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St. Petersburg Outstrips Moscow in Doing Business Rankings

In St. Petersburg, registering your company is easier than in Moscow. This conclusion was reached by the World Bank in a study performed in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation. Their published report, "Doing Business – 2012," analyzes the business environment of 30 cities of Russia. In terms of the transparency and simplicity of registering a business, Petersburg took first place, ahead of the capital by 25 points. Experts argue that such a breakthrough is largely due to the introduction of a “single window” mechanism for entrepreneurs.


“In 2009, in a similar rating, Petersburg finished last,” President of the St. Petersburg Union of Entrepreneurs Roman Shepherds told Russian newspaper Izvestia. “But for three years, an incredible thing has happened: we managed to reduce the period of registration of individual entrepreneurs from months to weeks. In many ways, this was achieved by the opening of a specialized branch of the tax inspectorate. Instead of queuing at the district tax service branch, now, in a single center, one can apply for registration in 10-15 minutes.


According Pastukhova, there are about 300,000 private companies in St. Petersburg. Approximately 46% of those which are small businesses are engaged in trade; 20% - in the area of real estate; 9% - in transport and communications; 9% - in construction; 8% - in manufacturing.


The number of individual entrepreneurs is also growing every year thanks in part to the simplified taxation system. To improve the financial and tax literacy of these entrepreneurs, a Public Council was established in May under the management of the Federal Tax Service (FTS) in St. Petersburg. There are nine members of the council including representatives of the city’s largest organizations, such as SUE Metropolitan, the Mikhailovsky Theatre, the Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Economics and Finance. According to members of the Board, such close interaction between entrepreneurs with tax authorities can simplify many bureaucratic procedures.


“Despite the current place in the rankings, I think that is too early to become conceited. This is sort of an advance to us,” said Vladimir Katenev, the President of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, concerning the World Bank report. “Ease of business registration is not the most important indicator for business. I would put productivity or profitability in first place. But eliminating inefficient procedures for individual entrepreneurs to work is still necessary.”


On the ease of obtaining a building permit, according to the World Bank report, St. Petersburg occupies ninth place (Moscow - 30th place). The sufficiently high final ranking for St. Petersburg comes from its low cost of the permits an entrepreneur should get, as well as the relatively small number of procedures (18 vs. 47 in Moscow) to receive these permits.




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