Working Day

2 october, 2009 15:00

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Government Presidium

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Government Presidium
“In the budget for 2010, we have maintained or even increased spending on basic medical programmes, meaning the national project ‘Health,’ provision of free medicines for persons entitled to benefits and maternity certificate payments. Grants-in-aid to the regions for compulsory medical insurance will also not be reduced. I am counting that the constituent entities of the Federation will, in turn, guarantee unconditional fulfilment of their obligations is such a sensitive area for our people.”
Vladimir Putin
At a meeting of the Government Presidium

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

Ms Nabiullina (Elvira Nabiullina, Minister of Economic Development), you attended an investment forum in Tomsk with an intriguing title, "How Smart People Get Rich." What was it about?

Elvira Nabiullina: Last week Tomsk hosted the 12th investment forum. The banner for this year's forum was, "Innovations and Crisis: How Smart People Get Rich." The idea is that you can become rich through innovation.

The forum attracts participants from all over Russia and other countries. Over 1,500 people attended it this year. They represented companies, innovation venture funds, investment companies, and the banking community. We discussed practical ways to support innovation, including following through on the current law allowing budget-funded organisations - research and educational establishments - to set up small innovation businesses. Other issues on the agenda included support for small and medium-sized innovation businesses and ways to enhance the effectiveness of state development institutions that support innovations.

It was a very interesting meeting, which also included the Russian Tech Tour. The European Tech Tour Association organises 3-4 country specific tours every year to bring together Europe's emerging technology companies and introduce them to global investors.

We presented 24 projects - Moscow, Kazan and Tomsk. It is a unique combination of investors and companies that can produce innovations.

I also met with the residents of a special economic zone. A technology development zone being organised in Tomsk already has 45 resident companies. The first to register in the zone was the Research and Technology Centre of Sibur-Tomskneftekhim, which designs new technology for raising the conversion of oil and gas.

Other major projects include the establishment of an experimental solar energy plant with the assistance of foreign investors, and other submicron technologies, which is logical for a technology development zone.

We discussed ways to raise and borrow funds during a crisis. The resident companies proposed improving the patent system to protect copyright.

There are some problems with customs management. We have agreed to analyse the issues, first of all for prompt introducing achievements and innovations, which are being applied within the zone, in commercial production.

Vladimir Putin: Good. You started with high technology. The ITU Telecom World exhibition will be held in Geneva on October 5-9. Russia will have its own large pavilion there for the first time. Mr Shchegolev, tell us about it (Igor Shchegolev, Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications).

Igor Shchegolev: Telecom World 2009 is a forward-looking event for the global telecommunication and information communication technology (ICT) sector held every four years. Over 150 countries will participate in it this year. It could be described as a forum for the smart and rich, because telecoms are among the growth leaders in terms of investment and stock market growth. There are several companies on the Russian stock market that soared by 200% at the beginning of the year.

We intend not only to gather experience at the forum and look at novel technology and economic models, but also to present our projects, serious infrastructure projects, there. In particular, we are going to present our plans for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi to forum participants including the way we will organize our network, and also our plans in Vladivostok (for the APEC summit in 2012) and in Kazan for the World Student Games in 2012.

We plan to hold meetings with the largest producers and suppliers of equipment, which are still interested in the Russian market as the place where they can supply their finished products and also localise production. They have noticed that we have intensified our attention to domestic producers and are trying to more actively involve them in modernisation projects underway in this sphere.

Vladimir Putin: Good. How many of our companies will attend the event?

Igor Shchegolev: Approximately 20.

Vladimir Putin: An international nanotechnologies forum is to be held in Moscow on October 6-8, if I'm not wrong.

Sergei Ivanov: No, Mr Putin, you are not wrong. It will be the second forum; the first one was held last year. Despite the global financial and economic downturn, some 90 Russian companies and representatives from 35 foreign companies have applied for the event. In fact, these are the countries that are developing nanotechnology in different forms.

This allows us to say - tentatively; we should wait for the end of the forum to speak about practical results - that the Moscow nanotechnology forum is becoming a leading global event in this sphere. Interest in it is not waning, and the applicants are major global producers of nanotechnology.

