President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
You know that there is a large group of Russian Government ministers, heads of various departments, and heads of major Russian companies in the region. Therefore, I think it is right to take advantage of this situation; such a gathering of important officials and representatives of major Russian companies does not happen often. Let’s use this opportunity to talk about the development of Primorye Territory, its competitive position, and the problems that remain here.
It is well known that preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Primorye [in 2012] involved significant federal investments in developing infrastructure, especially transport infrastructure, and the education sector. And in this regard I would like to note that the gross regional product is steadily growing.
Primorye Territory is showing a good pace overall. This applies to the big companies such as Progress and Sollers, and to Hyundai’s new business. Production volumes are growing in general. So is foreign investment, which in comparison to 2011 increased five-fold and came to $420 million.
But at the same time, as you probably know even better than me, the region still has many unresolved problems. The demographic situation is one of the most serious problems. I won’t go into the continuing population outflow issue now. It is a big issue and we keep coming back to it. It is particularly saddening to see however that the region has a high infant mortality level. It was 1.5 times higher than the Russian average over January-July this year.
The Far Eastern Federal University is opening now a medical centre equipped with all the latest technology in Vladivostok. A new regional medical centre is also being built, and its priority area will be looking after mothers and children. I would like to hear from you, colleagues, and from the Governor, on how this socially important project is going.
One of the biggest problems we need to resolve in order to be able to attract and build up the needed personnel is housing, and in this area the Housing Construction Development Facilitation Fund is a big support. With its help, more than 81,000 square metres of housing has been built in the region, and 7 housing and construction cooperatives have been established, to which the Fund has made available free of charge land for housing development. The regional authorities need to continue this cooperation with the Fund.
We obviously cannot resolve the region’s problems without creating quality new jobs and stepping up the pace of economic growth. This is the guarantee of our future success, including in resolving the social issues.
I know that a whole number of promising projects are underway in the region. There is the project to develop the Far Eastern petrochemical cluster, with the Eastern Petrochemical Complex as its nucleus.
Developing the transport sector is a key task. This includes developing international transport corridors, and modernising roads and ports and general port infrastructure. Of course we must not forget about promising sectors such as shipbuilding too. We talked about this sector yesterday, including with respect to Primorye Territory.
All this will help us to handle more rapidly and efficiently freight flows travelling between the Asia-Pacific region and Europe and will make Primorye Territory and Russia in general more competitive within the global economic system.
New investment and putting in place conditions for opening new production businesses, including small- and medium-sized businesses, will give a powerful boost to the region’s development. The business climate, the instruments we use and our ability to provide quality protection to business community interests are all very important of course.
I hope very much that the participants in today’s meeting, those engaged directly in business and those who have taken on the added responsibility of protecting business rights and interests, will speak their views on all of these issues and problems.
Let’s begin our discussion.
Vladimir Putin: Let me say in conclusion that we will return to the region’s problems on a regular basis. But I say again that I wanted to take full advantage of the fact that half of the country’s government is here in Vladivostok right now.
I wanted you to use this chance to hear each other, listen to each other, raise issues that we can not just discuss, but also set out, put down on paper and draft as instructions to specific agencies or to the Government overall.
I want to conclude by informing you on a personnel decision. As the media has probably already announced, the coordinator of our work will be newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Plenipotentiary Presidential Envoy [to the Far East Federal District] Yury Trutnev. He was previously a government minister as you know, and spent a year working in the Presidential Executive Office.
We decided to raise his status not only so as to help him coordinate the flood-relief work, but also so that in the future we will have someone at the level of deputy prime minister rather than minister, who can work effectively with all his colleagues whom he knows well, and who has influence in the Government and in the Presidential Executive Office too. Mr Medvedev and I will also work directly with him.
Everything that we discussed today and will then draft as the relevant instructions to carry out will also be under his supervision.
Thank you very much. I wish you success. Thank you.