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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

From the transcript:

Meeting with the leadership of the State Duma and leaders of parliamentary factions

Mikhail Mishustin: Good afternoon, dear Vyacheslav Viktorovich! Dear leaders of factions, colleagues!

I am glad to welcome you to the Government House. I want to say that today we are completing work on the so-called zero reading. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your active participation, discussion of all issues related to the adoption of the budget. First of all, for a constructive approach and proposals that were voiced during the discussion of the draft budget with representatives of the Government – vice-premiers, ministers, heads of federal executive bodies.

Perhaps for the first time in many years, the work on the budget took place in such difficult conditions. In addition to sanctions and low oil prices, new socio-economic risks have emerged this year, primarily due to coronavirus infection. There was a significant reduction in the budget revenue base. Additional serious resources were needed to protect the life and health of people, first of all, and, of course, the country’s economy, to support it in difficult times.


Participants of the meeting of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin with the leadership of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and leaders of factions

Many of the decisions made continue to operate now and will work further, for the future. But, unfortunately, the factor of uncertainty remains. It is probably too early to announce a complete victory over the coronavirus, the situation is quite difficult.

In such conditions, the budget turned out to be, I would say, tense and in short supply. But it is aimed primarily at supporting people, which, among other things, representatives of the State Duma are constantly talking about. All our national resources, which we have managed to concentrate in the current moment, are aimed at this. Our task is to ensure that all funds are used as efficiently as possible in the course of further discussion of the budget in the State Duma.

I want to emphasize that, first of all, it is very important to fulfill all the social guarantees and obligations that the President of the Russian Federation has identified and which are unconditional priorities for the Government. This applies equally to the events that the President outlined in his message to the Federal Assembly, and those that are needed to achieve national goals.

During the preparation of the budget, the amount of funding for high-cost nosologies was increased, for which the Ministry of Health centrally purchases expensive drugs for 14 names. In addition, more than 60 billion rubles will be allocated for the treatment of children with orphan diseases. This became possible thanks, among other things, to your support in making a decision to increase the income tax rate to 15% for people who receive more than 5 million rubles a year. Moreover, funding for these purposes will be allocated as early as next year. Although, let me remind you, these funds will go to the budget only in 2022. This was a principled position that we shared with the State Duma. Once again, dear colleagues, I would like to thank you for this position.

The budget also provides for appropriate funds to index pensions above inflation. In a similar way (we have repeatedly discussed this with the Chairman of the State Duma), the minimum wage and living wage will be indexed, on the basis of which many benefits for people in our country are calculated.

We have allocated resources for the extension of the preferential mortgage program at 6.5% per annum. This will help to reduce the costs of people to purchase housing.

The budget also provides funds for the continuation of programs for the formation of a comfortable urban environment and the integrated development of rural areas. Support for ten regions with the lowest socio-economic indicators will also remain. We will annually allocate 10 billion rubles for individual programs of these constituent entities of the Russian Federation. State Duma deputies from these regions took an active part in the discussion and implementation of these programs.

Of course, it is probably impossible to go through all the forks during the preliminary, zero reading. For example, we still have to redistribute subsidies between regions. I am confident that by joint efforts we will be able to resolve all issues in the course of further work on the document, including in the framework of its preparation for the second reading.

We understand very well that the federal budget is at the same time a reference point for the regions. Gives them an idea of ​​what help they can count on and where they need to direct their own funds and resources. This will allow them to better plan their actions.

Dear colleagues!

The changes that were made to the Russian Constitution this year have significantly expanded the powers of the State Duma. We have strengthened its role in the processes of further development of our country. Including – thanks to the opportunity to work directly with your voters who live in your regions, the ability to solve their problems and, of course, protect their interests.

I hope that you will support all the main social initiatives that we have included in the budget. All steps that are aimed at supporting people. They were widely discussed, including with the factions of the State Duma. I hope that we will discuss all these issues today.

I propose to move on to the discussion.

Vyacheslav Viktorovich (addressing V. Volodin), you have the floor.

