President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues!
I would like to begin with what I did in Karelia just now. As you know, I met with forestry specialists, and we discussed work on the Forest code. What we discussed with the Ministry of economic development and trade just before my visit – incidentally, the heads of several ministries and departments were present – we will summarise in the form of the following instructions. And I would ask you to take this into account during the revision of the documents which are currently being prepared.
Various opinions have been expressed on a number of key issues, including access to forestry resources: competitions and auctions. I think that this needs to be considered, given the experience with auctions in the fish industry. I won’t get into the details now, but there was criticism from specialists, and they need to be considered. This is the first point.
Secondly, we discussed housing and communal services with the leadership of Karelia and my envoy in the Northwest region Valetina Matvienko.
The Northwest Federal region is currently waiting for loans promised by the Government for preparation for winter. I know that the Head of Government has signed the appropriate decree. I would ask for efficient organisation of distribution of these resources where they are required. We have already said that we will not directly manage the process of preparation for winter. But the people who receive this money should have a feeling of responsibility, and money should be allocated according to its actual purpose.
There has been a summary of the overall results of economic development in the first half of this year. This gives us the opportunity to define accurately all the figures and parameters of economic development, and begin the final stage of preparing a draft budget for 2004. We have talked about this many times, and I know that the Government is working on this. Intensive work is underway by State Duma deputies who have a direct relationship to preparing this extremely important document for next year. They have not gone on holiday, they are still working. We have grounds to believe that we will finish this work within the required time limit. I ask you not to forgot about this, and would like to direct your attention to it.