Software will be put on public procurement

As Kommersant found out, the Ministry of Digital Development is preparing an alternative mechanism to support IT companies that want to receive state support to replace foreign software. The government is preparing two "road maps", within which it will offer Russian developers preferences in the public procurement market. Initially, the ministry planned to finance their projects through grants from the Russian Information Technology Support Fund (RFRIT) and the Skolkovo Foundation. However, according to Kommersant's information, the allocated funds are not enough for all approved projects. Experts note that support through public procurement "does not meet the criteria of a competitive market."

The government is preparing new mechanisms to support Russian software developers, two Kommersant sources in the IT market say. One of them clarifies that the apparatus of the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Digital Development Maxim Parshin is developing two "road maps": "New system-wide software" (NOPO, involves support for developers of operating systems, office suites, database management systems, etc.) and "New industrial software” (NIPO, will include measures to support developers of design systems, PLM, BIM, etc.).

Aleksey Smirnov, chairman of the board of directors of Bazalt SPO, also knows about the development of road maps. “I suppose that the Ministry of Digital Development plans to continue financing projects for import substitution of key foreign software, but in an expanded version,” he says, adding that the source of funding for these activities is still unclear.

According to an interlocutor close to the Ministry of Digital Development, the road maps, in addition to financial measures to support IT companies in the form of grants and soft loans, will also provide for new preferences in the public procurement market.

“We were promised a market-for-investment scheme. The bottom line is that the developer, under an agreement with the government, creates or refines his software product at his own expense to meet the requirements of the main industry customers. In return, customers at the procurement stage will be required to choose the product that was financed by the developer's funds, ”explains the interlocutor of Kommersant. The ministry did not respond to a request.

The government took up the comprehensive import substitution of foreign software in the summer. On behalf of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Industrial Competence Centers (ICC, which unite representatives of various industries that need to replace foreign software) and Development Competence Centers (CCR, unite Russian software developers by class) were organized at the Ministry of Digital Development. As conceived by the ministry, expert groups in these structures should select promising projects that are ready to replace foreign software.

37.1 billion rubles were allocated for import substitution of software, including through the FIC. until 2024, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko said in June. Of the 230 projects of the ICC, 162 were approved, and 35 of the 105 projects of the TsKR were approved, follows from the data presented on November 17 by Maxim Parshin. According to him, the approved projects will receive grants from RFRIT and the Skolkovo Foundation: “This will happen before the end of the year, work is underway to finalize the results.”

At the same time, Kommersant's sources in the IT market claim that the mechanism for financing projects through the ICC and the CCR has "failed."

The top manager of a Russian IT company, who is a member of one of the specialized working groups in the Ministry of Digital Development, explains to Kommersant that the development of new road maps was actually required because the funds did not have enough funds for all projects: “Many companies were praised for the prepared projects and financial and economic justification, but they said that there was no money.”

Mikhail Bocharov, Executive Director of SiSoft Development, is positive about the initiative of the Ministry of Digital Development to support developers in public procurement: “The scheme looks viable - now Russian developers need not only guaranteed sales, but also verification of the software functionality by the market and the ministry.”

The introduction of such preferences and advantages in procurement under the 44-FZ in its pure form does not correspond to the signs of a competitive market, says Sergei Uchitel, partner at the Pen & Paper Bar Association. In his opinion, such an approach may affect both the quality of purchased software and the purchase price: “But in this case, it is proposed to establish such rules of the game based on political considerations and the need to urgently replace key foreign software imports, rather than for reasons of maintaining competition” .

Timofey Kornev, Nikita Korolyov

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