Measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Russia and reduce its impact on the economy.
Excerpts from the transcript:
Mikhail Mishustin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Yesterday the President addressed the nation and instructed the Government to take measures to support our people and the economy due to the spread of the coronavirus infection. All the decisions required to fulfil the President’s instructions must be made today. The immediate measures include reducing national insurance contributions for small and medium-sized businesses from 30 to 15 percent on the portion of wages that is above the minimum wage. The Government will have the right to defer all taxes on small and medium-sized businesses and we will enforce this immediately as soon as the respective bill is drafted. We must also put a moratorium on initiating bankruptcy proceedings. While the moratorium is in place, enforcement proceedings as well as penalties and fines will be suspended. Amicable settlements on debts will also be simplified.
As for the funds transferred to offshore accounts as dividends, I am instructing the Finance Ministry to review all the double taxation agreements with our foreign partners. The tax on dividends transferred abroad must be charged at a rate of at least 15 percent. In the event of refusal by our partners, we will have to consider unilateral withdrawal from these treaties.
Also today, we will discuss a draft law that provides for sick leave payments to be equal to at least one minimum wage per month until the end of this year, as well as automatic prolongation of benefits without recipients having to file additional paperwork.
Late last night, following a meeting of the Presidium of the Government Coordination Council to control the incidence of the novel coronavirus infection, we also issued several instructions to mitigate the risk of a negative scenario.
We are restricting the external flow of people who could be carrying the infection.
From 27 March, regular and charter flights between Russian airports and other countries will be suspended, with the exception of the flights evacuating the Russian nationals who are currently abroad.
I am instructing the Foreign Ministry to assist those nationals with paperwork and accommodation abroad, and the Finance Ministry to provide immediate funding.
I am asking all our nationals who have not been able to return to contact the embassies and consular offices of the Russian Federation with their contact information and other necessary data that needs to be provided to the Foreign Ministry.
The Transport Ministry and the Foreign Ministry must develop a plan for evacuating people from foreign countries. All returned nationals will be tested for the novel coronavirus infection right at the airports.
The Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare must take charge of monitoring the availability of coronavirus testing materials in all the regions – that is, what items need to be procured and their quantity. The procurement schedule for all expendable materials required for test kits must be developed promptly, today.
As you remember, we have allocated around 25 billion roubles to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Federal Medical-Biological Agency and the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare for the production of medical goods, vaccine development, diagnostics and the trial of medical drugs to treat the infection.
The agenda for today’s government meeting also includes a draft law enabling the Government to set binding rules. This primarily applies to regulating the market for medicines and medical equipment. The Government will enact a special procedure for their state registration.
Supporting entrepreneurs is another priority. We intend to move forward with meaningful amendments to government procurement laws for 2020 so that procurement contracts for goods, works and services can be executed without tenders. If coronavirus-related problems make it impossible for a supplier to fulfil its contract, the timeframe for performing it could be changed and fines for failing to meet obligations waived.
The tourism sector will also see a number of new provisions, including a mechanism whereby the tour operators’ liability fund can be used to reimburse tourists who bought tours to countries where their life or health could be in danger.
While preparing the draft law for the second reading, the Finance Ministry must introduce a provision on mortgage and consumer loan holidays for people who find themselves in difficult straits.
Anyone with a responsible attitude regarding the current developments clearly understands that we need to take the measures that I have listed. This is the position adopted by an overwhelming majority. Unfortunately, there are those who have been extremely careless in matters related to the safety of people around them and even their own health. It is for this reason that we will amend the Code of Administrative Offences in order to introduce fines and penalties for those refusing to abide by the rules. There will be fines for individuals, officials and legal entities.
Colleagues, we had a meeting yesterday with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin to discuss these amendments in all their aspects, as well as what we will have to do together with the State Duma in connection with the threat posed by the coronavirus.
We will have to work closely with the State Duma in order to introduce these amendments as soon as possible. I would like to thank Mr Volodin and our colleagues from the State Duma for streamlining our joint efforts in the interests of the public.
I would also like to note our fruitful cooperation with the Federation Council and its Speaker, Valentina Matviyenko, deputy speakers and committee chairs. We had a meeting with them not that long ago and continue working together on a daily basis.
We are grateful to our colleagues for their important contribution to drafting all the legislative decisions.
The President also spoke about the need to expedite all organisational procedures so that families with children between three and seven years old receive monthly allocations quicker. These allocations will be paid out to families with incomes below the subsistence level in their regions.
The initial plan was to start paying these benefits in July. Now we have to make sure that this is done one month earlier. We will earmark almost 105 billion roubles from the federal budget to this effect, and regional budgets will provide another 31.5 billion roubles.
In addition, the Government will have to monitor income levels for families with children and find additional resources in order to increase this monthly allocation from 1 January 2021. I would like to ask you to make the necessary arrangements and ensure that the Presidential executive order is fully implemented.
Last week, the Government allocated 8.8 billion roubles to the Defence Ministry for building infectious disease centres, and we discussed it with the minister. These funds will go towards building 16 centres using modular prefabricated structures in 15 Russian regions. We need to make sure that these centres are built without delay so that military doctors can become involved in fighting the infection, if necessary.