The forum's agenda includes plenary meetings, discussions of business nanotechnology projects, presentation of available nanotechnology products, as well as research and technical councils that will discuss first of all specific aspects of nanotechnology. In short, the forum's agenda covers all aspects of this innovation sector.

Vladimir Putin: Please, say a few words about the An-148 plane. 

Sergei Ivanov: Of course, Mr Putin. Speaking about high technology, which is the issue we are now discussing at the Government Presidium... Yesterday I was in Voronezh for a ceremony marking the delivery of the first production An-148 plane to a customer, GTK Rossiya. It is the first mass-produced short-haul passenger jet produced in Russia in the past 15 years. I repeat, the first plane in 15 years!

Vladimir Putin: How many passengers can it carry?

Sergei Ivanov: It can take 70 to 90 passengers. Its unique feature is that it can fly in bad weather and take off from and land at unprepared strips, including rough airstrips. This is very important for Russia, which is a huge country. We cannot build modern strips in every town; this would not be economically expedient. Therefore, the An-148 plane will replace the Yak-40, Yak-42 and partially the Tu-134 planes.

The plant will deliver two more An-148s to Rossiya airline by the end of this year and plans to produce nine more planes next year. It has signed several contracts for the delivery of many planes to Russian airlines. In all, it is to deliver 100 such planes, including 60 under firm contracts.

These planes will be used mostly on domestic routes, including flying to towns that have rough airstrips. They will carry passengers to air hubs without competing with the Sukhoi Superjet, which will make flights from our hubs to foreign airports.

Vladimir Putin: How long should the airstrip be to accommodate the plane?

Sergei Ivanov: It can land and take off from a strip that is only 1,300-1,400 metres long, including rough strips. In other words, we have launched the production of a very good high-tech product.

Vladimir Putin: Good. My congratulations. Mr Khristenko (Viktor Khristenko, Minister of Industry and Trade), you know that I have signed a government executive order to provide additional assistance, several billion roubles, to the Sevmash shipyard. How will the shipyard use this money in the most effective way under your personal competent guidance?

Viktor Khristenko: Mr Putin, we have been acting in 2009 in accordance with your decision to implement a comprehensive programme of financial and economic rehabilitation and stabilisation of Sevmash, one of the key strategic assets in the industry. This year we have taken measures to enhance the company's efficiency by ensuring stable defence and civilian orders and loan opportunities for it to implement federal targeted programmes and by subsidising some aspects of its operation.

The decision you signed today allocating 4 billion roubles in the form of additional contribution to the company's authorized capital will strengthen the loan stability of the modernised shipyard. It is a logical step preceding the next decision, to be taken next week by the Supervisory Board of Vnesheconombank, to extend the 6-billion rouble loan to Sevmash for five years. The shipyard is already using this money.

In general, these measures, including today's decision, have helped the shipyard increase production by over 30% this year, to 39 billion roubles. Defence contracts, including military technical cooperation, account for 75% of the shipyard's contract portfolio, and civilian contracts for 25%.

This allows the shipyard to be confident in its plans for 2010.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Khristenko, you and I know about the shipyard's problems, including debt and obsolete technology. Will these 4 billion roubles really be enough to change the situation? I am referring also to the need to improve management and to all other elements of operation of that largest domestic shipyard.

Viktor Khristenko: The allocation of these 4 billion roubles is a reasonable and necessary element of our action plan. By itself, it would not have changed the situation. But taken together with all other measures we are implementing now, it is a reasonable and necessary move.

Vladimir Putin: As I see it, these 4 billion roubles are only part of the general plan for the revival of the shipyard. This is good.

Mrs Golikova (Tatyana Golikova, Minister of Healthcare and Social Development), please tell me, what is the situation today on the labour market?

Tatyana Golikova: Mr Putin and esteemed colleagues, as you know, we are conducting weekly monitoring. As of yesterday, the number of jobless citizens fell by 18,400 or 0.9% as compared with last week.

Consequently, as of October 1, the number of people officially registered with the employment service was 2,059,200.

In the reporting week, a reduction in the number of registered unemployed was observed in 68 constituent entities of the Russian Federation. In three constituent entities, the number of unemployed citizens did not change and in 12 other constituent entities it rose. The largest increases in unemployed were registered in the Chukotka Autonomous Area - 4.8%, and in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area - 1.8%.

