President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Shuvalov, I know that you would like to begin our meeting today with the bank’s support for high-tech exports, which is a key priority at the moment. I suggest that after that we discuss a broader range of topics on which VRB.RF is working as the country’s main development bank.
Chairman of the State Development Corporation VEB.RF Igor Shuvalov: Thank you, Mr President.
As per your instruction, the bank has joined the efforts to implement national projects. We have our representatives on all the working groups of the Government, taking an active part in nearly all the events held by the Government.
Our special task is to analyse the export opportunities of any projects that give rise to new productions, goods and services. In your May 7 Executive Order, you set out an ambitious goal of increasing exports. We understand that this concerns everyone.
Before extending loans or any other form of assistance, all development institutions that have this agenda check and see if this service can be in demand on foreign markets or is designed exclusively for Russia.
The Government and the Russian Export Centre, which is a 100 percent subsidiary of VEB.RF, have already created roadmaps for achieving the targets of the May 7 Executive Order. Despite all the reservations – and experts always have reservations about the achievement of such ambitious goals – we know that these are achievable goals.
We must work hard. We know what we need to do. We will work with the Government’s guidance to achieve our target, and we will report to you on our performance.
I would like to note that the bank’s Supervisory Board has approved several more agreements, including with Shchekinoazot, KuibyshevAzot, the Udokan Copper Deposit and the Amur Gas Processing Plant.
And a special concern for us, a special project, is supporting the Zvezda shipyard, a shipbuilding and engineering facility in Bolshoi Kamen, the Far East.
Vladimir Putin: How are you supporting it?
Igor Shuvalov: We order vessels, as VEB has leasing instruments, so we work together with Sovkomflot, Rosneft and NOVATEK, ordering ships for their use, for their needs.
First of all, these ships help us to build cutting-edge production facilities, contributing to import replacement. On the other hand, they will be an export service, including the transportation of our energy resources and related products in these tankers. This is an export service.
Vladimir Putin: I see. It is good that the bank is involved in this work.
Igor Shuvalov: We will continue, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: What issues do you consider the most important to discuss and for the bank’s work today?
Igor Shuvalov: Mr President, I have repeatedly reported to you and received your consent for VEB to get involved in the development of the urban economy.
This topic is very important, we think that it is the most important, after what you said in the Address, and then in the Executive Order – that during this political cycle, over these years, a qualitative change should occur in the life of ordinary Russians.
Since over 100 million people in Russia live in cities, we have thoroughly prepared for the regional forum in Sochi: we have presented our agenda and are now launching several projects in cities.
We are now starting these projects in 40 cities, with a view to extending their number to 100 of the largest cities, in addition to Moscow and St Petersburg, which require support to a lesser extent. Where necessary we are also ready to participate in supporting projects in these cities too, but our focus is not on Moscow and St Petersburg.
After that, we will offer partnership to those cities, regional teams and municipal authorities that would like to implement such projects.
Now what exactly are these projects? This includes the recycling of solid municipal waste, clean water, modern municipal transport as well as support for nursing homes (they are called differently now) or help in organising the recreation and decent conditions for senior citizens at such facilities, wherever this service is in demand. The majority of places like this are financed from the budget, but there is an increasing demand for private services in this sphere when it comes to large cities.
We are also considering the possibility of creating infrastructure for children’s summer holidays together with the municipal and regional authorities. Overall, it concerns an entire range of subjects that have to do with upgrading the city or creating an altogether new image for it.
This includes the construction of new residential neighbourhoods, which DOM.RF is doing, and support for the export service of attracting foreign tourists, which the Russian Export Centre is doing.
The city is becoming ever more attractive, but this also includes a purely economic aspect of enticing foreign tourists and encouraging them to spend more money here.
This also includes the Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation. No city comforts or a modern economy are possible without the support for small and medium-sized businesses.
We see our mission as the coordinator of national development institutions in providing funds for attaining the goals of DOM.RF, the Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation and the Russian Export Centre.
Mr President, we will try to invest the bulk of our funds in the creation of large interregional companies. We understand that sometimes it is more convenient to have a small regional company dealing with transport and the environment.
Vladimir Putin: This is not always economically viable.
Igor Shuvalov: It may be so, but interregional companies can be viable. Our partners in this project are Russian Railways, Rosseti and Rostelecom. We are developing a solid partner-like dialogue with federal companies.
Vladimir Putin: This is very good.