Taking part in the meeting were Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, deputy prime ministers Tatyana Golikova and Marat Khusnullin, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Labour and Social Protection Minister Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev, Minister of Construction and Housing and Utilities Vladimir Yakushev, Governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation Elvira Nabiullina, Head of the Federal Tax Service Daniil Yegorov, First Deputy Minister of Transport Innokenty Alafinov, heads of the republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, governors of Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Omsk, Ryazan, Sverdlovsk regions and St Petersburg, Head of SME Corporation Alexander Braverman, as well as people who spoke about their experience with getting social payments and benefits.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, friends.
We agreed to regularly review the status of the implementation of the measures to support the people, the social sphere and the economy and to be on top of these matters at all times. We held a series of industry-specific meetings, where we discussed these matters as well.
I would like to reiterate that strictly following the instructions, meeting the deadlines by the Government and various agencies, adopting regulatory acts and transferring money to the regions is not the only thing that is critically important. It is, of course, important and must be done. Still, these are purely technical internal things to do with management.
However, what really matters is the result and how tangible and timely the support is to individuals, families and companies, and what they think about the effectiveness of these measures as they apply to them and their friends, families and colleagues.
Therefore, today, I asked you to bring in people from all walks of life who received social benefits or decided to take advantage of mortgage benefits or salary grants to pay their employees. Based on what they tell us, we will be able to identify the successful solutions that need to be replicated in our future work and the problems that need our attention and, maybe, adjustments to our policies.
As you may recall, when the very first steps to combat the epidemic were adopted, we realised that the restrictions we had to impose – as elsewhere in the world – would inevitably affect business activity, the economy, business, and, of course, incomes and the well-being of the people. Therefore, we had to resolve two problems: to ensure the safety of the people and to act proactively, which we managed to accomplish overall. It was important to slow down the epidemic and to minimise its negative socioeconomic consequences.
The reasoning behind our actions was to primarily support individuals, especially families with children, to ensure employment, and to help businesses retain jobs and work teams.
All packages of measures were adopted on reasonable grounds and were implemented consistently based on the developments in the economy and on the labour market. The amount of support and the timing were chosen to make it as effective as possible so help would go to those who needed it most. This approach precluded any populism. It was based on peoples’ situations and provided targeted help.
Today, I would like to hear primarily about direct social benefits for children and whether all entitled families received the benefits on time and in full.
Serious measures have been taken to support people who are temporarily out of work, especially parents with minor children.
Much was done to support self-employed individuals. They are now receiving refunds on taxes paid in 2019, and are also provided with tax capital to pay taxes this year.
Other important measures include non-repayable subsidies to support employment (in May and June), which are being made available to affected enterprises. Easy-term loans are available for such enterprises as well. In addition, subsidised loans are also provided to systemic companies that found themselves in a difficult situation. I would like to hear today in detail how many individuals and enterprises took advantage of these support measures.
Finally, it was critical to not let this difficult situation make people postpone their plans, including ones that are important for families and each person, such as buying new housing, but, on the contrary, to have additional opportunities here. Therefore, we came up with easy-term mortgage loans with an APR of 6.5 percent. We will see how it works and whether this programme needs any fine-tuning.
Vladimir Putin: I would like to say in conclusion that during today’s discussion people and business representatives have given their evaluations and ideas. I would like to ask the Government to consider them and work on them. If there really are flaws, please adjust and correct the decisions that have already been made and consider this experience when developing new support measures for the people and the economy. I believe this will be necessary, because we still have the difficult stage of restoring the economy, the labour market and the normal rhythm of life ahead of us.
In this sense, let me remind you that an entire package of measures expires on July 1. We have to weigh and assess everything and decide soon which measures should be extended and what additional solutions must be found to further develop the implemented programmes.
For example, we recommend people 65-plus stay at home. In many regions, these people have not been invited back to work yet. As a rule, these are the working elderly. They cannot return to work and their payment benefits are expiring. We must think about this. I would like to ask the Government to present some proposals.
I would like to ask my colleagues from the Government to quickly submit proposals on this so there would be no gaps or technical problems in the support system for people or in the economy and so all decisions can be made on a timely basis, in advance, as we have managed to do in most cases.
I would also like to note, for all our colleagues both at the federal and regional levels, that the implementation of immediate support measures must be constantly controlled. At the same time, the focus must not shift away from the current work, of course, especially from strategic tasks and the implementation of our plans and national projects.
Let me repeat that we not only need to restore the economy but restore it to a new level and as quickly as possible. We will discuss these issues on the long-term agenda separately. With this in mind, we have to work on the priorities of our budget for the next three years.
Overall, I believe the work is going quite well. I would like to thank all the participants in today’s meeting. It was very useful.