The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, deputy prime ministers Tatyana Golikova and Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov, Minister of Healthcare Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, presidential plenipotentiary envoys to federal districts, Head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare – Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation Anna Popova, Head of the Federal Treasury Roman Artyukhin, Head of the Federal Taxation Service Daniil Yegorov, Head of the Executive Committee of the Russian Popular Front Mikhail Kuznetsov and the heads of 85 Russian regions.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
We agreed to return to monitoring the implementation of measures to support the citizens, the social sphere and the economy in general, at the beginning of this week. We are to evaluate the efforts taken at all levels; whether people and specific organisations are receiving prompt support and whether they are receiving it in full. First of all, I would like you to report on implementing the resolutions to provide additional aid to the medical workers who work at hospitals, outpatient clinics and ambulance services.
I would like to remind you that several consistent decisions were adopted regarding support for medical workers. Back in March, we made provisions for incentive payments. These incentives will be paid throughout the year based on the workload. We allocated 10.2 billion rubles for these purposes from the federal budget.
Later on, on April 15, special extra payments were introduced for working in hazardous conditions during April, May and June. These extra payments were provided for those who directly rendered aid to the novel coronavirus patients. Another 41.8 billion rubles were transferred from the federal budget to the regions for this purpose. Out of the total sum allocated for the said payments and benefits, which amounts to 52 billion rubles, the regions of the Russian Federation received 50.1 billion rubles, that is, almost everything. That said, as we agreed, regional payments and additional pay must be preserved as well.
All settlements with people for April were supposed to have been completed by May 15. However, to my knowledge, far from all those that were entitled to these payments received them. True, in the past two or three days, and even yesterday, the situation was changing in the right direction. I hope to hear your reports today.
Regrettably, in some regions people were paid sums that had nothing to do with what we discussed at our meetings. These sums were certainly different from those I gave instructions to pay to medical workers. In every region of the Federation and at each medical facility, and even for individual categories of medical workers, these payments were first calculated in different ways.
Let me add that on May 6 I signed an Executive Order on introducing mandatory national life and health insurance for medical workers. As we agreed, it was to be applied retroactively. In other words, all those that took part in countering the epidemic and were affected while performing their professional duties were supposed to receive lump sum insurance payments.
At the meeting on May 11, I instructed the Government and the Healthcare Ministry to coordinate the actions of the regions on federal benefits and insurance payments. I would like to ask the Healthcare Ministry and regional governors to report on whether all workers that are entitled to these benefits and payments have received them in full.
I am also instructing the Government, the Healthcare Ministry, the Labour Ministry and the regions of the Federation to monitor the allocation of all established payments.
Let me emphasise that absolutely everything must be transparent and clear: who receives the money and what for. All information on the acts that regulate these issues has been brought to the knowledge of people and explained in detail. A feedback system has also been set up, which is extremely important, and I would like to draw your attention to this.
Next. Online purchasing of prescription-free medicine is a sensitive and important matter for people, especially senior citizens. I signed the relevant Executive Order on March 17. To my mind, everything is proceeding not as quickly as one might have wished. Today, I would like to ask you to dwell on this matter in great detail and to report when Russian citizens will, at long last, receive an opportunity to order medicine online, when this matter will be logically resolved, and when the entire essential regulatory framework will be issued.
Here is another significant subject. On May 11, it was decided to stipulate a 10,000-ruble lump sum payment for all children aged 3 through 15. This measure became highly popular. As of May 18, parents have submitted 11 million applications requesting these lump sum payments via the Government Services website. To the best of my knowledge, their number has increased even more and covers almost 12 million children. Russian families are to receive payments for about 22 million children, and this support measure will apply to over 50 million people nationwide, if we use the 1.8 coefficient, and substantial extra federal-budget funding is stipulated for these purposes. Regardless of the current complicated conditions, we were able to allocate 197.2 billion rubles.
Besides, monthly 5,000-ruble payments for children under three applies to families with their first babies born between April 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019. In all, we will be able to support about five million children under three. Today, I would like to hear a progress report on these payments.
Please report what measures have been adopted for ensuring the uninterrupted operation of the Government Services website. I know that it has recently started functioning in an appropriate manner. Please report on this matter separately today. How many applications of citizens have been processed, and what new and more convenient services are to be launched?
Next. A number of decisions have been adopted to support the economy. At the first stage, these included delays of tax and insurance payments, a programme of easy-term interest-free wage credits, as we call them, direct government subsidies to pay wages for April and May.
An unprecedented decision to write off taxes and insurance payments for the second quarter of this year was approved as part of a new package of measures submitted on May 11. We have never done this. I will not go into any details as to why we did not do this, but this measure is needed in today’s extraordinary environment. It applies to the self-employed, small and medium-sized companies in hardest-hit sectors, and social non-profit organisations. Apart from this, the self-employed can reduce their 2020 insurance payments to the public extra-budgetary funds by one minimum monthly wage; self-employed individuals will be able to receive from the federal budget non-recurring support amounting to one minimum monthly wage to pay professional income tax. I repeat and will reiterate that they will be fully reimbursed for what they paid in these specific taxes in 2019. Please report today how many individuals and small and medium-sized businesses will be able to enjoy all these support measures and within what timeframes.
Let me also note the decision to grant organisations and the self-employed easy-term loans with an interest rate of 2 percent for the borrowers. This measure is designed to preserve jobs and enhance business stability. Banks should issue these loans as of June 1. I would like to hear how work is proceeding in this area.
