Working Day

23 april, 2009 14:00

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Government Presidium

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Government Presidium
“We are going to consider the draft Climate Doctrine submitted by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Climate change and related risks have been addressed by many global forums. Russia is an active participant in such discussions, and is complying with its international obligations to the dot.”
Vladimir Putin
Meeting of the Government Presidium

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Let us begin with current issues. I signed several Government Resolutions on grants for post-graduate students, and students at state higher institutions and professional educational establishments, and also on the Solzhenitsyn Grant. Mr Zhukov, would you please explain, so that our colleagues are up to speed on this.

Alexander Zhukov: Mr Putin, we have 2,000 special state grants for post-graduate and other students. As of January 1, in accordance with the Resolution you signed, they have been increased by 20%. So post-graduate students get 3,600 roubles in special grants, university students get 1,440 roubles, and students at technical training institutes and colleges get 840 roubles per month. These grants are available to those students whose education is paid for by the state, and for bright undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Another Government Resolution established individual grants, named after Alexander Solzhenitsyn, for students at higher professional educational institutions. These grants will be available from September 1, 2009, and there will be ten of them, each worth 1,500 roubles per month. They can be awarded to students already receiving grants and who are achieving excellent results in literature, political science, and journalism. These special grants were established in accordance with the Order of the President on honouring the memory of Solzhenitsyn.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Another Government Resolution has been signed which offers subsidies of up to 1 billion roubles for aircraft construction and 367 million for engine building to Russian airplane engine producers and the United Aircraft Building Corporation's subsidiary companies. Mr Ivanov, could you please give us the details.

Sergei Ivanov: Yes, Mr Putin, those two resolutions really will encourage and facilitate the technological re-equipment of the aircraft construction and engine building sectors in the Russian Federation. Until now UABC's (United Aircraft Building Corporation) subsidiary companies and companies such as Russian Helicopters, Saturn and Salut, which produce aircraft engines for planes and helicopters, only had access to one kind of state support, which was subsidised interest rates on bank loans. But in reality, and if you recall this is something that the directors of aircraft building plants mentioned at the meeting in Ulyanovsk, this sector needs something more appropriate that is aimed at technological re-equipment, equipment purchase, such as leasing. Until now they have not had this kind of support.

That is why the Government will now subsidise interest not only on bank loans but also on leasing payments on agreements concluded with Russian leasing companies. We have quite a lot of these companies, and the system works smoothly. I would like to stress that this is a long-term measure. Leasing payments, as a rule, are spread over a matter of years, five years as a minimum. The Resolution you signed allows businesses to be bolder when they conclude their leasing contracts, because we can subsidise the interest for five years.

And the measure detailed in the resolution that you have signed will also be retrospective, as requested by businesses. This measure will apply to all leasing agreements concluded after January 1, 2006, since the leasing payment is a long-term process. And in the end, this will allow enterprises to be more active in their pursuit of technological modernisation, and to increase their competitiveness.

The so-called long money mechanisms will come into being here. Businesses will benefit from knowing a long way in advance what the rules of the game and preferences are.

As you have already said, in this year's budget alone 1 billion 16 million roubles has been allocated for aircraft construction, and 367 million for engine building.

Vladimir Putin: When will this mechanism be up and running?

Sergei Ivanov: As soon as it's signed.

Vladimir Putin: In June, as part of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, there will also be a World Grain Forum. Mr Zubkov, how are preparations for it coming along?

Viktor Zubkov: Mr Putin, colleagues. On Monday I chaired a meeting of the Organising Committee preparing to hold the first World Grain Forum. In compliance with the Presidential Order, the Forum will coincide with the International Economic Forum, and will take place on June 6-7 in St Petersburg. The Forum's programme is ready, and we approved it at the first meeting of the Organising Committee. The next meeting of the Organising Committee will be on May 15, and will include a trip to the venue in St Petersburg. There are several technical difficulties connected with the tight timeframe for the Forum's preparation, but I am confident we will overcome them.

The Forum will incorporate four conferences and two business forums. Over 1,500 people from more than 80 countries around the world have been invited to participate. We intend the main plenary session to consider issues related to the formation of a grain market, ensuring that production meets the population's needs in the conditions of the global economic crisis, the fundamental risks of the market for grain and other agricultural produce, and the growth of protectionism. These issues are now highly topical for most countries worldwide, and are the subjects of discussions at high-level meetings. We are already preparing for the future discussion and comparing our approaches to these issues with our foreign partners on various arenas. To be specific, I discussed these issues with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, during the working visit of April 15. I think that the results and outcomes of the discussions at the World Grain Forum will become a good basis on which to formulate proposals to make at the next G8 summit.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

Ms Skrynnik, you met with your colleagues from the G8 countries, didn't you?

Yelena Skrynnik: Yes, Mr Putin. The G8 Agriculture Ministers' meeting was held for the first time. We discussed the following important questions. First, the population's physical and economic access to food products; second, the transparent pricing policy for food products on the international level, and food quality assurance from the producer to the shop shelf. There were also a series of meetings with Agriculture Ministers from other countries, and constructive decisions were made about holding the next working meetings.

