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Investment Still Hobbled by Bureaucracy, Minister Says

President Vladimir Putin's ambitious plan to make Russia one of the top 20 most attractive countries for investment may remain unfulfilled due to excessive bureaucracy: the very problem that the program aims to tackle.

Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev informed Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during a government meeting this week that only 84 of the proposed 173 measures designed to ease the hurdles for entrepreneurs have been implemented on time.

The program's original goal was to boost Russia's rating in the World Bank's ease of doing business index from its current position of 112 to the top 20 by 2018.

Ulyukayev noted that while in theory many of the measures appear to have been adopted, entrepreneurs say many government agencies still work according to old guidelines.

"While many businessmen, 50 percent of the ones we have polled, note that customs control now takes no longer than three hours, 20 percent still say it takes over a day to clear," he said.

Nonetheless, Ulyukayev also said that the measures aimed to ease tax and that the labor administration has seen significant improvement.

Medvedev has vowed to take the necessary measures to alleviate interagency bureaucracy, saying the government must make an "extra effort" in light of the importance of entrepreneurial activity.

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