Russia's Ministry of Economic Development and Trade intends to abolish licensing particular entrepreneurial pursuits. It is at odds over the affair with five other ministries. Close on thirty disputable points remain to settle for now, deputy minister Andrei Sharonov said to a news briefing.
Last Thursday's Cabinet session saw heated debates on the matter. It finished with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov ordering the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and the Ministry of Industry and Energy together to streamline a respective bill, the deadline to come in a month.
"We shall argue with every involved ministry on every involved activity-and we'll try to get our point," Mr. Sharonov resolutely remarked. The bill will never reappear at Cabinet sessions but will reach the State Duma, parliament's lower house, as soon as it is coordinated with all interested ministries, he added. He hopes the Duma will pass the bill in all three readings at once during its autumn session.
The ministry demands obligatory licensing abolished for 53 activities. 123 are liable to it presently. The Industry and Energy Ministry is the hardest to argue with-the dispute concerns twenty pursuits. The Ministries of Agriculture, of Health and Social Development, of Transport and Communications, and of Culture and Mass Communications are also dead set, each in its own field, against licensing abolished.
Construction and assembly works are among the worst stumbling blocks. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade demands its licensing abolished because another six presently available tools of government regulation are quite enough for that sphere-suffice it to mention project evaluation, inspections by authors and urban planning experts, and government acceptance of finished projects.
The ministry also calls to abolish licensing of petroleum and gas drilling, piping and procession. At present, companies have to obtain three licenses each-for drilling, storage and procession; mainline exploitation; and the use of inflammable and explosive substances.
"Many licenses make the same demands, and it harasses enterprise to meet them all. We must ease off that burden-or remove it altogether," said Andrei Sharonov.
The Health Ministry is dead set against pharmacy and medical equipment manufacturing licenses abolished. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, on the contrary, insists on that as there are other tools to monitor and regulate those activities-registration, certifying and sanitary inspections. It is offering the same arguments to abolish licensing the storage of grain and derived foodstuffs, and pedigree stock-breeding. Here, it is clashing with the Agriculture Ministry.
The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade sees licensing as a formidable obstacle for corporate access to the market. Equal competition demands those obstacles gone in activities that do not imply health hazards, and do not threaten national security.