Anton Siluanov has served as acting Finance Ministrer since September 27, 2011.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Siluanov, I have signed an Executive Order on appointing you to the Finance Minister post. I wish you success. This is difficult work, especially during a time when overall financial stability is under threat, not just in Russia but throughout the world. And all discussions and international meetings show that unfortunately, for now, there is still a whole range of negative trends in global finances, particularly given the crisis in the Eurozone.
Thus, you will have a great deal of work. Nevertheless, you are an experienced individual who has worked in the Ministry for a long time; you are most familiar with all its mechanisms and are well-acquainted with the budget process and the tax legislation, so I think you will be able to handle all the challenges assigned to the Finance Ministry. The work of the entire Government depends on the Ministry’s accurate operation. But even more important is the fulfilment of all budgetary appropriations, all budgetary positions, in accordance with the high-quality execution of the budget, the payment of monetary assets – in other words, everything that the Finance Ministry is responsible for.
“I would like you to give particular attention now to issues of ensuring social payments, issues pertaining to fulfilling our main tasks in social welfare: pensions, healthcare, education, paying salaries to state employees. Because these things must always be under the Government’s control.”
I would like you to give particular attention now to issues of ensuring social payments, issues pertaining to fulfilling our main tasks in social welfare: pensions, healthcare, education, paying salaries to state employees – naturally, within the Finance Ministry’s authority. Because these things must always be under the Government’s control, particularly during a fairly difficult financial period, when various kinds of political events are underway – I am referring to the recent and upcoming elections. These situations always call for additional attention.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Mr President, thank you very much for your support and your assessment of our work, the work of the Finance Ministry. Indeed, the current situation on the global markets, particularly in Europe, is unclear, and for our part, as the Finance Ministry, we are preparing for various scenarios of how things might develop. So this year, in implementing the budget, we have tried to create maximum reserves to get through the next year.
This year, we received additional budgetary revenue – first and foremost, due to the good market situation, due to an increase in revenue collection. We have reserved a large part of this additional revenue for next year – we have put it in the Reserve Fund – and we will reduce borrowing next year. Of the additional revenues we collected, we have used only 11.6 percent on expenditures, and forwarded all the rest to the Reserve Fund and toward reducing our loans on the market, since today the question of liquidity on the market is fairly acute, and we are trying to borrow less through the budget, retrieving this liquidity from the economy. So we have accumulated a reserve for next year – the Reserve Fund of 1.8 trillion rubles – and that’s just our Reserve Fund for next year. The initial plan in the budget set it at about 50 billion rubles in the Reserve Fund by the end of the year. So we have really increased that volume.
Dmitry Medvedev: We might need it next year, because we are not growing this fund so as to feel that everything is good in our nation, but for the sake of the future that may not be so sunny, even in comparison to today.
Anton Siluanov: That’s right. Thus, we have set a reserve in the form of the Reserve Fund, and we have prepared all the necessary regulatory and legislative acts in the event that the situation gets worse. They are on the stand-by, ready, and if we see that the situation is deteriorating, we will quickly pass these acts in contrast to the situation we had at the beginning of 2009, when it took us quite a long time to respond.
In addition, within the framework of the rights granted to us by the Federal Law On the Federal Budget, we have already created an additional reserve through the reallocation of expenditures that the legislators gave us. And we have made provisions for the possibility of fulfilling state guarantees taken into account for next year, for implementing those same possible anti-crisis measures. We do not know how the situation will develop, but we must certainly build up the necessary reserve of stability. Currently, we are preparing all relevant regulatory acts for all the federal ministries and agencies in order for the law on the budget to be launched in a timely manner. We have already instructed them on the target points for next year. In other words, the ministries and agencies have already received their necessary funding, which they have the right to use starting on the first business day of next year. We are currently preparing the necessary legal acts, so I think that everything will be fine.
Dmitry Medvedev: I am certain that we will overcome these problems too, although I have just returned from Brussels where yesterday I was at the centre of the European Union and the mood there is not stellar, so we must be ready for any scenarios. That is precisely why it is good that you recalled that we passed some laws in 2009, and now we are armed with legislation, because we have mechanisms that can be launched at any moment, as well as the reserves you spoke about, of which you were able to set aside a sizable volume this year. So I count on everything to be in good order. And I once again wish you success in your job, which is very difficult, but exceedingly important for our country.
Anton Siluanov: Thank you Mr President. We won’t let you down.