At the same time, as you know, we are monitoring the implementation of regional labour-market relief programmes in the constituent entities, all of which have now received funds for the first stage of implementation of these programmes. Almost all of the constituent entities - a total of 80 - have also received funds for the second stage as well. Two constituent entities - the Samara and Kamchatka Regions - did not receive funds because they did not complete the implementation of the first-stage measures.

Today, we are in the final stage of specifying regional programmes. In other words, we are at the second stage. And some constituent entities have reached a third stage - this is when the constituent entities review and re-structure measures according to the specifics of their regions and the ensuing economic conditions therein. Depending on the latter, more people are either engaged in temporary work, in re-training or have been provided with full-time jobs.

I have to say that now, given the refinement of regional programmes in the second stage, the main thrust is in the direction of increasing employment and re-training citizens, because temporary and public works are generally of a seasonal nature, even though these make up a significant share of the labour-market relief measures in the regions.

To date 59 constituent entities have reviewed their relevant programmes and they have already been approved by the Government Commission. In addition to this, I would like to say that as of September 21, 2009, according to Rosstat data, our wage arrears have been reduced by 400 million roubles and now stand at 5,227 million roubles.

Practically this entire reduction was part of the largest amount of the wage arrears in conjunction with companies' lack of own funds, because these make up 96.4% of total liabilities. The reduction occurred to a greater degree in the manufacturing sector, followed by transport and agriculture. Since the start of the crisis, since October, all three of these sectors had the highest wage arrears. And now wage arrears are gradually being reduced in these sectors.

In addition, having received this data from Rosstat, we are informing our colleagues who are monitoring the relevant companies that through the corresponding working groups formed in the ministries, they need to take measures either to provide financial aid to such companies or reduce wage arrears.

Vladimir Putin: Good, thank you. Regarding the labour market, I would like to touch on the issue of the Volga Automobile Plant. As you know, I have recently met with the Governor of the Samara Region and AvtoVAZ top management. I visited the plant and met with the shareholders. By shareholders I mean Russian Technologies, as well as Renault and Nissan, the international members of this joint-stock company. There is a lot of speculation about the status of the plant which makes the employees uneasy about possible layoffs.

Mr Shuvalov (Igor Shuvalov, First Deputy Prime Minister), I charged you with reviewing the relevant documents, analysing the latest developments and holding a meeting with the parties concerned. What is the outcome of this meeting?

Igor Shuvalov: Mr Prime Minister, under your directive, the Government is working out a programme to address the problems of single-industry towns, as well as fulfilling the instructions you gave during your visit to AvtoVAZ and while working on the issues of the automotive industry in general.

In essence, the town of Togliatti in the Samara Region is the largest Russian single-industry town, with the typical problems facing all such towns, but here these problems are magnified. We have held two Government meetings, attended by Government members, the Samara Region's government, as well as AvtoVAZ top management and shareholders. We reviewed management plans to upgrade the AvtoVAZ facilities. The shareholders are preparing for this major modernisation.

On October 6, we will consider approaches to reform the auto industry at a Government Commission meeting, which will highlight the issue of reforming AvtoVAZ. We understand that upgrading its facilities will require optimising the number of employees.

In addition, we are basing our approach on the directives that you have issued - that every person's case must be considered. We need to understand what will happen to the number of people employed at AvtoVAZ, and what opportunities will be provided for them either to find a place at this company or at another job.

We considered the various scenarios presented by the AvtoVAZ management, and came to the conclusion that at the present time it makes sense to support AvtoVAZ's plans to lay off up to 5,000 people this year. These are mostly retirement-age people, who will be presented with the option of retiring, while those who have not reached retirement age will be offered early retirement. Furthermore, at the suggestion of the Economic Development Ministry and the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development - a suggestion that was approved by AvtoVAZ management - everyone who is going to retire, meaning everyone from the 5,000 - will be offered temporary work at the company for up to two years. This work will involve, among other things, preparing old production units for upgrades and clearing land in preparation for new production lines. This work requires increasing the number of employees at AvtoVAZ itself.

