President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Khusnullin, I know that you want to discuss the construction sector and road construction, but I would like to ask you to begin with housing. I know that there has been some positive momentum there, as you reported to me not so long ago.
Go ahead, please.
Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin: Thank you, Mr President.
Your Executive Order on achieving the goals set forth in the national project, to increase new housing to 120 million square metres, improve living conditions for five million families every year and achieve a 1.5-fold improvement in amenities, guides our efforts. To deliver on this target, we have created timetables, coordinated them with all regions and we are following these schedules.
Let me show you these charts. Mr President, we can say in all confidence that this year we will achieve the best results in Russia’s contemporary history. This is attributable to the indicators you approved and the decisions you made, primarily, on mortgages, cutting red tape, and I will speak about this in a moment, as well as the system-wide project efforts by the Government jointly with the Presidential Executive Office in the regions.
On mortgage lending, first, I would like to thank you for extending the corresponding programme.
Vladimir Putin: You believe that we will exceed 85 million square metres, don’t you?
Marat Khusnullin: Mr President, I am certain we will, unless something unexpected happens, and we hope that this will not be the case. Otherwise, I am positive that we will go beyond 85 million. We see the potential, Mr President, and now we want to go even further and set 90 million square metres as a target for next year. This is an extremely challenging objective, but we are discussing it with the governors in order to be able to reach it.
The fact that we have been supporting families with children is essential, Mr President. Thank you very much for that. This is what matters the most, and really helps people out there.
On this slide, you can see the most important development: the number of construction permits almost doubled compared to last year. This means that construction is actually gaining momentum, and people believe in this sector.
Comprehensive territorial development has been quite good, and a law was adopted to this effect last year, quite a challenging law by the way. Thank you for supporting it. Projects are underway in four regions. All in all, 478 projects will give us 106 million square metres in various settlements. This effort will reshape entire cities and neighbourhoods, and we are committed to carrying this momentum forward.
We intend to keep working along these lines on housing construction for the next three years, and to expand our operations from year to year. We are working with the governors to make this possible.
I would like to say a few words about road construction. To begin with, I would like to thank you for making a number of important decisions during the pandemic last year to proactively allocate money for development.
Vladimir Putin: That was your proposal, and so was the one concerning the human resources involved in road construction. I remember how we discussed that working in the open air was better than staying in a hostel.
Marat Khusnullin: Mr President, thanks to this decision, we exceeded the annual plan by 12 percent last year, and we are progressing ahead of schedule. We actually opened more federal roads last year than ever before. This year, to maintain the trend, we are again going to show an increase of 6 percent – even against last year’s record – in the physical volume of asphalt paving, and 10 percent in terms of the funding spent.
Vladimir Putin: Are you saying you spend more money than asphalt?
Marat Khusnullin: We make advance payments so that we can buy materials in time. We have no doubt that we will exceed our plans this year. We are also 100 billion ahead, that is, we have shifted the money “to the left.” And thank you very much for the proposal at the party congress in June to allocate another 30 billion for the repair of motorways – that is additional money for the regions.
Vladimir Putin: This is not too much where road construction is concerned, you just need to spend it wisely and look at each region. We have more than 500,000 kilometres of regional roads, and only 60,000 federal roads, compare that to 500,000, and then there are more than 900,000 local roads, almost a million. If I remember correctly, we had plans to improve more local roads than even regional ones; we were planning about 85.
Marat Khusnullin: We planned to improve 85 percent of roads in all extended urban areas and around them, and we will meet this target. With regional and municipal roads, we plan to improve more than 50 percent by 2024, and in general, the overall network, the backbone road network we have been working on, the main roads of our country – we plan to bring 85 percent up to standard by 2024. This is a very ambitious plan, and we are working on it.
Can I go on?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, please.
Marat Khusnullin: We have achieved a good road safety level. We have reduced mortality under the Safe and High-Quality Roads National Project.
Vladimir Putin: We need to continue this work together with the police and road workers. We should not be losing as many people to road accidents as during military operations.
What I see is a comprehensive effort, and the Interior Ministry is working better and better, and so are the road workers. These are comprehensive efforts, and we must also develop medical aviation to be able to help people in the first hour after an accident. We need to work in all areas, on all dimensions.
Marat Khusnullin: Mr President, we are working on this at the road safety commission, and we are doing very well. The first results are fairly good. We are achieving a steady decline, even though traffic has increased this year – last year, there were restrictions during the first six months.
Vladimir Putin: It is imperative to help the regions build crossings – both overhead and underground crossings. This should be done systematically.
Marat Khusnullin: Yes, Mr President. We will do this, we will continue.
Vladimir Putin: I ask you to continue working on this, of course.
Marat Khusnullin: This year we have made a breakthrough in the sphere of legal regulation. I have updated you about this several times. You have issued many instructions and signed several laws, or more precisely 10 federal laws, which stipulate 60 important amendments aimed at reducing the investment and construction cycle in the industry by 30 percent.
Vladimir Putin: Very good.
Marat Khusnullin: I will explain what this includes a bit later. In addition, the Government has adopted 136 regulations. This means that we will be able to carry on with this job very stringently.
In the past, we had regulations for 96 construction procedures in the sphere of housing construction alone. Thanks to the recent changes, the number has been reduced to 32. In addition to those 96 procedures, we also had up to a hundred various approvals. Thanks to the decisions we have made, the number of approvals has been cut to 50, which will reduce the timeframe by 30 percent overall.
This brings me to the main question and request to you, Mr President. We would like you to instruct the Government, the Government Executive Office and the heads of the regions to adjust their regulations accordingly. We have accomplished a great deal together with the Federation Council and the State Duma in manual mode. Now we need to finalise and implement these regulations. This will allow us to reduce the timeframe by 30 percent and save 1.5–2 trillion rubles by doing this quicker – this is our main breakthrough instrument, and we have learned to use it quite well.
Vladimir Putin: If we get all of this together and move forward, we will achieve our objective of 120 million square metres.
Marat Khusnullin: Exactly, Mr President.
We have also greatly improved the transfer of communication lines and the connection of customers by simplifying and reducing the cost of this process. We have adjusted a complicated law on airport environs, which is especially important for Moscow Region and cities with million-plus populations. We have found a compromise solution.
Vladimir Putin: It should also be remembered that excessive regulations hamper effective work.
Marat Khusnullin: Mr President, since September 1, we have officially cancelled 3,800 standards. Overall, over the past two years, the status of 6,800 out of 10,500 standards has been changed from obligatory to advisable. We have corrected many imbalances and opened the doors to new technologies.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Khusnullin, one of the main issues concerns, of course, construction economics. As you are aware, several construction companies have appealed to me, and I have issued relevant instructions to the Government. I am sure that you are also dealing with these matters.
Marat Khusnullin: Mr President, we are dealing with these matters very seriously. We have divided the construction economics into component parts, analysing what should be done about human resources and the increase in the cost of materials.
Vladimir Putin: Good.