In conclusion, let me remind you that I certainly expect the Working Group of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects to make a detailed report on the implementation of all these measures intended to support individuals and the economy.
I would like to give the floor to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who will comment on the agenda. I would like to congratulate you, Mr Mishustin, on finally getting rid of this virus. The last few tests, as the doctors told me, were negative. Therefore, you can perform your duties in full measure, although you did carry out, despite this disease, practically all your work even before. Nevertheless, this is also an important event and I congratulate you on having taken the upper hand over this contagion
Vladimir Putin: Now a couple of issues that are not directly related to today’s topic. As I see in the documents, inflation is slowing down a bit and the ruble has begun to grow. I would like Mr Reshetnikov to comment on this. Ans Ms Nabiullina, could you please give us your assessment of these developments, and tell us what to expect in the near and mid-term.
Please, Mr Reshetnikov.
Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov: Mr President,
Currently, the situation with prices and the consumer markets is fairly stable. The devaluation effect we were seeing has mostly stabilised now as well. These are not always good indicators, but the fact that there has been a certain decrease in demand (due to the quarantine measures), of course, had a noticeable anti-inflation effect.
We are, eventually, expecting that inflation will not exceed our forecast of 4 percent annual rate by the end of the year. The regular dynamics we see today confirm this.
Regarding the recovery of the economy, the latest numbers do show growth. Restrictions are being lifted, as we see in heavy industry, construction and agriculture. The restrictions have been lifted in key industries; we can see this in the growing consumption of electricity and transport.
As of today, our daily indicators have increased significantly. Previously, they were only about 67 percent of what we had before the crisis, and now they are 71–72 percent and growing. In other words, we can see that the economy is beginning to recover.
On the one hand, we can see that perhaps the depth of the depression will be less that we had thought, but of course, we will still have to get back to a path of full recovery. It will take time and the national plan Mr Mishustin spoke about; and the main goal we are working for is to return to growth as quickly as possible. All the measures we monitor, we assess from this point of view: the restoration of employment, people’s incomes and investment, because nothing will be possible without these, including the recovery of growth trends.
However, Mr President, I do not want to build too high an expectation here. It will certainly take time, and it will take effort. Going into detail, we are now completing a forecast report that will be presented to the Government of the Russian Federation tomorrow; we have forecast everything quarterly, including our estimates. But again, now we are synchronising it with the national plan, which we are also completing and will submit to the Government on Monday. We are working closely with the Central Bank under Mr Andrei Belousov.
Vladimir Putin: Fine. Thank you.
Ms Nabiullina, you have the floor, please.
Governor of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina: Thank you very much.
Mr President, colleagues,
Indeed, we could see an increase in prices of certain goods in March-April. This was due to the dynamics of the exchange rate and due to an increased demand for a number of products, primarily long-term storage items. Nevertheless, we see that in late April – early May, the pace of price growth is generally decreasing. This indicates a weakening of inflation factors, and we see that so-called disinflation factors will dominate in the short term.
At this point, inflation has stabilised somewhere around 3.1 percent per annum. And, very importantly, after some growth, inflation began to decline. All this gives us the opportunity to pursue a soft policy.
We have already reduced the key rate, and if the situation develops in accordance with our expectations, with our forecast, we have the capacity to further reduce the interest rate in order to maintain demand in the economy, especially as the restrictive measures are gradually lifted.
As for developments in the financial markets, the situation has remained stable in general. Ruble exchange rate volatility has decreased, and so have risk premiums on Russian financial assets. We can see this in yields on federal loan bonds; they have also decreased in our country. This is also very important, because federal loan bond yields also influence interest rates in the economy as a whole. And there are quite positive trends here.
Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
Here is what I would like to say in closing. The current situation is absolutely unique for our country and the world alike. Nothing like this has ever happened in living memory. This affects all spheres of life, including personal lives, professional activities, the economy and everything else.
Therefore, the solutions that we are developing and offering to the country, the economy and the people in order to support them are also largely unique. We have never before done anything like what we are doing right now. We have never used such enormous resources to provide support, either. Thank goodness, we have them as a result of our previous financial and macroeconomic, as well as our economic policy, in general. To reiterate, these solutions are largely unparalleled.
There is nothing unusual about the fact that some setbacks occur when we put these decisions into practice. Here is what I would like to say in this connection. I would like to go back to what I have already mentioned. The feedback is extremely important in this regard. We must clearly understand what is happening to our decisions in real life. If we talk about supporting our people, or companies, or economic sectors, we must have a clear idea of how it is really working in real life. Once we have this feedback, we should be able to provide an instant response in order to ensure the unconditional implementation of our decisions, otherwise they will be worthless. What is the point of the work that we are doing then?
Therefore, I urge you to keep working precisely like that being fully aware of what is happening on the ground and responding to the ongoing developments. Again, setbacks are not something that is out of order. Most importantly, we must quickly respond, remedy the situation and see the solution to its logical end. This is my first point.
Secondly, let us not forget about the current work, including national projects. Clearly, for a number of objective reasons, some of our programmes – we have already discussed this and will do so in the future – may be postponed and, as they say, put on the back burner. We will not be able to implement them this year purely for objective reasons. It is imperative to be fully aware of what we are doing when we are making these decisions. But if we make them, we must know what we are going to do with the resources that will be freed up and not used this year. They need to be used properly in these circumstances and sent to where they are needed most.
Please look at the situation and our work from this perspective. We will get back to this soon.
Thank you for today's work. All the best to you all.