Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina on updated forecasts for social and economic development for 2008–2010
Elvira Nabiullina: We have updated the three-year social and economic development forecast for the country for 2008–2010. Overall, the updated forecasts have been revised upwards. We have updated the GDP growth rate and estimate that it will grow by 6.6 percent in 2008. Our September forecast was for GDP growth of 6.4 percent. We have also revised upwards the GDP growth forecast for 2009 from 6 percent to 6.3 percent, and for 2010 from 6.3 percent to 6.4 percent.
These revised figures take into account the positive growth over this year and our more optimistic assessment of the foreign economic situation. They also reflect our reassessment of the industrial output growth rate. We have revised industrial output growth upwards from 5.2 percent to 5.7 percent in 2008, from 4.9 percent to 5.5 percent in 2009, and from 5.2 percent to 5.6 percent in 2010. These figures are based on our assessment of the impact made by investment growth over 2005–2007. This increased investment is making our industry more competitive and creates opportunities for us to replace imports with local goods over 2008–2011. We have seen the greatest positive effect in the machine-building sector, which has the highest growth curve. Our updated figures raise the growth forecast in the machine-building sector from 8.2 percent to 13 percent in 2008, from 7 percent to 11.8 percent in 2009, and from 6.7 percent to 13 percent in 2010. We also see a positive trend in the chemicals industry and have revised the forecast upwards accordingly for 2008, 2009, and 2010.
This revision of growth rates for GDP and industrial output in the different sectors gives us reason to expect that we will be able to keep entirely within the parameters set out in the three-year budget.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak on the Government’s upcoming examination of the federal targeted programme for developing southern Russia
Dmitry Kozak: The draft programme for developing southern Russia has been submitted to the Government and is due to be examined on Thursday. Total financing from the federal budget comes to 52 billion roubles. The programme will be implemented over a 4-year period, from 2008 to 2012. Unlike previous programmes, this programme puts the emphasis on removing infrastructure bottlenecks in the way of business development. This means, above all, comprehensive development of industrial sites and a co-financing programme to provide assistance for this development in practically every region. In other words, this is a programme for economic growth that differs to past programmes, which channelled most of their funds into dealing with social issues.
The programme also has a social component but it is not as prominent. We addressed social issues during the preceding period.
Vladimir Putin: Do you think that you resolved all the social issues over that period and do not need to give them attention now?
Dmitry Kozak: We did not resolve every problem, of course.
Vladimir Putin: Go back and take a closer look at everything: all of the economic measures we take ultimately need to have social results, have an impact on the social situation. Make sure you analyse the programme from this point of view when the Government examines it.
First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov on the upcoming opening of a new microchip production line at the Micron Enterprise in Zelenograd
Sergei Ivanov: A new production line manufacturing microchips with a topological level of 0.18 microns will open on Wednesday at the Micron Enterprise in Zelenograd. This is a state-of-the-art enterprise that has world-standard technology. The new production line will produce 18,000 microchips a year. This will give us with the supply of microchips we need, especially for our passport and visa services. The microchips will be used in passports and in a number of advanced technology sectors in industry. This new production line marks a significant advance for Russia in making microchips of this standard. This is important for the entire microelectronics sector and I will therefore also hold a meeting in Zelenograd on developing microelectronics in the civilian sector of the economy. All of the new production line’s output will be going precisely to the civilian sector.
Vladimir Putin: Will there be any benefit for the defence sector too?
Sergei Ivanov: Yes, but we established this production line together with our French partners and the plan is for all of the output to be used in the civilian sector.
Vladimir Putin: When I went out there not so long ago our companies had quite ambitious plans for developing their activities in this area.
Sergei Ivanov: They are carrying out these plans now.
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin on work with Turkmen and Kazakh partners on building the Caspian Pipeline
Sergei Naryshkin: A Government instruction has been issued approving the draft inter-governmental agreement between the three countries on cooperation in building the Caspian Pipeline. The draft agreement was drawn up in accordance with the declaration signed by the presidents of the three countries on constructing a gas transport system. The agreement provides for intensive cooperation between the three countries on the supply and transportation of gas produced in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. It sets out provisions for carrying out a technical and economic feasibility study that will begin in the second half of 2008, and stipulates the organisations empowered by each of the parties. The agreement will need to be ratified. It is now ready for signature.
Vladimir Putin: As you know, the President of Kazakhstan is due to make a working visit to Russia soon. I ask you, together with our colleagues and partners in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, to look at how to make of this visit to take another step forward in carrying out this project.
Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov on his upcoming visit to the Far East
Viktor Zubkov: I want to fly to Sakhalin today so that I can take a look tomorrow at how the cleanup operations are going after the earthquake that struck the region. Work is underway there and I receive regular reports from the regional authorities. Housing and social facilities are being built. But it is already the end of the year and some delays in planned work have been experienced. I therefore want to see for myself how the reconstruction work is going and also take a broader look at social development issues in general on Sakhalin and also on the Kuril Islands after the electricity blackouts there (incidentally, the reserve generator is expected to start running today and will provide reliable power supply to all of the islands). But I want to see what alternative energy sources exist, what possibilities there are. We will discuss these issues tomorrow with the governor in a broad meeting with the regional authorities.
From Sakhalin I will fly to Khabarovsk to chair a meeting of the state commission for developing the Far East and Trans-Baikal regions, to which the governors of Siberian and Far-Eastern regions have been invited. This will be on Wednesday. On Thursday, we will examine these matters at a government meeting. The week’s agenda is all about the Far East therefore, and we have a lot of work to get through. I will report in more detail afterwards.
Vladimir Putin: I would like to conclude with the following. As you know, the presidential election campaign has begun. Unfortunately, we find ourselves having to carry out a campaign right at the New Year period, but the law requires us to take these steps. You are no doubt aware that steps have already been taken. Representatives of four parties, including United Russia and A Just Russia came to me today with their proposals. They propose nominating one of our colleagues as candidate for the post of President of the Russian Federation. Their choice is Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev.
The issue that I would like to draw to the Government’s attention is that, despite the whole campaign process and all that it entails, the Government must continue to work like a good watch, not losing time, ensuring that all the state mechanisms keep running smoothly, and not letting itself be swayed by whatever ups and downs are taking place in the country’s political life. I know that [Prime Minister] Viktor Zubkov is an experienced and fine administrator and I am confident that he will do everything necessary. But all of the Cabinet members share this responsibility. I am sure that your professional and administrative future will depend in large part on how you carry out your work.
I wish you all success.