The agenda includes: draft Energy Strategy, fulfilling Presidential instructions in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring the return of Russian tourists, supporting industry, SMEs and volunteers, providing housing for Great Patriotic War veterans.
Opening remarks by Mikhail Mishustin:
Yesterday, at the President’s meeting with Government members, I reported on what we are doing to implement the instructions to overcome the novel coronavirus infection, what measures the Government is taking and planning to smooth out the crisis in the economy.
The President signed a package of federal laws in connection with the spread of the coronavirus. Now the Government should as soon as possible develop and adopt by-laws that will allow these laws to work in full force. This should be done as quickly as we introduced the changes to the legislation at the initiatives of the President, following his Address. Here we will need documents that influence various spheres – from shared construction to the medical products market.
Separate Government resolutions are required for laws on amendments to the Tax Code and for the bankruptcy law. We will issue government regulations for the presidential amendments to the law on the Central Bank and for those relating to the Budget Code.
Colleagues! The documentation must be completed without delay. I have instructed that all the relevant regulations be prepared in a day and then be approved within a week. All the measures outlined by the President must come into effect immediately.
I have signed a Government resolution establishing a temporary procedure for issuing sick leave notes and benefit payments when people are in quarantine, including for working seniors over the age of 65. The new rules will also apply to those in self-isolation at home or at their dacha.
Another resolution makes it significantly easier to obtain maternity capital, which is also due to allowing this to be done online. The application processing deadline will go down by three times from one month to just 10 working days, while the funds will be transferred twice as fast, in five days instead of 10. It will be permitted to use the money to build or renovate a country house.
We are also making changes in the state programme of subsidising Russians with children aged between three and seven provided the income of each family member is not above the subsistence level. A monthly payment beginning 1 January is to be no less than half of the subsistence level set for a child in the relevant region. Overall, over 136 billion roubles will be allocated for this purpose, with 105 billion coming from the federal budget.
I must point out that the coronavirus emergency calls for all citizens to take action. Volunteers have stepped forward with an idea to set up fast response centres to help seniors by buying groceries and medicine. I believe this is a timely and helpful initiative. Today we will consider allocating 242 million roubles to subsidise the Medic Volunteers organisation.
During our meeting yesterday with the President we talked about the issues facing small and medium-sized businesses, which have been especially hard hit by the crisis. The Government has put together a set of measures designed to address this. These include tax breaks, insurance payment deferral for micro-enterprises, a temporary ban on inspections and bankruptcy for small and medium-sized businesses.
The Government also focused on loan conditions for small and medium-sized businesses. We have expanded ways to restructure existing loans and simplified the requirements for obtaining concessional loans to pay employees’ wages. The most hard-hit enterprises can postpone payments on their loans for six months. The federal budget will cover one third of interest payments. I will sign the corresponding resolution that approves the rules for providing federal subsidies for this.
We will also allocate five billion roubles from the Government’s reserve fund to subsidise credit institutions. This money will help postpone payments on loans granted to small and medium-sized businesses. In the next six months, such postponed interest payments will amount to almost 10 billion roubles. This is a serious burden for credit institutions.
In addition, we will use budget money to compensate credit institutions for a decrease in income from loans granted to meet the immediate needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the most hard-hit industries, first of all, to pay wages and to support and preserve employment in air travel, tourism, exhibition businesses, catering, fitness, sports, additional education and consumer services. We will allocate 2.6 billion roubles for this.
It is important that these measures are taken nationwide, in every Russian region.
Yesterday the President instructed us to devise additional measures to support the economy, focusing on the stability of the regional budgets. They are under enormous pressure now, and we must support them as a matter of priority.
We are not only helping small and medium-sized businesses but also enterprises, which are essential to the Russian economy and security, including the defence industry complex.
The Government has developed a number of proposals: to speed up the task placement of the government defence order by signing state contracts with the sole suppliers at approximate prices. We also suggest that under our contracts provision should be made for making an 80 percent of advance payment at one time instead of quarterly advance payments. Thus, we will be able to hedge enterprises’ financial risks and ensure their load is more systematic.
Another measure that is necessary for the defence industry complex is to concentrate all the purchases of aviation and automobile equipment envisaged in the state armament programme until 2027, in the period up to 2024. Thus, we will be able to improve production rules and ensure advance procurement of these products. And despite a drop in the market demand, it will have a positive influence on enterprises’ margins.
A number of measures should also concern other Russian industries.
Our suggestion is to increase by up to 50 percent advance payment to enterprises contracted to supply goods, works and services for public needs (against the 30-percent advance payment at present). This will improve the financial position of the enterprises.
Now to the agenda.
Right away, an important issue. In May we will mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, a victory that we owe to our veterans. We will allot over 350 million roubles to the regions from the Government reserve fund to provide the veterans with housing. This is also for the families of those who died, or became disabled and for the families of war veterans.
We will also provide half a billion roubles in aid for Russian citizens who are currently abroad. We are working hard to return them home. Many of them are in dire straits now because of the spread of the coronavirus. For this reason we are providing funds to pay for their temporary lodging in foreign countries because not all of them can cope with it on their own. If necessary, the validity of the documents permitting them to stay abroad will be extended.
I have also instructed the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and the Federal Agency for Air Transport to draw up a clear schedule for returning our citizens. People should know for sure which flight they can take to come back home.
We will also consider Russia’s Energy Strategy until 2035. The fuel and energy complex is a pillar of the national economy, which accounts for a substantial portion of budgetary proceeds. It is a major customer that orders goods, services and high technologies. Indeed, modern power engineering is a high technology and knowledge-intensive sector. Industrial and agricultural enterprises, transport, housing and utilities are directly dependent on the operation of the energy sector. It affects prices at the filling stations and shops, rents and public transport fares. And of course, it has an effect on the state of the environment. And it concerns all of us.
The fuel and energy complex should make a maximal contribution to our country’s socio-economic development and assist in strengthening Russia’s position in the global power economy. It is especially important now when the oil and gas markets are highly volatile.
The global economy is facing a slowdown and the demand for energy sources is falling. But this crisis, partly caused by the spread of the coronavirus, will come to an end like all other crises. We should work for the future, and correctly assess the changes that are taking place in the global energy sector with regard to the development of technology, production patterns and demand. We should already plan our actions for the period of the recreation of the global markets, and build the state’s energy policy.
The strategy will be implemented in two stages. The first– until 2025 – will be aligned with the existing state programmes, and most importantly, with national goals, national projects and the comprehensive plan for modernisation and expansion of backbone infrastructure.
We will also continue to develop technologies for oil, gas, coal and LNG production, and diversify energy exports. At the same time, we will continue to develop gas infrastructure in the Russian regions.
So, let’s get down to work.