President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Bitarov.
Sadly, our meeting today takes place following the passing of Head of the Republic [of North Ossetia-Alania] Tamerlan Aguzarov. You worked with him and took your current post at the time when he became regional head. I know that he trusted you and had great respect for you. I want to propose that you take over at the republic’s head.
Prime Minister of North Ossetia-Alania Vyacheslav Bitarov: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: I will appoint you acting head. Of course, you will need to prove to the people that your work in this post meets their expectations and that you can resolve their problems, above all the social issues, develop the region and its economy and address healthcare and education issues.
What are the priorities as you see them at the moment?
Vyacheslav Bitarov: Thank you for your condolences. When Mr Aguzarov and I began working together, we decided from the outset that no matter how difficult the financial situation in the republic, our main task was to fulfil all of the region’s social commitments to the public. We did everything we could for this over the six months that we worked together, with me heading the regional government. There were no wage delays and we carried out all of our social commitments and continue to do so.
We have also optimised all spending that was inefficient and have carried out a full stocktaking of the republic’s assets. In other words, we are working on the regional economy and this is producing results.
We have kept to all of our agreements with the Finance Ministry. This way, we can continue to draw on budget credits, and this has enabled us to pay off all commercial loans, which saves us substantial money in interest payments to commercial banks. We now have another agreement with the Finance Ministry, giving us a budget credit at a low interest rate.
We will pay off the remaining debts to commercial banks, and this will save us good money that we can channel into social spending and development, which we will certainly continue.
We have drafted a socioeconomic development plan and identified our priorities. They include efficient use of natural resources and developing the republic’s agriculture sector and industry. We have selected investment projects and will now present them and attract investors.
Vladimir Putin: I wish you success.
Vyacheslav Bitarov: Thank you.