The meeting was attended by the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov, Deputy Prime Minister – Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today I suggest discussing the current economic situation in the country and looking at urgent tasks in the real economy, the budget and the money and credit area.
To begin with, I will note that Russia is keeping its positive economic growth rates: this has continued for 13 quarters running. According to estimates, in January-May, the GNP increased by 0.7 percent and industrial production by 2.4 percent.
At the same time it is necessary to achieve a more sustained, and, most importantly, more dynamic growth; we have repeatedly talked about this.
To achieve this, it is necessary to sustain general macro-economic stability, maintain the stability of state finances, return inflation to the target figure of 4 percent and ensure the further reduction of unemployment rates. That said, it is important to point out that our tentative forecasts linked with the forced increase of the VAT still justify themselves. After a small increase, inflation began going down and now, on July 8, it stands at 4.6 percent. We also have record low unemployment of 4.5 percent. Nonetheless, we should closely monitor all these parameters and adjust our work if need be.
The growth of the effectiveness of the domestic economy is a major component and strategic task in this sense. Among other things, it is necessary to promptly carry out measures under the national programme to raise labour productivity. Let me note that this is a decisive factor in increasing salaries and incomes and we should certainly focus our attention on this.
It is necessary to create new incentives for developing small and medium-sized business and improve the business and investment climate. Let me recall that in the past two years, investment in fixed assets increased by more than 4 percent, but in the first quarter of this year growth was merely 0.5 percent. Yes, probably, these are some adjustments after fairly decent growth but we should look at what is happening there and I would like to hear your opinion on this. And, of course, it is necessary to pay special attention to financial support for business initiatives.
I suggest we discuss these and other issues in more detail today. Let us start.