitry Patrushev spoke about the achievements of the national agribusiness and expressed his opinion on Russian Agricultural Bank’s (RusAg) participation in St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014 (SPIEF).
— What’s your opinion on how SPIEF worked this year?
— SPIEF is one of grand forums for politicians, economists, businessmen, a place where serious decisions are taken, negotiations are held, agreements are signed. I think, it is a very significant event: as a rule, initiatives discussed here are later implemented.
RusAg is a regular participant of this event. We also act as a partner to SPIEF. We seriously work during the forum. For example, last year, we signed an agreement with the Kaluga region on implementation of agribusiness projects, we plan to cooperate in construction of an agribusiness cluster that will reduce the load on the logistics directions towards Moscow.
That’s why from the point of view of communication and cooperation with our potential clients, with our partners - this is a serious event.
Moreover, I’d like to emphasize that agribusiness currently, as President of Russia put it, is the driving force of the economy. Agribusiness demonstrated highest growth rate this year, with tangible contribution towards such result made by RusAg. During the implementation of the National Project and later under the State Programs on Agribusiness Development we have invested about RUB 2.5 trillion in this industry. The Bank supported a large number of investment projects, some of them were discussed at the forum, that’s why I think it is a very interesting event where people meet, take decisions and further implement these decisions.
— Another important issue that is actively discussed at SPIEF is the country’s internal potential. In your view, has Russia succeeded in achieving an optimal balance of foodstuffs import and import substitution through developing internal opportunities? And what does RusAg undertake towards this end?
— This is a very important issue, that is given serious consideration both at the forum and by our authorities. Key parameters of food security and, correspondingly, import substitution are set forth in the Food security doctrine, and its implementation has a strong impact on the overall security of the country.
RusAg, as I have mentioned, provides lending to one of the key sectors of the Russian economy - agribusiness. And in part of the indicators set by the Food security doctrine, we have already achieved the targets, but regarding a number of foodstuffs a potential for growth still remains. We, as a bank, will make a thorough analysis of those agricultural sub-sectors, where we still haven’t achieved the results, set forth by the underlying document, and we will direct funds for investment projects implementation exactly to these sub-sectors.
— Most enterprises in agribusiness are small and mid-sized businesses. What measures should be taken in the banking sector to stimulate their development?
— RusAg provides significant lending to such enterprises. Currently, our loan portfolio amounts to RUB 1.4 trillion, with RUB 600 billion provided to SMEs.
Of course, there are certain difficulties to overcome. SMEs always face a quite understandable problem – they cannot attract long term financing at an acceptable rate since they do not have highly liquid collateral that banks want to receive as a security against loans. Today, the Russian Government and CBR have taken a number of decisions that, in my view, could help: they will stimulate lending to SMEs. These measures include the law on securitization, setting up the guarantee fund with charter capital of about RUB 50 billion – these could become serious incentives to extend lending to this sector. It should be mentioned, the authorities recommended that large companies cooperate with SMEs, and this already yields results. And I hope that these measures will prove efficient going forward.
— Thank you!
Source: Russia 24 TV Channel