The regional socioeconomic situation depends on the efficiency of measures to combat the coronavirus infection, Mr Belozertsev said. As of today, the region has recorded 3,317 coronavirus cases, and 2,641 people have recovered. Unfortunately, 28 people have passed away. The region has received substantial assistance from the federal budget. Over 520 million rubles was spent on purchasing and equipping hospital beds, buying medical equipment and disposable materials. Another 250 million rubles was allocated from the regional budget, and medical workers have received their support payments in full and on time.
The pandemic highlighted the need to reorganise many medical institutions. The Penza regional hospital needs urgent updating. The Governor asked the President for support in allocating federal funding for this project. Vladimir Putin promised to issue the relevant instruction to the Government.
Mr Belozertsev spoke of the region’s efforts to minimise the pandemic’s impact on the regional economy. A regional business support package was passed and is now being implemented. Families with children are also receiving their support payments. Regarding the labour market, about 18,000 unemployed people are registered in the region. At the same time, there are over 10,000 vacancies, primarily in the agricultural, social, healthcare, housing/utilities and construction sectors.
Agricultural companies, as well as production facilities fulfilling state defence contracts and export-oriented businesses continued operating, while adhering to strict sanitary standards.
In 2019, gross agricultural output topped 103 billion rubles. For example, the agro-industrial holding company Damate ranks among the ten largest global turkey meat processors and exports its meat products to 27 countries. Total project investment volumes exceeded 60 billion rubles. At the end of the year the region is to open the largest Russian and European turkey meat processing plant with a daily capacity of 300 tonnes; investment volumes are estimated at 9 billion rubles.
Rusmolco is another major regional investor. Over the past five years, it has invested over 18 billion rubles into the regional economy. Earlier this year, the company launched a large dairy production farm that is turning out 380 tonnes of milk daily or 38 percent more than in the same period in 2019.
According to the Governor, the region’s industrial output increased by 5 percent last year. The region received investment worth over 90 billion rubles. It ranked among leading Russian territories in terms of implemented large-scale investment projects. The region launched Europe’s largest foam rubber plant and will start Europe’s largest mattress plant this October.
In the first quarter of 2020, regional exports increased by over 77 percent compared to the same period last year.
The Governor also noted some problems in the region, including demographics, low average income and utility infrastructure problems. The Penza Region Government and the heads of municipalities are working to resolve them.
The President noted some other problems including a budget deficit, high regional debt that should be eliminated, a declining population, a road system in bad shape, and a rundown housing and utility infrastructure.
At the same time, the President noted the region’s achievements, including a substantial increase in agricultural output, greater fixed capital investment volumes, expanded industrial output and construction volumes.
Mr Belozertsev said he would like to consolidate this positive regional development trend and make it sustainable and irreversible. In this connection, he asked Vladimir Putin to show support for him and for his intention to run in the upcoming gubernatorial election.
Vladimir Putin said Mr Belozertsev had a moral right to run for Penza Region Governor again after presenting the results of his work to the people. But it is necessary to work directly with voters, with the people, to show them what has been accomplished and to note any setbacks in an objective manner. The President wished every success to Mr Belozertsev.