22 october, 2010 11:20  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a working meeting with Pskov Governor Andrei Turchak


Having noted a considerable growth of industrial output in the Pskov Region, the prime minister also pointed out a decrease in investments in fixed assets. In response Andrei Turchak promised to make up for the decline by 2011 by developing transport and logistics infrastructure, as well as agriculture.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Turchak, let us discuss the socio-economic situation in the region. I have reviewed information for the latest period: from January to September you showed a substantial growth in industrial output, which was over 16%, almost twice as high as the national average. The national average is 8%, or slightly higher to be precise, 8.9%. Your figure is 16.2%, I believe. Wages have also grown somewhat, by 12%.

Nevertheless, I can see a decline in commissioning residential buildings and a reduction of cattle stock. And, naturally, this year the crop is poorer than in the preceding year. What is not quite clear is a decline in investments in fixed assets. How can you explain that? What is going on there?

Andrei Turchak: We see the situation in the region as stable. Unlike in the crisis year of 2009, the situation is getting back to normal. There has been a growth in industrial production, mainly in the south of the region where there is a concentration of metalworking and radio electronic plants, as well as companies working for natural monopolies.

As for the decline in investments into fixed assets, we see it as a temporary phenomenon. In fact, the region is currently experiencing a dramatic rise in investments, primarily in the two sectors that are the mainstays of the region's socio-economic development. That is first of all the construction of transport and logistics infrastructure in line with the strategy adopted by the Federal Customs Service with respect to shifting customs clearance from local customs offices to the borders of the Russian Federation.

To date we have launched 10 major investment projects for the construction of customs and logistics terminals. Three of them are in the final stages of construction. By the end of the year we will complete them as prime shell. All three projects are to be commissioned in the spring of 2011.

Most importantly, we do not regard them as trans-shipment points and distribution centres. Contracts with their investors stipulate the establishment of some production facilities at those terminals, and as a binding condition they will create added value that will remain in the region.

The second growth area is agriculture, and we have launched six projects in this sector. We plan to raise milk production substantially, by nearly 15%. According to the milk production results for 2009 we came third in the North-Western Federal District, after the two recognised leaders: the Leningrad and Vologda regions.

We are building four commercial diary farms, each to have 1,200 head of cattle, and an up-to-date cheese-making plant. We plan to satisfy 50% demand for cheese in the North-Western Federal District by 2011.

Vladimir Putin: Do you have a slight growth in milk production in the current six-month period too?

Andrei Turchak: Yes, in 2009 our milk yield was 220,000 tonnes and our target for 2010 is 250,000 tonnes. Putting new facilities into operation is just what supports such trend.

Velikiye Luki meat-processing plant is growing, and we have started construction of a fattening complex, including a modern mixed feed plant. At present the region has no integrated feed-processing plant.  Plans are to build such a plant by the end of 2011 and stop importing fodder from the Leningrad and other regions, and our demand will be satisfied.

This is why we regard the decline in investments in fixed assets as temporary and will compensate for it in 2011.

Vladimir Putin: It is an important factor for the Pskov Region. I mean that the unemployment is still high,  more than the country's average.

Andrei Turchak: The official figure is 2.1%, but expert estimates say that the pent-up unemployment in our region remains stable at 10%.

Of course, we participate in all the federal programmes intended to reduce tension in the labour market. In the first nine months of this year, 17,000 people have taken part in the programme; 11,000 joined the temporary employment programme, 4,000 chose retraining and about 1,500 received resources to start up their own businesses as part of the small business support programme, mainly in agriculture and services. It means that we are taking steps to improve the situation.

Vladimir Putin: Good.