Taking part in the meeting were Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, deputy prime ministers Dmitry Grigorenko and Marat Khusnullin, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Central Federal District Igor Shchegolev and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Elections to the State Duma took place last weekend. The adoption of the federal budget – the country’s main financial document – which, among other things, will include new measures to expand infrastructure, to promote the social sphere, and to support Russian families, will be the new State Duma’s most important task in the months ahead.
We have recently discussed this issue at a larger meeting with the participation of the United Russia party. Based on the results of that meeting and assessments of the situation in the domestic and global economy, I suggest that today we prioritise the federal budget items and make key decisions in the budgetary policy for the next three years.
We will begin with a forecast for the country's socioeconomic development and an assessment of macroeconomic indicators which directly affect the balance of public finances, as well as the formation and execution of the budget.
Despite the overall volatile situation in the global economy and complex processes unfolding on global markets, the Russian economy has recovered. Not long ago we were saying “recovered on the whole,” but today we can safely say that it has recovered.
In the first seven months of this year, the GDP reached the pre-crisis level. The decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been completely overcome. Industrial growth in the period from January to July was 4.4 percent, with processing industries showing even better results: plus 5.6 percent. The positive attitude of businesses and investors is proven by capital investment: in the first six months, it grew by 7.3 percent as compared to the same period last year.
I would like to emphasise another, very important recent result. A benchmark was set to ensure the level of employment is no lower than that of 2019. We passed this mark in July when the number of employed people reached 72 million. At the same time, this objective has not yet been reached in all the regions. Unemployment is still high among young people and people with disabilities. As you are aware, instructions have been given to improve regional programmes to support employment and to develop a long-term programme to assist young people and disabled people, including support to business initiatives and in starting businesses. We will shortly discuss in detail how this is working out.
I would also like to note that at the current post-crisis stage we need to create a model of sustainable economic development to ensure it covers a wide range of economic sectors and Russian regions. A stable and positive economic dynamics is necessary for creating new, well-paid jobs, for increasing citizens’ income and improving the wellbeing of Russian families.
And, of course, economic growth is vital to successfully implementing state plans and projects and reaching national development goals. I would like to stress that by 2024, we need to reach some noticeable progress in all the national goals. In this regard, the federal budget for the next three years is a key priority; it needs to be thoroughly developed and requires the concentration of forces and funds on the main strategically important areas, including such goals as increasing life expectancy, reducing poverty, and improving living standards – things that concern millions of our people.
Primary care must become 100-percent available by 2024, and the quality must be improved. Building new schools and overhauling existing ones should finally help us leave the triple-shift schools behind and create a comfortable environment for pupils and teachers.
In addition, separate instructions have been issued to step up the efforts to eliminate landfills within city limits by late 2023. It is necessary to allocate funding in this regard as well.
Of course, we should focus particularly on investing in infrastructure and creating more opportunities for the regions to support small- and medium-sized businesses and to address issues that have a comprehensive effect on our country’s regions.
The priorities that have just been listed must be included in the budget law. To reiterate, for us to be able to achieve our national development goals, the Government, the regions, the businesses and, of course, the newly elected parliament, must work as a team in a coordinated manner. The business community must have the capabilities and be motivated to boost investment, create new jobs, and ensure qualitative economic growth. Each level of government must be assigned clear responsibilities and be provided with the necessary funding.
I said that clearly defined responsibility must be in place, and we will discuss this today. We should approach this matter carefully and very responsibly, while maintaining overall macroeconomic stability, which I would like to point out specifically. Please keep this in mind as you work on drafting the federal budget in the Government and when discussing this document with the legislators. I look forward to seeing the Government, the regions and the parliamentary parties continue their constructive teamwork.
Let us move on to the agenda.