The meeting was held via video conference.
from the transcript:
On Monday, the President proposed a new package of measures to support the economy and the people of Russia. The Government proactively contributed to preparing these initiatives. This is the biggest package in terms of both the allocated funds, as well as the number of people they will reach.
The new package covers a number of areas, including supporting families with children. Taking into consideration the earlier decisions, parents of 27 million Russian children will receive government assistance. This includes doubling the minimum childcare allowance, paying out additional sums to families earning less than the subsistence level per person at an earlier date so that these payments are made as of 1 June instead of 1 July, as well as expanding the list of families entitled to a supplementary monthly allocation of 5,000 roubles, and paying out a one-time lump sum of 10,000 roubles to parents of every child between 3 and 16 years old. Not least important is the fact that people will not need to do any paperwork to get these benefits. In the past 24 hours the government services portal received 2 million applications for these allowances.
A number of decisions targeted businesses, from self-employed individuals to medium-size companies. These measures will help them not only to maintain their business activities, but also to retain their employees. In particular, as of 1 June, we will launch a special lending programme for supporting employment. It will be open to all companies from the affected sectors, as well as community service NGOs. The purpose of the programme is to save jobs. Companies that keep at least 90 percent of their employees on the payroll compared to the current level will receive funds and will not have to pay back the principal debt or interest. In addition to this, we will write off taxes, except for VAT, for individual entrepreneurs, small and medium-size businesses from the affected sectors and community service NGOs and will dispense them of the need to pay social security contributions for the second quarter of 2020. Self-employed individuals will get income tax they paid in 2019 returned. They will also be entitled to a tax credit for an amount equal to one minimum wage.
These are without question very serious measures. For this reason, their execution is something I would like to discuss with my colleagues. The decisions to support the economy and the people will not produce the desired effect, if people and businesses do not receive the money on time. This applies to all benefits, and above all to the bonuses and social guarantees promised to healthcare workers. On Monday, the President mentioned that these allocations are not being paid out on time. These people are fighting for the lives and health of people as we speak. We must do all it takes to ensure that they are paid for their work and the risks they are taking on time.
The Government transferred these funds to the regions in a timely manner. According to the Federal Treasury, the total transfers for paying bonuses to doctors exceeded 27.5 billion roubles as of 12 May. Of this total, the regions spent just over 4.5 billion roubles. These disbursements have posed a challenge even in regions that have been most affected by COVID-19, and where healthcare workers are still under maximum pressure. At the same time, the authorities in Chukotka and Magadan have not even started paying out these bonuses.
Today, we will review these developments in detail.
I would like to start by saying that as of today, over 100,000 patients with suspected coronavirus are hospitalised, including around 4,000 children. Almost 1,500 patients are connected to ventilators. Currently, almost 140,000 people are receiving outpatient medical care, including almost 10,000 children. Medical aid at participating medical organisations of all forms of ownership is provided by 116,000 doctors, almost 243,000 paramedics, nurses, 48,000 junior medical staff and almost 32,000 ambulance drivers.
As per the President’s instruction and Government Resolution No. 415, for which 10.2 billion roubles were allocated, and Government Resolution No. 484, for which 41.7 billion roubles were allocated, all individuals involved in medical care for coronavirus patients are currently entitled to incentive payments. As many as 66,788 healthcare workers received incentive payments as of yesterday. This figure is updated on a daily basis. Regions located in different time zones are reporting as this number increases (this morning the Healthcare Ministry and the Federal Treasury held a teleconference). At any rate, according to yesterday’s statistics, 63.6 percent of all medical workers received it. This is pursuant to Government Resolution No. 484 or what we call presidential incentives.
As per Government Resolution No. 415, rewards have been paid to 114,738 people, which is 74 percent of all the medical workers who have been providing medical care since the first confirmed instance in a respective region.
We have established rapid monitoring of cash execution with regard to these payments. I would like to thank the regional healthcare ministries and the Federal Treasury who worked through the entire holidays. We consulted them on most common issues. We also informed all the regions that they need to organise a local hot line for this matter so that medical workers could receive information on the conditions and amounts of these incentives. Every region must organise a hot line.
I would like to thank the Sverdlovsk Region governor. That was one of the first regions to create this kind of hot line to answer questions from medical workers and give the necessary clarification. So the Healthcare Ministry continues to monitor this matter and, in cooperation with the Federal Treasury, we worked out a procedure to ensure that this money not only reaches a specific medical organisation but every single medical worker.
