President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Siluanov, today we will talk about financial support for the main areas we agreed on during the preparation of the Address and its presentation to the Federal Assembly.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Mr President, in your Address you set a number of tasks, including economic and budgetary ones and at present the Government is preparing proposals on implementing the instructions set out in the Address.
In the Address you set the tasks of exceeding world economic growth rates, increasing investment and improving the living standards of our citizens, including support for low-income citizens and reduction of poverty by half.
What are these measures? First of all, these are budgetary and tax measures. We are now drafting proposals on taxes that will allow enterprises to increase their own resource base, thereby boosting their revenues and creating investment sources. The Government will discuss these proposals in the near future.
In addition, as regards tax novelties, we are drafting proposals to create equal conditions for doing business to reduce tax evasion and improve tax collection. We will use these funds – and these are big funds – to finance the tasks you set in your Address.
We are also drafting proposals to simplify the operation of small business. There are many tasks as regards small business the share of which is growing in the economy today. We believe that better tax collection also creates reserves in this respect.
This is not a matter of increasing the tax burden. We are talking about our plans to improve tax collection.
In addition, we are preparing proposals on revising and specifying benefits and incentives to see what effect they have produced. We were hoping to see certain results when we introduced them.
After we analyse everything – we already have some groundwork – we will be ready to suggest that the Government should look again at the expediency of preserving certain incentives and benefits. This is also a source of funding for implementing the decisions that you outlined in your Address.
What are the goals in terms of the budget? Of course, they are primarily related to infrastructure and supporting infrastructure projects as an economic driver. Healthcare and education are also among the priorities since they shape human capital.
To promote infrastructure development, we propose attracting more private investment. In this area, we are ready to support these efforts with government guarantees. We will also definitely increase budget spending on infrastructure.
On healthcare, we propose redistributing available budget resources by designating it as a priority.
We believe that more emphasis should be placed on helping those who need it most, as indicated in the Address. Today, we are still largely guided by old, often Soviet-era principles whereby financial assistance goes to everyone, but in very small portions.
We believe that assistance of this kind should go entirely to people who are in need so that low-income households actually feel the benefit.
We have a lot to do in terms of fine-tuning inter-budgetary relations, our financial relations with the regions, since your instructions in the Address will largely be financed by the regional, local budgets.
This relates to education and healthcare. We believe that at this point we need to create conditions to make the regional budgets capable of generating revenue on their own and changing the structure of their spending based on the priorities in the key areas that were highlighted in your Address.
The Government is working on these matters. We will present proposals on this in the near future, and hope that we will be able to work out most of the decisions needed to achieve the goals that were set in the Address with our parliamentarians during the spring session of this year.
Vladimir Putin: Very well.