Valery Limarenko reported to the President that Sakhalin Region is thriving, and its indicators are quite optimistic: gross regional product is growing at the rate of 5.9 percent a year, and industrial output increased by 6.4 percent. Over the past two years, oil production grew by 11 percent, gas production climbed 8.3 percent, and coal output was up by 41.5 percent (for an annual increase of 20 percent).
At the same time, the Acting Governor drew the President’s attention to a specific feature in the region’s development. It has been historically developed on a rotation basis, which means that in many cases there were only temporary fixes to social issues, such as temporary housing, trail roads and temporary public facilities.
In this context, a decision was taken in the region to double housing construction. Gas infrastructure development is another challenge. Within the next five years, 81 percent of the population will have access to pipeline gas, and 19 percent will be able to use liquefied gas. This is a new technology for delivering gas to small towns, villages and islands, which is more environmentally friendly and cost-effective compared to diesel fuel or coal. This is a major investment project carried out together with Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller.
The region signed a programme with Energy Minister Alexander Novak to develop and upgrade power grids, while taking care of replacing rundown water supply and sewage networks, which account for about 50 percent of the utilities networks.
The third challenge is related to roads. Only one third of municipal roads in the region are paved. The road fund was increased by 60 percent in 2019, while road construction volumes grew by 90 percent. Priority is given to populated areas, i.e. municipalities.
Mr Limarenko asked Vladimir Putin to designate as a federal motorway Sakhalin’s main road that runs almost 1,000 km from north to south.
The Acting Governor and the President also discussed healthcare. The regional government has already resolved to carry out medical check-ups for the entire population. However, this effort requires special equipment. Sakhalin has 25 high-technology mobile complexes that can be used to this effect.
When the President asked the Acting Governor about the state of primary healthcare, as well as inter-district clinics, hospitals and outpatient clinics, Mr Limarenko said that the main challenge was understaffing, rather than the lack of equipment or the state of the buildings. The local healthcare institutions are currently staffed at the rate of 70 percent.
The decision to increase salaries for healthcare workers by 30 percent entered into force on April 1. In addition, the one-time allocation to those agreeing to relocate to the region to work in the local healthcare sector was increased to 2 million rubles. These people are also entitled to housing and preferential mortgage rates. This year, 250 qualified professionals are expected to be attracted to the region. This could help solve the staffing issue in the first six months of 2020.
Vladimir Putin instructed the Acting Governor to make sure that the health check-ups are actually carried out, that people do not have to travel long distances to get these check-ups and that mobile complexes are used to their maximum effect.