President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear colleagues, we have two subjects to discuss today.
First, I would like to inform the cabinet that I have signed the Budget Statement on fiscal policy for 2009 – 2011. In this Budget Statement I set the following goals for the government:
First, ensuring a stable and balanced budget system – I have in mind both the three-year plan, which we will be looking at today, and the fifteen-year cycle of financial forecasts.
Second, to undertake all necessary measures to bring down inflation, meeting the benchmarks that we set for ourselves some time ago. To do this will require paying serious attention to macroeconomic indicators using the process that has become known as targeting.
I hope that we will make all the decisions necessary to do this, and that we will be able to do what we have to do: firstly, to safeguard our citizens’ incomes, providing them with financial solvency, and secondly, to reduce interest rates for businesses, which will certainly be of great importance to the business climate in the country.
Third, we must create a sustainable mechanism for pensions over the long term. This is also a major challenge. First, we need a decent pension, which should be paid to all categories of citizens and, secondly, we need to assure proper sustainability of the financial system, which provides the pensions in the first place.
Fourth, we have another very important task: the transitional period for cooperation with municipalities is coming to an end. Local government is already operating at a new level, and we must achieve complete financial security of cooperation between the regions of the Russian Federation and municipalities. This is a very important task in which we have been engaged for a number of years now.
Fifth, we must address the efficiency of budget spending by switching to the provision of public services through public and legislative assignments on a per capita basis. We have also been engaged with this, as a pilot version and in its complete form. And now this issue is part of the Budget Statement.
Moreover, in the Statement we have identified priority areas for spending, the ones we have repeatedly discussed with you, distinguished colleagues: above all health, education, research and experimental design activities and transportation infrastructure. In short, everything involved in realising the goals we have set ourselves for 2020.
The second issue on which we must now make a final decision is on ways of optimising military officers’ incomes. This involves an increase in financing that will provide payments to certain categories of officers. We took up this issue some time ago and have already done a couple of months work on it. The money will go to those working in knowledge-intensive jobs and branches of the armed forces, to troops in a state of constant alert and to those on combat duty.
We have drafted these proposals. I know that today you have finalised your report, Anatoly Eduardovich [Serdyukov, Minister of Defense]. We will make the decisions and put these costs in the budget.
Those are the two subjects for today's meeting.