Vladimir Putin: Monitoring federal budget expenditure is a key task of the state as a whole.
Budget discipline without any doubt – and I don’t need to say it to this audience – is the foundation of a healthy economy. How scrupulously it is observed and maintained determines not only the success of various agencies but overall progress in the social and economic sphere; and improvements in that sphere are, at the end of the day, our common task.
Financial monitoring has many aspects to it. It involves many agencies. Each has its powers and its responsibilities. But together they constitute the system of financial control in the country.
Speaking about the system of financial monitoring in the country as a whole we should pay attention to interaction. It has always been a sore spot.
We should do everything to avoid any overlaps. On the contrary, interaction between various agencies in this sphere must be aimed at eliminating any overlap in their work and at a pooling of efforts in tackling key tasks.
That is why I would like to stress that for the Audit Chamber, which is a body that monitors the budget, it is very important to cooperate closely not only with the Federal Assembly, which is natural and pivotal, but also with the Government of the Russian Federation and its local bodies; and hopefully with the Main Control Directorate, too.
The Audit Chamber is a potent instrument both in terms of its powers and the significance of its tasks. In creating that agency our primary aim was to create a modern and democratic mechanism of budget monitoring, a mechanism, it should be stressed, that is politically neutral and independent of factional or corporate interests and preferences. I think we have largely achieved that goal.
We would very much like the activities of the Audit Chamber to be devoid of publicity or at least to be accompanied by a minimum of publicity. Publicity should be minimised. And we would like to see more professional work aimed at identifying the problems that are relevant to your profession and at fulfilling your tasks.
Along with the functions of auditing you are actively engaged today in improving the budget process as such. On your initiative important amendments have been introduced into next year’s budget. I would like to thank you for that. I am aware that you pay special attention to compliance with tax legislation and to reducing the shadow economy. All that is directly relevant to enhancing the efficiency of the Russian economy. It is a very important and by no means an auxiliary component in the activities of the Audit Chamber.
Another important area is the sphere of inter-budgetary relations. Monitoring the flow and expenditure of government funds at all the levels of the budget system is extremely important. I know that your resources do not always match the magnitude of the problems the country faces in that sphere, but I urge you to pay attention to it. Moreover, I would ask you to join the work to improve inter-budgetary relations and come up with some proposals in this sphere. Because well-thought-out, precise and competent decisions in this sphere will go a long way to determining success in tackling the key task that confronts us today: delimiting the powers between municipal, regional and federal bodies. That is an important challenge for the state as a whole, and I count on your professional support.