President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues,
This meeting today is the latest videoconference on implementing presidential instructions. This format has proved its worth as a sensible and productive means of enabling me to discuss things directly with the people in charge, with the people carrying out the instructions, and thus obtain firsthand information. I think that we need to develop this kind of work in more systematic fashion. As I understand it, the Control Directorate is now developing a special application that will give us a real time overall picture of the progress of presidential instructions’ implementation together with the information on deadline violations and names of the officials responsible for non-fulfilment.
Today we will examine the main instructions for which the deadlines are coming up now or very soon. One of the most important matters this year is the work on providing Great Patriotic War veterans with housing. As we agreed, I have kept this work under my personal control. You remember the rules that we set. All veterans that were registered before March 1, 2005, have received housing by now, but following the meeting of the Pobeda (Victory) Steering Committee in April, I gave the instruction to provide apartments to veterans who registered after March 1, 2005. This instruction has a deadline of October 1, 2011. This is a broad and quite complex issue. I spoke with the regional governors recently, and they said they do not all have the necessary resources. They want us to increase the share of federal funding for this work. Whatever the case, this work must be completed.
Another of the traditional issues in our country is preparation for the winter. This affects the interests of millions of our people. Last year, we had cases of unjustified tariff increases for housing and utilities sector services and cases when heating was not provided in time. I have already issued instructions on the housing and utilities sector, on modernising equipment and networks. The Federal Tariffs Service now conducts monthly monitoring of housing and utilities payments. As I already said, I intend to devote this coming month entirely to this sector’s work. This is timely given that winter is arriving, and that people are particularly concerned about this issue, concerned about tariff increases, how far they could rise, and transparency of the new rates.
These are the two subjects I wanted to start with. Let’s begin work.
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I said already that state corporations must operate under strict state supervision, with clear aims, on the principles of transparency, and with clear results. The draft law [on reorganising state corporations] must therefore be passed, and this should be done rapidly, because this work has already dragged on long enough. Supervision of state corporations must be as clear as possible so as to avoid all manner of guesses and speculation about their activities and the results of the various deals they conclude.
This is all the more important as the Government has taken a series of decisions recently to reduce state participation in the economy. I am referring to decisions on privatisation. We cannot allow a situation when the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. In other words, if the Government supports this privatisation policy and the deals involving state enterprises, which could be transferred to private hands now, this should serve as a big incentive for these efforts and for the corporations themselves until they complete their missions and are reorganised, as was Rusnano, for example, on a joint-stock basis, or on the basis of some other chosen form of operation. This work must therefore continue. I hope that it will be quality work. And supervision of the state enterprises’ activities must be at the proper level. As for the results of their work – they will be positive.
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We need consistent effort to put this sector [the state procurement system] in order. As I said, we are not just talking about medical equipment, but about practically every area in which state funds are spent. This is not just about buying goods, but about contracting work and services too. These are also essential areas, only they are even harder to control, because it is a lot more difficult to assess the real correlation between the cost of services provided and the real market price.
Concerning rising costs of works, we all know about how notorious the construction sector is for stealing money. We therefore need to carry out systemic work and, as I said, looking at the situation in the regions, we need to get right to the bottom of who is involved in these schemes and send them to prison. Sort out what’s what and send the guilty to jail. This is the only solution.
Unlike in some countries, we do not have the death penalty for crimes such as this. Some people think this would help. But there can be no question in anyone’s mind, above all in the minds of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee, that such crimes deserve lengthy prison terms.
As for building up our own equipment base and not having to depend on imports, on foreign equipment, we need to develop our own production.