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28 Mar, 2008 11:37

Medvedev hunts for small business boost

President-elect Dmitry Medvedev has stressed the importance of a strong small business sector to underpin Russia's emerging middle class. At his first State Council meeting in Tobolsk, West Siberia, Medvedev backed a range of measures to help small enterp

While the number of small businesses in Russia is on the rise, their share of GDP is below 20%, that’s around a third in some Western countries.

A lack of finance, bribes and administrative barriers, especially endless checks and inspections of small businesses initiated by the government bodies, are the most common complaints.

“One of the most radical proposals is to stop analyst checks of small and medium-sized enterprises and let administrative bodies check the enterprise only on the special permission of the government or from the court,” mentioned Dmitry Medvedev, Russian President-elect.

The Medvedev`s proposals sounded so bold that some members of business community found it almost unrealistic.

“If this country would really start to play according to the rules and if there will really be a protection of honest private enterprises, not by words, but in reality, then that would already make life easier for many small and medium-sized enterprises,” insisted Aage V. Nielsen from the council of National Representatives of AEB, Moscow.

Among other measures suggested by the state council are tax breaks for start-ups, rental subsidies and changes to legislation to make registration and licensing cheaper and faster.