Thu. Dec 3rd, 2020

The plans of Rosatom to obtain a monopoly in the supply of supercomputer modeling systems for the public sector are thwarted: the Ministry of Digital Industry will not support its initiative after negative responses from all surveyed industry associations. The state-owned company insists that its subsidiary produces unique software for Russia, and market participants argue with this.

The ministry is preparing a negative review on Rosatom’s initiative to appoint its enterprise as the sole supplier of supercomputer modeling systems for the public sector, a source in the government told Kommersant. Industry associations ANO “Center of Competence for Import Substitution in ICT,” JSC “Askon,” ARPP “Otechestvenny Soft” and “Russoft” negatively assessed this proposal of the state corporation, explains the interlocutor of “Kommersant”: “On this issue, we listen to the position of associations.” The ministry “is consonant with the voice of the domestic IT industry,” Renat Lashin, executive director of the ARPP Otechestvenny Soft, told Kommersant. The Ministry of Digital Affairs did not respond to Kommersant’s request.

As Kommersant reported, Rosatom suggested that the government appoint its All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) as the sole supplier of these systems for state companies and departments from 2020 to 2024. For ten years, Rosatom’s subsidiary has been developing the Logos software package, which automates the development of projects, models, and drawings, and allows testing products within the software environment. Computer-aided design (CAD) systems are used in mechanical engineering, architecture, and other areas. “Logos” has no analogs in Russia, explained in Rosatom, and the industry participants interviewed by Kommersant argued with this: according to their version, there are enough solutions on the market, including domestic ones, that can compete with Logos.

The corporation insists that the status of a single supplier is not needed to monopolize the industry, but only to speed up the procedure for public procurement of such software.

State-owned enterprises are extremely interested in reducing the implementation time of such projects. The possibility of prompt acquisition of Logos in the form of a purchase from a single supplier will allow customers who have decided to use it to significantly reduce the duration of procurement procedures and “quickly reduce excessive dependence on foreign suppliers of software platforms “A representative of Rosatom told Kommersant.

Companies with state participation are required to conduct tenders for procurement. The procurement format from a single supplier has become the main exception to this law, explains Anatoly Semyonov, deputy chairman of the RSPP Committee on Intellectual Property. “The Antimonopoly Service has repeatedly complained that the government is giving the status of a single supplier to the right and left, which monopolizes purchases and adversely affects the development of market competition,” he notes. The proposal of “Rosatom” to appoint their “daughter” as the only supplier of competitive services – “beyond the limits of decency” about the market, Mr. Semenov believes.

Digital industries are already highly concentrated, additional administrative restrictions for the development of competition look like pouring gasoline on a fire, agrees Alexey Ivanov, director of the Institute for Law and Development at the Higher School of Economics.

The directive compulsion of the public sector and is now the most important segment of the economy. Using one solution can hurt competition both in supercomputer modeling and related areas, he believes. Decisions of this kind need to be made only in case of extreme necessity, when there are no other options, concludes Mr. Ivanov.

The right to purchase from a single supplier arises if, for example, the service is unique on the market or the work needs to be completed in a short time, which does not allow for bidding, says Stanislav Danilov, partner of the Pen & Paper collegium. A single supplier’s personal status is not provided for by law, and the provision of such preferences to Rosatom’s subsidiary would lead to a gross violation of the competition law, he believes.

 

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