25 Nov 2022 10:44

Support for Russian software developers may broaden, public procurement preferences included - media

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) - The Russian Finance Ministry is elaborating new mechanisms to support software developers, in particular, by financial measures and public procurement preferences, the Kommersant newspaper said, with reference to sources on the IT market.

According to the sources, the ministry is drafting two roadmaps, namely, New System Software (to support developers of operating systems, office suites, database management systems, etc.) and New Industrial Software (to support developers of design systems, PLM, BIM, etc.).

Besides financial measures such as grants and soft loans, the roadmaps will envisage additional public procurement preferences, a source close to the ministry told Kommersant.

"We have been promised a market-for-investment formula. The idea is that a developer will develop or customize a software product for main industry clients at its own expense under an agreement with the government. In exchange, the clients will be compelled to choose the product funded by the developer at the procurement stage," the source said. The ministry has been unavailable for comment to Kommersant.

Initially, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media planned to support IT companies' projects for substitution of imported software with grants of the Russian Information Technology Development Fund and the Skolkovo Foundation. However, sources told Kommersant there were not enough allocations for every project approved.

In summer, the Digital Development Ministry opened industrial competence centers (uniting representatives of various industries that need to substitute foreign software) and development competence centers (uniting Russian software developers by class). The ministry is expecting expert teams in these centers to choose promising projects, which are ready to substitute foreign software.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko said in June that 37.1 billion rubles would be allotted for substitution of imported software, in particular, through industrial competence centers before 2024. Industrial competence centers have approved 162 projects out of 230, while 35 out of 105 projects have been approved by development competence centers, Deputy Digital Development Minister Maxim Parshin said on November 17. According to him, the approved projects will receive grants from the Russian Information Technology Development Fund and the Skolkovo Foundation.

IT market sources told Kommersant that the mechanism of funding projects via industrial competence centers and development competence centers "had failed." A top manager of a Russian IT company, which takes part in a respective working group of the Digital Development Ministry, told Kommersant that the new roadmaps had to be developed because the funds did not have enough money for all projects. "Many companies have been praised for their projects and feasibility studies but were told there is no money," he said.