The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Alexei Zabotkin.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.
The Government is completing its work on the draft federal budget for the next three years: 2024 and the 2025–2026 planning period.
Let me stress that the current economic situation is stable and balanced in general. My colleagues and I discuss this constantly, almost every day: both with the Prime Minister and the economic bloc. Today we will meet separately with Mr Mishustin and talk.
I would like to say upfront that the situation with a number of key indicators is better than earlier estimates and forecasts.
As a reminder, in April GDP growth for this year was expected to be at 1.2 percent. Initially, some drop was expected, but then the forecast was corrected: 1.2 percent was suggested, but in fact we have already exceeded this level, and by the end of the year, GDP growth could reach 2.5, and maybe even more, to 2.8 percent.
Consumer demand is increasing with positive dynamics. Heavy industry is growing steadily, primarily due to the manufacturing industries.
Even despite the effect of last year’s high base, investment in fixed assets continues to grow – plus 12.6 percent year-on-year.
As I have said, the situation is generally stabilising in terms of executing the current federal budget. In August, it was once again at a surplus. Yes, in general, so far – since the beginning of the year – there has been a slight deficit, but in August there was a surplus, and not for the first time.
It is important that non-oil and gas revenues are significantly higher than last year. In turn, oil and gas budget revenues recovered approximately to last year’s levels in July-August, and, considering the situation on global markets, continue to see growth.
Of course, it is clear that one of the main problems now is related to the rate of inflation. The main factor here is the weakening ruble, and it is necessary to clearly understand the reasons and make appropriate and prompt decisions, without delay. I know that the Government and the Central Bank will work professionally and, importantly, in a coordinated manner.
In fact, we can say that the recovery stage of the Russian economy is complete. We have withstood absolutely unprecedented external pressure and the sanctions onslaught of some ruling elite in the Western bloc: the ruling elite in individual countries that we call unfriendly. Russia’s GDP has reached 2021 levels, and now it is important to create conditions for further stable and long-term development.
In this regard, the new federal budget must be estimated objectively based on state priorities and national interests, as well as on the strategic and current plans in all the key areas. And, of course, first, it is necessary to guarantee strict fulfilment of all the state's social obligations to the people.
I know how much work the Government has already done: it is simply a lot in its scope and complexity. The draft budget has been prepared, and in general, I think it turned out to be well balanced. I know about all the disputes within the Government on these issues, but there is not much time left before a package of relevant draft laws is to be submitted to the State Duma, and we need to put a final point on it. It is necessary to use this budget effectively to finalise and specify some details.
As per tradition, we will begin our discussion of the draft budget with the macroeconomic forecast it is built on and a general assessment of economic development challenges.
Please, Maxim Reshetnikov, you have the floor.