We will provide opportunities for those who are slated to be laid off and want to open their own business, including grants and micro-financing, through a programme administered by the Economic Development Ministry.

In order to determine how many people want to be employed in temporary work or want to start their own business, my colleagues and I will visit AvtoVAZ next week. This week, we will send employees from the ministries and agencies there in order to work with the governor on the list of staff to be laid off - on every AvtoVAZ employee who will be offered retirement.

Vladimir Putin: In other words, if I understand you correctly, an AvtoVAZ employee will have the right to retire, and will also have the opportunity to continue to be employed?

Igor Shuvalov: Employed through a temporary contract. We believe that we can offer such employment for one to two years. And this is in the present circumstances, when the situation in the market is rather difficult. We are basing this on the fact that if people are receiving retirement benefits and wages through a temporary contract, they should be sufficiently protected.

Vladimir Putin: Do I understand correctly that, in essence, AvtoVAZ itself made this proposal, with which you agreed at a meeting with them?

Igor Shuvalov: Yes, this is a proposal from AvtoVAZ itself, but in order to implement it, AvtoVAZ has asked for a certain amount of support from the federal government.

Vladimir Putin: What kind of support?

Igor Shuvalov: This support will be of a financial nature, Mr Putin.

Vladimir Putin: How much?

Igor Shuvalov: We must make additional calculations, and since this will affect AvtoVAZ's subsequent operations, we need to factor in the production lines that will need to be bought, since this will require a systematic approach.

We are basing our approach on your instruction, and, in addition to providing social support to the work force, we still want to upgrade production. Additional expenses on overall modernisation of the production facilities and social support for the employees - all these issues will be tackled in a comprehensive manner.

I ask that you give us two more weeks to finalize our calculations for providing financing.

Vladimir Putin: By all means.

Igor Shuvalov: We will have to discuss this in detail with the Finance Ministry.

Vladimir Putin: By all means. But with regard to technical upgrades - you're absolutely right. We also need to have the appropriate discussions with the foreign shareholders of this joint stock company - Renault and Nissan. We went along with issuing the first tranche - 25 billion roubles - and, in essence, to protect their interests, we did it in such a way as not to dilute their stakes.

Either they will continue to finance the company, or we will have to agree with them on stake ratios.

Igor Shuvalov: Mr Putin, we'll make this happen. On Tuesday, as I already said, we are going to discuss the development of the auto industry as a whole. And before that, on Monday, we will meet with the major foreign automakers with operations in the Russian Federation, including both Renault and Nissan, specifically in order to discuss their plans for AvtoVAZ. We'll make this happen.

What is more, Mr Putin, we will also do what you said as far as funding the agencies that provide social services under the auspices of AvtoVAZ, and transfering the funding of all these social agencies to municipal or regional budgets. The prep work is done. Now we understand what kind of agencies these are, and to what extent they will be funded in 2010. The preliminary figure is 1.8 billion roubles. In the course of the next week, we will verify this figure. We will see how we can make these agencies more financially efficient, and then we will have to provide financial assistance to the government of the constituent entity in order to fund these services in full.

According to Ms Golikova's data, just one AvtoVAZ clinic has had around three million visits over the past year. This means that practically the entire city is served by the agencies that are currently funded by AvtoVAZ.

Therefore, while taking these agencies off the AvtoVAZ balance sheets, we will have to take into account that they are providing services for the entire population of the city.

Vladimir Putin: The solution must be systematic, and it should affect not only AvtoVAZ but also the entire city, and maybe, even more broadly, the entire region. That's why I asked you to analyze the proposals from the region's leadership with regard to establishing exclusive economic zones to develop new opportunities for manufacturing. This could also include the production of auto parts. I urge you to approach this with the utmost seriousness, and not put it on the back burner.

And lastly, as for the social support measures, I talked with the governor and the management of the plant about this, and I want to tell you that these measures must not be ephemeral. This support must be tangible and easily accessible for them. And the company's own position must be understandable to the people who work there. It must be transparent, so that there is nothing left unsaid, no "grey zones" or rumours. Everything must be clear and understandable.

I ask you to pay attention to this.