Thank you. Mr Mishustin, good health.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you. Mr Murashko, I hope the Healthcare Ministry will redouble its efforts to organise the payment of benefits to the medical personnel.
The regional authorities should act more energetically when it comes to supporting doctors. I know that you are monitoring this project. Please, keep doing this, because the situation differs from one place to another.
I would also like the leadership of the Social Insurance Fund to take note of the need to review the documents related to the insurance claims from doctors who were infected with the coronavirus, as well as to make all the required payments without delay.
I am aware that Roman Artyukhin has been analysing this subject for two days. I would like to hear his report on how the regional authorities are using the funds allocated to them for supporting doctors and other medical personnel. I know that the situation is changing rapidly, including since this morning. Mr Artyukhin, go ahead, please.
Roman Artyukhin: Mr Mishustin, colleagues. As per your instruction, we have organised the monitoring of payments from the regional budgets. Here are the initial results. As of yesterday, nine regions had not made the necessary payments from their budgets. This number decreased to two today. They are the Magadan Region and the Chukotka Autonomous Area, where funds have not yet been transferred to the Magadan and Chukotka regional hospitals. However, our colleagues promise to make the payments today.
We have noticed that payments have not been made to some hospitals in some of the regions, for example, to the republican hospital in North Ossetia-Alania, the city emergency hospital in the Vladimir Region, the emergency centre in Ivanovo, and the emergency hospital in Kurgan. Our colleagues say that the pay day has not yet come.
What results can we report for yesterday? Payments to doctors and other medical personnel have increased by 1.5 billion roubles, from 4.5 billion to 5.9 billion roubles. The first to make the required payments were the Republic of Ingushetia, the Penza Region and the Nenets Autonomous Area. The other regions where the bulk of payments have been made are the republics of Mordovia and Chuvashia, the Primorye Territory, the Bryansk, Moscow, Novgorod and Smolensk regions, as well as Chechnya.
What positive results can these regions report?
First, their healthcare authorities have promptly signed agreements with the local healthcare and other medical facilities and have transferred the subsidies to them.
Second, the healthcare facilities in these regions started making incentive payments to the medical personnel as soon as April was over, even ahead of the pay day. In some regions, these payments were made even on 10 May, which was a day off. This has been done in the Kaliningrad Region, the Jewish Autonomous Region, the Trans-Baikal Territory, Dagestan, the Moscow Region, Irkutsk, Omsk and Buryatia.
What has this monitoring of benefit payments shown? All healthcare facilities are focused on making the payments by 15 May. We are closely monitoring these payments and helping the healthcare facilities and budgetary institutions develop cooperation in the payment of these benefits. Importantly, incentive payments have also been transferred to other medical personnel ahead of the scheduled payment day in some of the regions.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you. It is important not to wait for wages here. We should not limit ourselves to the names of specific regions alone; we need to name the specific medical institutions that do not pay wages to medical personnel on time. You have named them, and let’s continue monitoring this situation. I am also asking you to join in the work, due to be conducted by Mikhail Murashko, as per my instruction, so that the funding is disbursed immediately. In this connection, I consider the regional initiative regarding the creation of phone-in services for medical workers’ payments to be quite correct and timely. Mr Artyukhin, I am asking you to monitor the situation together with Mr Murashko, once again in line with your authority, and report to the Government on a regular basis.
I would also like to draw the attention of the regions to the fact that these are incentive payments. Medical workers should receive this money as soon as it reaches the regions. One should not wait for wage payment deadlines and tell us that the funding cannot be remitted to people ahead of such deadlines. Regions that are lagging behind should do this as quickly as possible, so that all wage arrears of medical workers for April 2020 would be paid, as per the President’s instruction, by 15 May.
And now, I would like to hear a report by Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov on supporting families with children. We have already provided assistance to families entitled to maternity capital and those who have temporarily lost their jobs. The new package also stipulates additional measures for families with children. Mr Kotyakov, how are these measures working? How do you plan to implement the new presidential instructions, including payments to families with children aged 3-16? Are state online services ready for this? I would also like to ask you to report on additional measures to support social workers at hospitals. Please, you have the floor.
