President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
Today we will focus on issues related to improving interbudgetary relations.
Ms Matviyenko has repeatedly raised the issue. We know the problems that exist here. This is a major area of the regional policy and of the country’s socioeconomic development as a whole.
People’s living standards, raising their incomes and improving the social sphere and infrastructure directly depend on the state of regional and municipal budgets. Of course, the powers of the regions and local self-government bodies should be backed up with corresponding financial resources.
At the same time, disproportions in regional budget support are also evident today. There is a big gap in budget revenues in certain regions and therefore in wages and in volumes of funding for social and infrastructure projects. We need to find solutions that will rectify these imbalances and make it possible for the regions to consolidate their financial base.
There are several areas of work here. First of all, it is important to incentivise the regions to develop their economic potential, use their competitive advantages and improve their investment and business climate. It is necessary, of course, to improve regional budget support mechanisms on the part of the federal centre, while they should also have a stimulating character, providing an impetus to the development of the Russian regions.
We are also aware of the problem of regional debt. We have repeatedly addressed it. However, we cannot effectively resolve this issue without dealing with the income gap problem.
It so happens that historically, the Russian regions, the Federation members, have very different opportunities in terms of their budget capacity and in terms of addressing the tasks they are facing. The tasks are basically the same everywhere, but the opportunities, financial possibilities and financial sources, mostly their own sources, are very different, to put it mildly.
Let us discuss these issues today.