The participants of the round table meeting held yesterday in the Federation Council discussed exactly which transport infrastructure projects should receive funds from the National Welfare Fund. We are talking about applicants for 2.5 trillion rubles. for 2022-2024, reserved in the NWF for new projects until the recent “closure” of the possibility of using its liquid part. According to the calculations of the Ministry of Transport, only three large transport projects – the extension of the M-12 highway to Yekaterinburg, a new section of the Moscow-St. Petersburg autobahn and the construction of a high-speed highway along the same route – will require a total of about 800 billion rubles.

From 2.5 trillion rubles. of the NWF funds reserved for the next three years for infrastructure projects, while the authorities definitely spoke of only 900 billion rubles, which are planned to be allocated to Gazprom for a large processing complex in Ust-Luga.

List of projects to be financed from the remaining RUB 1.6 trillion. fund money is still undetermined.

Recall that the NWF will not have any other money to invest in the economy until at least 2025. In November, at the suggestion of the Ministry of Finance, a law was adopted to increase the volume of liquid funds of the NWF from 7% to 10% of GDP, in excess of which they can be invested in various assets. This was done on time – just on December 1, the liquid part of the NWF (only funds in accounts with the Central Bank) grew to 8.492 trillion rubles, or to 7.4% of the forecasted GDP in 2021.

It was decided to save these savings in case of future shocks, including due to the risks of energy transition. However, supporters of large state investments from the NWF (primarily the Ministry of Economy and industry departments) can take credit for the future allocation of 2.5 trillion for infrastructure – as you know, at the beginning of the discussion about the fate of savings, the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank insisted on a fixed limit on spending from the NWF for three years in 1 trillion rubles, indicating that spending in excess of this amount will already be unsafe for macro indicators.

At yesterday’s meeting, the Acting Director of the Department of Financial and Banking Activities and Investment Development of the Ministry of Economy, Alexander Kirevnin, announced changes to the government decree on the procedure for assessing the feasibility of financing investment projects. In particular, the period for consideration of the project was reduced from 120 to 90 days – due to the parallel consideration of the strategic justification and the comprehensive assessment of projects, which is carried out jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy.

Director of the Finance Department of the Ministry of Transport Daria Kiseleva said how much money from the NWF is needed for the implementation of three large transport projects Extension of the M-12 highway to Yekaterinburg will cost 266 billion rubles – while almost entirely the project must be financed from the NWF – 98% of its total cost. Construction cost section of the M-11 “Neva” highway (Moscow-St. Petersburg) bypassing Tver will amount to 61.8 billion rubles, of which 25.6 billion is planned to be taken from the NWF (41% of funding). Finally, construction high-speed line (HSR) Moscow-St. Petersburg will require up to 468 billion rubles. funds from the fund – with a total project cost of 1.39 trillion rubles.

A total of three projects, thus, requires about 800 billion rubles.

At the meeting, the Auditor of the Accounts Chamber Valery Bogomolov drew attention to the not always effective use of NWF funds in previous projects. His main complaints concerned the Russian Railways investment project to modernize BAM and Transsib, which has been under way since 2013. The State Auditor emphasized that the first stage was not completed in full (according to the original plan, this should have taken place back in 2017, extended until 2021), noting, however, that the carrying capacity has still increased. The total financing of the project amounted to 520 billion rubles, the funds of the NWF were attracted in the amount of 150 billion rubles. (only for the first stage).

Georgy Smirnov, Vadim Visloguzov

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