The meeting was attended by Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
We regularly meet in this format, with the participation of senior officials of the Government, the Central Bank, and the Executive Office. Today, as usual, we will talk about the current situation in the economy, what is happening in the industry, the financial sector and other areas.
I would like to ask you to assess the situation as a whole. We will certainly discuss our medium and short-term prospects. This is all the more important because the State Duma is considering the draft federal budget. We will need to evaluate the economic situation in the context of the budget drafting process.
Overall, I would say that the national economy is stable, even though it would be premature to speak of a dramatic improvement. Over the nine months of 2016, we have recorded a small increase in industrial production, as have already noted, by 0.3 percent. Agriculture is demonstrating good growth rates of 3 percent. I believe that we have every reason to congratulate our farmers on this result. Good job.
Unemployment is at a relatively low level, 5.6 percent on average this year. We have succeeded in keeping inflation within acceptable limits. It was 4.7 percent from January 1 to November 7. Overall, this is a good indicator.
In accordance with the law – we have just talked about this with the Finance Minister – the budget deficit has to be 3.7 percent – exactly what it is. True, there are certain risks of a small increase. Let us talk about this too. Of course, nothing will happen if it rises to 3.8–3.9 percent, but we still need to work to keep it within the prescribed limits.
I have to admit that some industries are still failing to show growth, in particular manufacturing and construction. Let us discuss what we can do to support these industries and the national economy as a whole, to reinforce the positive trends, and give a boost to the lagging sectors.
In this context, allow me to remind you that the State Duma, as I have just said, has already begun to consider the draft federal budget for the next three years, including some proposed measures to stimulate economic growth.
Let us begin with this, but if you have any other questions that you think are important – we will discuss them as well. When we last gathered in this format, we agreed that we would need to adjust certain things. Appropriate instructions were issued, and now I would like us to look at how these instructions are being followed.