Viacheslav Volodin at a meeting with the leadership of the State Duma and leaders of parliamentary factions

Vladimir Volodin: Dear Mikhail Vladimirovich! Dear colleagues!

Today’s conversation is extremely important for us. We are practically on the eve of the consideration of the budget in the first reading, on October 28 the State Duma will consider the budget. We came prepared today, considering that all the previous State Duma committees and factions have been studying the draft budget law.

It should be noted that the Government conducted a dialogue with each profile committee on each state program. In this regard, it would be correct to express my gratitude to the ministers who took part in the work of the committees, not only answered questions, but also worked out solutions to the problems that the deputies identified – this is extremely important. There is no trust without dialogue, and when there is no trust, it is quite obvious that it is pointless to talk about resolving issues. This work built trust.

We have an understanding that the draft budget law solves the problems of our citizens, protects them in difficult times – the time of challenges associated with a pandemic, a slowdown in economic growth. All this is an integral part of today. In this regard, we understand the responsibility that falls on the shoulders of each deputy when considering the law on the budget. Because we need to not only protect our citizens, but also do everything to achieve the goals and objectives set by the President, to improve the well-being of our citizens, and to develop the economy.

In this regard, I want to emphasize that the conversation was often difficult. I suppose that even today it will not be very simple, because each faction has its own position on certain approaches and priorities. But in general, we can talk about budget support – the leaders of the factions will speak about this a little later, but we can already see it by the mood of the deputies, by the decisions made by the committees. And of course, everyone is worried that problems are solved even more effectively. But we are also aware that the budget is deficit, that the pace of the economy has slowed down, just like in the whole world. At the same time, our country passes through these challenges more effectively. The decline in economic growth rates in Russia is less than in many more stable foreign economies. And of course, in this situation, we must express our gratitude to the President for the earlier decision to create reserves. There were many critical words from our colleagues in this part, but today everyone understands: if we did not have reserves, we would not be able to go through the challenges our country faced. And it should be emphasized once again that we are not overcoming these challenges at the expense of citizens, as it was in the 1990s, as it was in the years that we remember from the history of our country, back in the Soviet period. Today these challenges are being overcome with state support. Moreover, whether it is a situation related to a pandemic, or a situation related to a drop in economic growth, it is important for us to continue to follow this course, because this is the meaning of the welfare state. Moreover, you rightly said that the adopted amendments to the Constitution further protect the rights of our citizens.

But speaking of the budget, I must say that we also have a number of proposals. And I would like to voice these proposals so that in the remaining time – not only before consideration in the first reading, but also during the work on the budget before the second reading – we could exchange views and work out solutions. Because, in our opinion, there are issues related to the large difference in the budgetary provision of the regions. And that’s the problem. In a number of regions, where the gap with the most budget-secured regions is seven times smaller, it is difficult to solve social issues and achieve the goals set by the President.

In this regard, it would be correct to consider the possibility of continuing this work, which began last year. Here it should be emphasized that the position of the Ministry of Finance in this was constructive. And we see that the territories with the lowest budgetary provision, within the framework of the programs that were developed, began to receive additional assistance. We believe it is right that this assistance and approaches should be preserved, improved, and we hope that in this way we will be able to narrow the gap in budgetary provision.

Speaking of problems and approaches, I would like to name one more issue that may require additional solutions and support from the Government. We are talking about regions with high population decline. This is an issue that requires additional study, as well as, possibly, the formation of individual support programs for regions where this situation has developed over the past several years – health care support, family support and other issues. We also propose to create a working group together with the Government, in order to study the situation and then make proposals on support measures that relate to a number of our regions, which cannot cope with this challenge on their own.

Well, when discussing the draft budget, we proceeded from the fact that there is a task of overcoming the challenges associated with a slowdown in economic growth, and we must come up with additional revenues, in any case, we hope so – it should not be otherwise. In this regard, there are a number of topics that could be identified and, having predicted the situation in the economy, further support, for example, the solution of issues related to the modernization of urban public transport. In our recipient regions, cities on their own cannot solve this problem. Trams today already cost 60 million, trolleybuses – over 20 million, and buses are expensive, so subsidized budgets will not solve this problem on their own. Therefore, in this regard, we propose, if our incomes grow, plan a solution to this issue and also form a program to support the modernization of urban transport.

