Russian President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon dear colleagues!
Last year we adopted a three-year budget for the first time. Now we have to put into practice the three-year rolling mechanism provided for in the budget. This means that we have to think about the possible changes for this year, for 2009 – 2010 and already begin drawing up the budget for 2011.
The commitments we have already made should not be the subject of our discussion here nor in the Duma. These commitments have been taken on and we have to fulfill them; we just have to bear them in mind.
But what we need to work on is defining new priorities, priorities which can and should be realised by providing for additional budgetary expenditures. We need to adopt a cautious and balanced approach towards these additional expenditures. We must have complete confidence that the proposed expenses and tax innovations will work as effectively as possible to achieve our strategic goals for the economic and social development of Russia, improve the stability of our domestic economy, and minimise the negative effects caused by problems in international capital markets and those for raw materials and foodstuffs.
The innovative tax measures we are proposing must contribute to the process of instilling qualitative changes in the structure of the economy, help develop its innovative character, and improve the quality of life of Russian citizens.
With regards to the current discussions on introducing changes to the tax laws – and I know that this is taking place within the departments and that we are continually discussing these issues with business (just recently Dmitrii Anatolevich [Medvedev] met with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and discussed this topic once again) – these discussions must take into account the need to shift tax policy towards the establishment of a comprehensive system of tax incentives.
Further. Public investments should be a powerful factor in eliminating bottlenecks in transport and social infrastructure. We all know that public investment is not always the most effective kind, but with regards to the system that we are trying to implement, and in light of a certain visible success — I am referring to the fact that we have attracted funds from the regions and, most importantly, from private capital and private investors — in such a system public investments are very effective. Of course, I am not only referring to the amount invested but also to the most effective methods and forms of using public resources.
It is very important – I want to draw attention to this again and I fully support the efforts of the Finance Ministry and economic departments in this regard – it is very important to ensure macroeconomic stability. This remains our top priority.
Finally, I would draw your attention to the fact that we can achieve real tangible results only when we are able to qualitatively improve the management of state assets and state reserves. I am first and foremost thinking of the Reserve Fund and the National Prosperity Fund.
We have discussed these issues many times. Let's talk about them once again in light of what requires urgent attention: pension legislation, the pension system, wages and all that this implies.