President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Keeping with tradition, I want to congratulate you on the upcoming New Year holiday and say a few words about our work over this past year.
I won’t be saying anything sensational if I say that despite the various difficulties, I think the Government has worked with maximum effect.
Yes, we are still seeing a slowdown to some extent, but the situation is day and night compared to the drop in GDP we experienced last year. We have every reason to believe now that we can get back on a growth track. It’s important only to ensure that this growth is steady and increases from one year to the next.
Some of our macroeconomic results already signal changes for the better. It looks very likely that our inflation rate will be at its lowest in the last 25 years. In 2011, inflation stood at 6.1 percent. This year, it will be less than 6 percent. We can say confidently that the figure will probably be 5.8 percent.
There have been some positive developments in the real sector of the economy too, in sectors such as machine building and agriculture. This lays good foundations for resolving the tasks that we will have before us next year, in 2017. One of these tasks is most certainly to raise labour productivity, an essential basic condition for obtaining the GDP growth we need. We also need to continue structural transformation in the economy and make all possible efforts to implement the May 2012 executive orders, especially in the social sector.
The Government’s most important achievement this year was to strike an optimum balance between addressing economic tasks and pursuing social development. This has not been easy, but overall, you have succeeded in finding this balance.
In 2017, we must continue implementing the executive orders, particularly those concerning wage rises for public sector employees. We must continue improving the business climate, and continue our efforts to reach our demographic and healthcare objectives.
This, of course, will require effective cooperation with our colleagues in the regions, as well as ongoing dialogue with the State Duma and the Federation Council deputies so as to combine our efforts and ensure a common understanding of shared goals. I want you to focus on precisely this kind of work together.
Let me conclude by giving you my best wishes for the upcoming New Year and thanking you for your work in 2017.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, colleagues, first of all, I want to thank the President for his words just now and his review of the Government’s work over this last year. He gave an assessment of what we have accomplished and the tasks ahead, particularly over the upcoming period.
Our priorities, as the President just said, remain unchanged. The President sets these priorities, in particular, in the Address to the Federal Assembly. They are based on the documents that form the foundations for our country’s development, including the presidential executive orders of May 7, 2012.
These executive orders do indeed set a high yardstick for the state authorities’ responsibility in the social sector. Despite the difficulties our economy faces, we must do our best to ensure that Government meets all of its commitments and that these executive orders’ main goals are reached within the set timeframe.
The President just reminded us of these main objectives. They concern the entire system of social relations, including wages and other social sector indicators in areas such as healthcare and education. In short, they cover all of the most basic and essential areas for everyone in the country and all of the executive authorities’ most important areas of work.
This year was not the easiest, but nonetheless, we see that the economy has more or less recovered and we have every reason to expect growth next year. This will give us better conditions for meeting the social commitments the Government and the authorities in general have before the people.
I support what the President said just now about the need for full-fledged dialogue with all political forces in the State Duma and the Federation Council, and for active cooperation with the regions, where the most important social tasks are being resolved.
The Government’s task is to ensure the necessary coordination of work with all regions, so that people throughout the entire country know that their problems are at the centre of the executive authorities’ attention.
The New Year holidays are ahead, but the Government does not have holidays and we will all be working during the upcoming break.
On behalf of the Government, I want to wish you success, Mr President, all the very best, and, of course, good health in 2017.