President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
The Economic Council Presidium is at work once again, this time with the task of discussing and outlining key guidelines and objectives for our economic policy through to 2025 and identify the main factors for economic growth and social sector development.
This task is particularly relevant today. Most experts agree that the Russian economy has stabilised in general and has adapted to the current circumstances. Now it is important to look ahead and turn to matters of a more strategic nature.
Just recently, I discussed with the Government members the state of progress in implementing the 2012 presidential executive orders. We summed up the interim results. Back then, in 2012, these executive orders set the general directions for changes in the country’s main areas of life and set the needed pace for these transformations. But, I repeat, we must now look further ahead and set new goals, not just current tasks, but objectives of a more long-term nature.
In this respect, I propose that the Economic Council Presidium serve as the platform for holding a whole series of discussions, including on the transformations that will take place in our social sector, in healthcare, education, and the housing and utilities system, technological modernisation of our country’s economy, improving the business climate, and enhancing our state management system.
We will meet regularly over the coming period to discuss these subjects, over the next 12–18 months if need be.
Let me note that we discuss these subjects regularly with our colleagues in the Government, its economic block, and with the Central Bank. But the Economic Council gives us the chance to hold a broader and more open discussion, and at the same time pursue a detailed and professional dialogue with not just these officials but also with members of the State Duma, regional heads, and business and academic community representatives.
Let me add that the Presidium’s membership includes people with a range of different views. In some cases, they hold diametrically opposed views on various aspects of our socioeconomic development. But this is precisely the advantage of working in this format. It gives us the chance to debate and discuss alternative approaches and look at issues from different angles. I think you would agree with me that no one should have a monopoly on the truth in economic discussions.
During these discussions, I ask you all to put aside as much as possible ideological preferences and not stay locked within particular theoretical constructs and concepts, but to take a pragmatic approach and concentrate on coming up with realistic and objective decisions.
In this respect, I want to emphasise that all ideas and initiatives should be accompanied by practical mechanisms for their implementation. We will examine these proposals, which in the future will form the basis of the programme documents we draft.
I propose today that we start with the growth sources for Russia’s economy over the next decade.
As we have noted on past occasions, the current dynamic shows us that the reserves and resources that served as driving forces for our economy at the start of the 2000s no longer produce the effects they used to. I have said in the past, and want to stress this point again now, economic growth does not get underway again all on its own. If we do not find new growth sources, we will see GDP growth of around zero, and then our possibilities in the social sector, national defence and security, and in other areas, will be considerably lower than what is needed for us to really develop the country and make progress.
We must simultaneously ensure higher growth rates in the economy and carry out structural reforms to make it more efficient. At the same time, it is very important to preserve macroeconomic stability and not allow the budget deficit to grow and inflation to pick up speed.
The experts have already started drafting concrete proposals at the Economic Council’s working group. I hope we will hear something about them today, and we will also hear the proposals from the Government and the business community representatives.
Let’s begin our work.