Vladimir Putin: Right. Mr Basargin, we have approved a new target programme of seismic stability. Will you say a few words about it, please?

Viktor Basargin: Mr Putin, this is a crucial document that concerns 27 regions, or one-third of constituent entities. The programme will involve over 20,000 facilities, including 250 federal facilities and 12,000 residential buildings where some 2 million people are living. The first stage covers this year, 2009, and two regions, Kamchatka and Sakhalin. It implies the allocation of 3.5 billion roubles from the federal budget for Kamchatka and 2.5 billion for Sakhalin. The regions' co-financing will cover as much as 30% of expenditure.

For comparison, I can tell you that today we considered the overall volume of residential housing in these two regions. It is approximately 20 million square metres, taking into account the possibility of new construction projects written into the programme. By building new residential blocks and moving people from the houses whose seismic stability cannot be enhanced for reasons of economic expediency, we will renew nearly 15% of the housing stock in Kamchatka and Sakhalin. This is a challenging programme, one we have been expecting for a long time.

Vladimir Putin: But we must ensure its implementation.

Good, let us discuss the issues on today's agenda. I would like to address several social issues.

When we were discussing the anti-crisis plan in March, I met with representative of trade unions of the leading economic sectors, including coal miners.

We spoke about social guarantees, in particular fair pensions.

You know how difficult and dangerous the miners' work is. These people have a right to expect additional pension guarantees, including from their employers. We issued instructions that these issues should be addressed again.

Working together with the Federation Council, we accelerated the drafting of the law On Additional Social Security for Some Categories of Workers in Coal Mining. It stipulates additional payments to the pensions of the sector's workers depending on the length and conditions of their work. Such payments can be made to the miners who did the most difficult and dangerous jobs. Their retirement pensions with additional payments will amount to as much as 40% of their wage.

I would like to thank everyone who worked on that issue, and expect that the final decisions will be made soon.

Here is another important issue. The new wording of the 2009 budget stipulates the allocation of over 2.2 billion roubles to the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development for co-financing the construction and overhaul of healthcare facilities in the regions and municipal districts. I want to say that this issue concerns additional projects that are not covered in federal target programmes and are financed from local reserves.

We should coordinate the procedure for distributing these funds among specific projects. There will be 24 projects in 19 regions, including regional and district hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centres and emergency medical aid stations.

It should be said that we intend to continue helping the regions and municipal authorities to develop the social infrastructure. But our priority should be the financing of key projects of regional and federal importance.

I would like to return to the first issue on our agenda. We are to consider the draft Climate Doctrine submitted by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Climate change and related risks have been addressed by many global forums. Russia is an active participant in such discussions, and is complying with its international obligations to the dot.

Moreover, if not for Russia's active stance, some of the international projects would not have been implemented. For example, the Kyoto Protocol would not have come into force without Russia's contribution.

These are issues of global import, and their implementation calls for coordinated actions of the entire international community. At the same time, we should pursue a balanced and responsible policy on climate and related issues at the national levels. This policy should be designed for a long term and take into account all factors, including environmental, economic, social and political factors.

In addition, the provisions of the Climate Doctrine should be used to formulate a concrete action plan regarding the introduction of resource and energy saving technology, and enhancement of energy efficiency of the national economy. We must introduce modern environmental standards and systems of monitoring and researching climate processes.

In the final run, we should formulate new, more exacting demands to the technological standards of the Russian economy as a whole and its individual sectors. Most importantly, we should formulate new demands to the living standards and the quality of life of our people. I would like to remind you that the people's right to a favourable environment is also sealed in the Russian Constitution.

The next issue on the agenda concerns the strengthening of economic partnership with our closest neighbours. I am referring to the establishment of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

We have recently made substantial progress in developing the legal basis of the Union. Altogether the package comprises 37 documents. We hope that other EurAsEC member states will eventually join the Union. We are open to cooperation and would welcome the growth of the three-party Union into a larger organisation.

I am convinced that accelerated integration would effectively boost anti-crisis management and development. This is why we have agreed with our colleagues in Belarus and Kazakhstan to redouble our efforts.

This year, we are to prepare and sign about 15 documents, including the Union's Customs Code and a Uniform Customs Tariff, to work out a system of non-tariff regulation, and to ensure the transfer of some powers in foreign trade regulation from the national levels to that of the Customs Union's commission.

In the long run, our countries will form a space free from internal economic barriers. The establishment of the Customs Union will enable us to stimulate mutual trade, joint investment projects and industrial cooperation, and in this way enhance our anti-crisis efforts, create jobs, and open new markets.

And finally, there is one more issue. It concerns the improvement of out lawmaking efforts. I agree that the work of the Government and other executive authorities on draft laws should be more transparent and systemic. In particular, we should proceed to medium-term planning of legislative activities. Many of our decisions are not being implemented. This means that these laws are not drafted property or systemically.

While we are at the initial stage of preparing key Government draft laws, I propose that we should involve State Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, representatives of the expert community and public organisations in this work. We have had "zero" hearings before, and should apply this practice more extensively. I hope that this will help us to substantially enhance the effectiveness of lawmaking.

Let's get down to work. I give the floor to Yury Trutnev, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.


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