The same approach would be correct to choose in relation to the issue related to rural mortgage. We see how effective the decision to reduce mortgage interest rates in cities was. Indeed, this has already shown a positive result in the first approximation. We believe that it would be right to support rural mortgage as well, especially since it is 3% in comparison with urban – this is a serious step towards lowering the interest rate. But at the same time, the resources for this direction, in the opinion of our colleagues from the profile committee and factions, are insufficient. It would be good if we are talking about additional income, which, if a positive scenario develops in the economy, should provide additional resources in the future to support the social development of the countryside, for the construction of housing in the countryside at a preferential rate of mortgage lending.

Here, perhaps, is an incomplete list, in any case, of the key issues that were raised during the discussion of the budget, and, accordingly, the proposals that were expressed by both the relevant committees and factions in the framework of the study of the budget and the dialogue with the Ministry of Finance and other relevant ministries.

Mikhail Vladimirovich, it would be right for us to continue this dialogue after the consideration of the budget in the first reading, because the second reading, the consideration of amendments … You know this well, especially since you have always worked in dialogue with the parliament. It is important for us to maintain the dialogue, to do everything so that we can use it as much as possible to solve the problems of our citizens, in the interests of our country.

Thank you for the opportunity today to conduct the final stage of the conversation, so that the day after tomorrow we consider the budget in the first reading.

Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you, dear Vyacheslav Viktorovich. I will react immediately, if you will, and then at the end, after the presentation of all our distinguished colleagues, I will try to formulate our vision and answers to the relevant questions.

What you said is very important. I will start right away with an important issue – the appropriate subsidies, the possibility of equalizing the budgetary provision of our regions.

Despite the fact that revenues have fallen, we have kept – in a dialogue with the State Duma – the corresponding amount of expenditures for the budgetary provision of the regions, it is 718 billion rubles. Although, if you look at the situation with a decrease in budget revenues, it should have decreased by 27 billion rubles. We didn’t. And the corresponding funds in the budget have been planned, which will allow us to reduce the difference in budgetary provision of the regions with such a reduction in income. This is important, and thank you again for this principled position.

Second. About regions where the demographic situation is so difficult. You know that this is the initiative of the President, and you supported it. A number of decisions have been made. This includes payments for children from three to seven years old, and an increase in maternity capital, and co-financing with these regions of payments for the third child and subsequent children.

All this, combined with the programs of appropriate assistance, which I spoke about, including where the difficult socio-economic situation is, provides such additional assistance. I hope that we will see in dialogue what else can be done.

The creation of a working group is, of course, supported. Here we will await relevant proposals from you, and we will ask the Government to take part in it for deputy prime ministers and our fellow ministers.

In general, we now have a lot of tools for working with regions. And I really hope that we will optimize this approach.

Finally, regarding rural mortgages. I travel a lot to the regions, communicate with people. The leaders of the factions talk about this very often.

Rural mortgages and, in general, the development of rural areas, the construction of holiday homes and infrastructure are very well supported by people. Without normal, comfortable conditions for people to stay in the countryside, it is impossible to invite them there. Regarding the rural mortgage, despite the crisis, we added half a billion rubles, also at the suggestion of the State Duma – only 1.5 billion rubles were allocated this year, which allowed 26 thousand families to take this mortgage. Next year, we have planned to increase almost three times – this will be 4.1 billion rubles – in subsidizing the mortgage rate. Despite the difficult situation, we supported this program. We are also ready to discuss further support measures.

By transport. Modernization of urban public transport and social development of the countryside are the most important tasks. There are a number of proposals here that we also discussed with you. Let’s share these nuances today. But before we start discussing this, I would like to give the floor to Finance Minister Anton Germanovich Siluanov, who actively participated in these discussions with all leaders of the factions, State Duma deputies, ministers, and deputy prime ministers. Anton Germanovich, you have the floor.

To be continued…

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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