Mikhail Mishustin: “Our main goal is to prevent the large-scale spread of the coronavirus, to monitor the situation non-stop and to be proactive. This includes not only restrictions on flights and major public events, but also the development of a vaccine for this new infection.”
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks:
Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today, we are holding a regular meeting of the Presidium of the Government Coordination Council to control the incidence of coronavirus infection.
As we have said many times, our main goal is to prevent the large-scale spread of the coronavirus, to monitor the situation non-stop and to be proactive. Needless to say, this implies not only restrictions on flights and large public events but also the development of a vaccine for this new infection.
Right now, Russian researchers are testing six vaccines. They have developed them very quickly – two months, using existing developments and the latest biotechnology. They work round the clock. We hope the safety and effectiveness of these developments will soon be confirmed and that it will be possible to use them for preventing and controlling the epidemic.
We are taking additional measures as necessary to support people and provide targeted assistance to industries and companies that have found themselves in the risk area.
The Government has launched continuous monitoring and operational control of the financial and economic status of companies that are of strategic importance for the country.
At yesterday’s Government meeting, I talked about measures to support airlines, the tourism industry, small and medium-sized businesses and trade because they are in a difficult position due to the restrictions to curb the coronavirus.
Regarding measures that have already been adopted so far, they include tax breaks until May 1 for companies involved in physical fitness and sports. Companies involved in the arts, culture and cinema will also receive a break on paying taxes and insurance premiums. Unfortunately, major public events, concerts and sport competitions have been postponed due to the coronavirus, but this is the right thing to do. Cultural and sport facilities that employ millions of people are suffering loses, through no fault of their own, of course; we need to help them get through this difficult period and get back to stable performance.
One more decision – in some cases we will suspend the fining of contractors that are fulfilling state orders, if they fail to deliver on their commitments.
As you know, the operation of a number of industrial companies abroad has been suspended, including those producing auto parts. If the Russian carmakers do not receive these parts from abroad, they will not be able to fulfil some of their commitments. This is why we decided to adjust the deadlines for some contracts, upon agreement with the parties, to not force these companies into further additional expenses. It is important for industrial enterprises to retain their financial stability and for their employees to keep their jobs even in this situation.
The Bank of Russia is also working on a package of measures to support people and the economy. Thus, banks have been advised to restructure loans for individuals and not to amerce debtors with penalties and fines. This primarily applies to those who can provide documents confirming a coronavirus infection. In addition, a programme of refinancing loans for small and medium-sized businesses at a reduced interest rate – 4 percent instead of the current 6 percent – will be considerably expanded. Mortgage loans will continue to be affordable and the regulatory and oversight burden on financial organisations will be reduced. And, of course, special efforts will be made to provide the real economy with funding support in these conditions.
Depending on developments, the Government and the Bank of Russia will expand support measures and the number of those that are eligible.
Let’s go on to discussing the items on our agenda.