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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Yevkurov, it is your [republic’s] anniversary.
President of Ingushetia Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: Yes, we are celebrating our anniversary.
Vladimir Putin: I would like to congratulate you, the head of the republic, and all of its inhabitants. Your republic is a very important constituent entity of the Russian Federation, located in a complicated region. All the problems of the southern parts of our country are concentrated there. But I think future prospects are good; you and I have talked about this many times. I very much hope that despite the fact that big problems remain there, existing positive trends will continue to develop, and eventually people will feel that their lives are changing for the better.
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: Thank you, Mr President.
In general, we have prepared for the republic’s anniversary pretty well: both my predecessors and all those who have been working during the past 20 years. It is a tangible result of two decades of work in the republic. As you correctly remarked, our constituent entity of the Russian Federation has problems, but also advantages; it is a full-fledged subject of the Russian Federation.
I would like to briefly dwell on what we have prepared. If we take the socio-political situation today, I consider it peaceful and stable. We can compare what we have today with other times and situations. Naturally, today we are celebrating what we have accomplished together in honour of the republic’s 20th anniversary. But in making certain plans with regards to our socio-economic development, we were already focusing two and even three years ago on what we will come to this anniversary with.
Today’s indicators are very good. Looking at things as they are, among the regions in the North Caucasus Federal District, we are in the top twenty Russia’s regions, ranking 13th, in terms of industrial production growth rates, real incomes and salary increases. And this is not our own estimate – you can check it against the Regional Development Ministry’s socio-economic status indices. This is a good sign.
As for the index of industrial production, we are looking at similar periods of 2010–2011 and the beginning of this year, and we have a 20.5-percent increase, which is also a good sign. Judging by these figures we hold first place in the North Caucasus Federal District, which is a good position. The maximum volume of goods shipped has increased several fold, and this trend is continuing this year. In general, if asked to describe the situation I would say we are making very rapid progress.
I would like to thank you especially for the oil and gas industry in our republic, because you acknowledged and were sympathetic to our problem. Rosneft is working very well. Today we have an increase in output of around 17 percent, but most importantly the republic’s revenues constituted over 600 million rubles last year alone. Before that we even subsidised the powerful Gazprom; this problem existed. Now a powerful dynamic is visible, and it is also affecting social facilities. This field is a major source of help for us.
With regards to agriculture, last year we replaced 100 percent of our agriculture equipment.
Vladimir Putin: Did you take the opportunity to lease the equipment at 50 percent?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: Yes, we did. To date we have replaced a 100 percent of our equipment, and the output of agricultural products has sharply increased, and more people are now working in the fields. This is also a big plus.
As for the budget, in terms of tax collection levels and tax revenues we hold one of the top positions in Russia. If we take 2010–2011, we increased tax collection in the republic by 50 percent.
Vladimir Putin: And what about utility bills?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: There is positive dynamic, not big, but still, but we are failing in gas. We are currently undertaking certain measures and I think we will fix the situation in this regard. In general, collection in this area is also proceeding apace. Perhaps not as fast as we would like, but it is still occurring.
I would like to talk separately about investment. We have worked quite hard to attract non-governmental, private investment. In this regard the state guarantees that are currently in place are a huge help. If we compare 2010 and 2011, private investments have tripled. This year with the help of state guarantees and other sources we are planning to attract up to 20 billion rubles in private investment in the republic.
Vladimir Putin: In which sectors?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: In agriculture. One of our investors is building quite a powerful elevator. We already want to sign an agreement with the Grain Union because it needs large supplies: 250,000 tonnes.
The Achaluki [mineral water] factory, one of our biggest, is developing. At present it produces 20,000 bottles per hour, and in the future the output will increase to 60,000 bottles.
Vladimir Putin: From a local water source?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: Yes, the local Achaluki spring: the water there is very good.
Mining industries and processing, including the construction sector: these are the fields where very significant investments are flowing.
I would also like to draw your attention to the road fund that we have established; it’s very large.
Vladimir Putin: How much did you receive this year for the road fund?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: More than 500 million rubles.
Vladimir Putin: That’s decent. What was the figure for all the roads last year?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: 70 million rubles.
Vladimir Putin: And this year it’s 500 million: that’s a big difference.
I wanted to ask you something that we agreed with all regional leaders, that is to pay due attention to the roads in rural areas and the roads in settlements.
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: Basically, that’s what we are doing. Even though this year, considering the approaching anniversary, we worked more on the roads between villages, but next year we will start to build more in rural areas too. Nevertheless, it’s a big amount for this year and a big advantage.
Vladimir Putin: Did you reach the set levels regarding the teachers’ wages?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: We did. And here too we hold a leading position being the first both in terms of timeframe and the actual implementation of these commitments.
Vladimir Putin: What is the situation with facilities that are subject to renovation as part of healthcare reform?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: Work is in progress and I would like to talk about this for a second. The modernisation of education and healthcare took an important step forward with regards to procuring modern equipment. The next step is major renovations underway in all hospitals.
Vladimir Putin: How much money did you receive from the federal budget for these purposes?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: For healthcare we received more than 2 billion rubles for two years. This year we will spend these funds; no failures there, everything under control.
Vladimir Putin: Work is proceeding according to schedule?
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: Yes it is.
Vladimir Putin: But you must not forget about the salaries for healthcare workers, given the changes in standards.
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: I want to boast about our good indicators in this respect: in two years we reduced our dependence on subsidies from 92 to 84 percent. This is a good figure, but we are still reviewing certain measures in order to increase wages. We have a significant lack of service personnel – nursing and cleaning staff – and we are trying to raise their salaries by at least 20 percent at the expense of local budgets. Of course, our budget does not allow us to do everything we would like.
Vladimir Putin: But do not forget about this issue.
Yunus-Bek Yevkurov: We will not.
Vladimir Putin: Good.