Russia has demonstrated good resilience during the financial and economic crisis, though the speed of convergence has been lower than in most BRIICS countries, and growth has slowed more recently. Policy challenges include improving the business environment, tackling infrastructure shortfalls, providing a better access to quality education and achieving a better balance in social protection in order to foster job creation and employment in the formal sector.
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Previous Going for Growth recommendations include:
- Lower barriers to foreign direct investment by shortening the list of strategic sectors in which foreign acquisitions require prior government approval.
- Raise the effectiveness of innovation policy notably by supporting private-sector innovation activities.
- Reduce state control over economic activity and other barriers to competition by accelerating privatisation and using regulatory alternatives to direct state interventions.
- Raise the quality of public administration, with a particular focus on fighting corruption, increasing transparency and strengthening judicial independence.
- Reform health care system by shifting from hospital to primary care and stepping up efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles.
Actions taken: Notable reforms in these areas over the past two years include:
- Improvements in general business environment and the judiciary. The public procurement bill has been revamped, judicial salaries increases and an Office of Federal Business Ombudsman created to protect businessmen from administrative and legal abuse by the authorities.
The report also discusses the possible impact of structural reforms on other policy objectives (fiscal consolidation, rebalancing current account and reducing income inequality). In the case of Russia, a more efficient and better-funded health care system would help reducing income inequality, as the poor tend to suffer more from weak health care services.