Marina Kovtun said there are positive trends in several main economic indicators. During the first nine months of this year, industrial production increased by 14 percent. Metals production was up 24 percent, ore enrichment 14 percent, ship repairs 19.4 percent and the mining industry 10 percent. Investment in fixed assets increased 40 percent, cargo transhipment at ports 70 percent, and production of aquatic bioresources 11 percent. Inflation has slowed, and the situation on the labour market has stabilised.
At the same time, tax revenues fell 4 percent short of the target. This has to do with the fact that the regional economy is export oriented and currency fluctuations are affecting tax revenues. Nevertheless, the region has a low, safe level of public debt: In 2017, it is 36 percent relative to revenues and in 2018 it will be 42 percent.
Regarding the implementation of the Presidential May executive orders, the Governor guaranteed that all social parameters will be achieved in 2018. The Governor described the shortage of medical personnel as the main problem in the healthcare sector. People are reluctant to go to work to the north, even though wages there are somewhat higher than in other regions, because living conditions are harder: polar nights and harsh climate.
The Murmansk Region has submitted to the Ministry of Healthcare and the Finance Ministry a draft programme, Arctic Doctor, that covers all territories in the Arctic zone. The programme calls for 2 million rubles to be paid to doctors who sign five-year contracts: 500,000 during each of the first two years, and 1 million after five years. The Governor hopes that the problem will be completely solved in 10 years. The region currently needs 636 doctors.
The President pledged support for the project, while noting that it must be finalised with the Healthcare Ministry and the Finance Ministry.