All municipal waste in Russia will take a new Corporation. What is the reason for its creation?
After the”garbage” reform in Russia has been postponed once again, the solution to the problem attended to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In mid-January this year, he has signed the decree about creation of state Corporation with the mandate to build a comprehensive system of solid household waste management in the country. In the expert community took the news with mixed: some felt that the monopolization of the debris will lead to increased corruption in the sector and the enrichment of individuals, others – that at this stage it is the only possible solution to the problem. Details – DW.
A new state monopoly with almost unlimited powers
As stated in the presidential decree of 14 January (No. 8), public-legal company “the Russian ecological operator” is created in order to “create a comprehensive system of municipal solid waste management, control, prevention of harmful impact of waste on human health and the involvement of waste recycled”. The founder of Ministry of natural resources.
The company will participate in the legislative process, to conduct an examination of schemes for waste management, to participate in the preparation of agreements on the transportation and disposal of garbage, to attract private investors, to monitor the implementation of programmes on the ground and so on. In other words, in fact, the company is authorized to become a kind of headquarters for the implementation in Russia stalled garbage reform.
The powers of the operator, enshrined in the decree, are almost limitless. He can buy the land for the construction of “junk” infrastructure, and to enter into the capital of the vending companies, and carry out operations with securities, and even to engage in any business. As stated in the decree, the company “has the right to carry out other generate income on the activity.” The property of the company is formed mainly at the expense of the property contribution of the Russian Federation and “belongs to it by right of ownership”, reads the decree.
The main criticism: the privatization of profits and personal enrichment
The main opponents of the creation of new state monopolies bring as arguments for their position that the company shall have too wide powers, and in the absence of competitors would have incentives to actually implement “garbage” reform. According to the politician Dmitry Gudkov (in one of his social media posts he gave the Corporation by analogy with Rostec, Rosatom and Rosnano – the name of Rasmuson), “when there is monopoly, it costs natsionaliziruyut, and all profit is privatized”.
The politician is sure that the company’s priority will be not environmental safety, and personal gain as the main beneficiaries. Who will head the company, is still unknown, although experts have no doubt that to lead the Corporation will be instructed not the last persons in the state. “In Russia such realities, – said DW Chairman of the party “Green Alliance” Alexander Zakondyrin. The company will manage the people around the decision makers. This three structures, which are relevant to this reform: the Ministry of environment, Ministry of housing and Ministry of industry and trade. Well, the main possible participant in industry – rostec (one of his units of “RT-invest” builds waste incineration plants)”. However, he feels Zakondyrin, maybe that’s a good idea, because “it is logical to ask those people who deal with this subject”.
According to the President of the Association of companies serving the property (AKON) Nikita Chulochnikov, priorities for future activities of the new company till raise questions: “she has wide opportunities for Commerce with a bias in mediation, it is nowhere in the documents is not clearly stated as the goal of the safe management of waste”.
The expert drew attention to the fact that the Corporation will facilitate the provision of state support of those or other investment projects. “The officials hinted that to obtain Bank financing will be easier for those operators that work with government,” says Chulochnikov.
Non-market solution is the only option?
And yet, as noted by Alexander Zakondyrin, it is too early to judge if it will work to implement reform in a new way with the participation of the monopoly. In his opinion, it is obvious that in the old format to be she was not meant to be. “The story of regional operators showed that the system is not functioning. So we decided to centralize the problem,” he explains.
According to him, the decision can help to civilise the industry, which has actually not yet. “While the work is carried out “in the gray”, semi-criminal format, with formal compliance with the law. The emergence of the state-owned company in this sense is a step forward”, – the expert believes. In his opinion, ideally, the company’s main goal should be to build infrastructure for the sorting and recycling of waste.
“To wait in line with the liberal attitudes when the market itself will adjust and all will be built, there is no time. Decisions would have to wear a non-market, voluntarist character. On this model it will be necessary to launch and support regional operators, who were supposed to appear from 1 January 2019. If the operator does not handle, it automatically will replace itself is state-owned,” he suggests. The expert recognizes that these powers are not related to market activity, but until other technologies start sector of waste disposal in Russia, he does not see.