Igor Shuvalov: Mr Prime Minister, we will work on this and report back to you. As for your previous remark, we have been receiving signals from AvtoVAZ that employees do not always clearly understand the management's plans, which causes some tension.

Vladimir Putin: Tension does not arise from nothing. If people are kept informed, no tension will emerge. Everything will be clear to people. But they learn completely different things from the media. And no one explains anything to them. I would like you to bear this in mind.

By the way, yesterday I visited the Vladimir Region and the city of Vladimir. I met with people in the public reception office of the Chairman of the United Russia Party. They asked a lot of personal questions. It's a separate topic. But they also asked general, systemic questions.

One of these questions concerned the prolongation of loans taken out by agricultural commodity producers from Russian banks to develop agricultural companies, mainly cattle-breeding companies.

Mr Kudrin, you are aware of this issue. These questions have been raised and discussed more than once. I will give a relevant instruction to Viktor Zubkov. I would like him and the Ministry of Finance to return to this issue and work it out again.

Finally, tomorrow is the deadline to submit a plan to restore the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydroelectric Power Plant, a task the Government Commission and the Ministry of Energy were charged with six weeks ago. Sergei Shmatko, the Minister of Energy, said that the restoration plan is ready and will be officially submitted tomorrow. This plan features restoration work and preliminary estimations of the cost of the equipment to be purchased.

Mr Shuvalov, I would like you to supervise this project and report to me with the Government Commission tomorrow.

Let us now move on to today's agenda.

I would like to start by summing up the results of the contest for the best-developed Russian city. As usual, several dozen towns participated, from metropolises to small, urban-type settlements.

I think the willingness to participate in this contest is testimony by itself to the fact that proactive, caring and engaged people have been elected to these towns' local governments.

In 2008, the winners were Khabarovsk, Angarsk and Gelendzhik. I would like to congratulate them sincerely. They will receive a monetary reward from the federal budget that they will be able to spend on development needs.

The federal budget will continue to support the development of town infrastructure and improve its quality, including within the framework of the Affordable and Comfortable Housing national priority project.

Today we need to arrive at a final decision on the distribution of subsidies to build new highways in the areas with large-scale construction of housing. In 2009, a total of three billion roubles from the federal budget will be allocated to the 18 constituent entities of the Russian Federation that are actively participating in the Housing national project.

Now the key item on the agenda.

Since 1998, the Programme for State Medical Care Guarantees has been renewed annually. In essence, this legislation specifies the parameters of medical care provided for free, regardless of the recipient's place of residence. This will be the first opportunity at a Government meeting to review the results of this Programme for 2008.

I would like to note that we managed to boost the funding for the Programme of State Guarantees significantly by attracting funds from all sources, including from the budget and from mandatory medical insurance resources. Almost 1,200 billion roubles were allocated for this programme.

This area will remain a priority in the future. As you know, I recently signed a Government Resolution to approve the Programme for State Guarantees in 2010.

This programme contains additional provisions that allow regions to carry out more radical reforms in healthcare, including developing outpatient care and introducing single-server funding for medical institutions, based on economically justified tariffs. The modern approaches that have been developed within the framework of the Healthcare national project must be widely applied in practice.

In the budget for 2010, we have maintained or even increased spending on basic medical programmes, meaning the national project Healthcare, provision of free medicines for persons entitled to benefits and maternity certificate payments. Grants-in-aid to the regions for compulsory medical insurance will also not be reduced.

I am counting that the constituent entities of the Federation will, in turn, guarantee unconditional fulfilment of their obligations is such a sensitive area for our people.

I would like to note that in 2008, in 49 constituent entities territorial programmes for guaranteeing free medical care from the government were underfinanced. The deficit totalled 43 billion roubles, which is 0.5% of the total funding, which stands at 1 trillion 185 billion roubles. This is not a large percentage, but it's better to avoid any deficits in this area.

This issue will be under permanent Government control. Moreover there will be annual assessment of the regional authorities' effectiveness in implementing the programme of state guarantees of providing free medical care.

We plan to pay special attention to improving the quality and accessibility of medical care, expanding the scope disease prevention practices, and promoting healthy life styles.

Let's get down to work. 


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