Anton Kotyakov: Mr Mishustin, considering the previously introduced measures to support families with children and the latest decisions voiced by Vladimir Putin on 11 May, financial support will cover over 27 million children.
Mr Mishustin, as per your instruction, the social bloc has already created all the necessary conditions for implementing these support measures. A new support measure for families, namely, a 10,000 rouble one-off payment for each child aged between 3 and 16, was introduced on 11 May. All the necessary regulatory documents and acts for providing such support have already been approved, and the government services website and Pension Fund divisions started receiving citizens’ applications on 12 May. Mr Mishustin, as you have already noted, the government services website has already received over two million applications from Russian citizens. The relevant payments cover over three million children.
In addition, over 12,000 citizens filed relevant personal applications with Pension Fund divisions on the previous working day. Initial funds will be remitted starting 1 June. In all, we expect this support measure to cover families with 22 million children. We are planning to spend a total of 197.2 billion roubles for this purpose.
I would like to speak briefly on the monthly 5,000 rouble payments for a period of three months. From 17 April, only those families eligible for maternity capital could receive 5,000 rouble payments for each child aged under three in April, May and June. This restriction has already been lifted. The President has signed the relevant executive order, and a resolution regulating these payments has been amended. From now on, every family with newborns and children under three has the right to receive these payments. As I have already said, this amounts to 5,000 roubles for a period of three months, namely, April, May and June. These funds have already been remitted to families with over 2.2 million children. Overall cash expenses totaled 19 billion roubles. At the same time, I would like to note that people can apply for these payments on the government services website and on the Pension Fund website. And even if a family requests these payments after 1 July (until 1 October), it will still have the right to receive them. Extra funding for this task now totals 25 billion roubles.
In addition, families will be entitled to targeted support. These measures include increasing the minimum child allowance for children below the age of 18 months. These allowances mostly go to young families, students or people who were not employed when their first child was born. Some 300,000 people fall within this category in Russia. The minimum allowance used to be 3,375 roubles, but now we will double it to 6,751 roubles. We are close to finalising the corresponding regulations that will be adopted before the end of May. Funds allocated to this effect will total about 7 billion roubles.
Let me say a few words about support measures that were introduced earlier. In particular, low-income families with children aged between 3 and 7 years old will be entitled to a supplementary monthly allowance equal to 50% of the regional subsistence level. The national average for this amount will be 5,500 roubles. As of today, we have issued all the federal and regional regulations regarding this allowance. We also improved the technical platform so that people can start filing applications for this allowance on 20 May. This will be a stage-by-stage process whereby we will gradually cover all regions by 1 June. Accordingly, beginning 1 June people will be able to file applications through the government services portal, at integrated government services centres, as well as at social welfare institutions. It has been mentioned on several occasions already that these allowances will cover a period starting on 1 January 2020. This means that in June people can get paid for the first six months of the year. The national average for these payments in June will be 33,000 roubles per child between ages 3 and 7.
As for how many people will benefit from this allowance, we expect it to cover families with children of the corresponding age. About 2 million children fall within this category. We allocated 136 billion roubles to this end, including 101 billion roubles from the federal budget and about 31 billion roubles from regional budgets.
On a separate note, I would like to present a progress report regarding the instruction to support people employed in the social services sector. To minimise the risk of catching the virus, nursing homes for the elderly shifted to a special operating mode in order to restrict access to outsiders. Employees were asked to stay with the residents of these nursing homes for an entire 14-day shift without leaving their institutions and without returning home. In order to support these people, we propose offering an additional bonus for a three-month period, from 15 April through 15 July, and Vladimir Putin supported this initiative and mentioned it in his statement. These payments will be made on a per-shift basis and will depend on the type of work these people do. Doctors will get 40,000 roubles, and those who are working directly with coronavirus patients will receive 60,000 roubles. Mid-level medical staff will receive 25,000 roubles, or 35,000 roubles for those dealing with infected patients. Social workers, rehabilitation professionals, psychologists, teachers, and administrative and management staff will receive 25,000 roubles, or 35,000 roubles for those dealing with infected patients. Nurses will receive 15,000 roubles or 20,000 roubles, respectively. Maintenance staff will receive 10,000 and 15,000 roubles, respectively. We intend to allocate 7.7 billion roubles for paying out these bonuses.
We have drafted the required federal regulations, and the regions are currently doing their part of the paperwork. People will begin receiving these payments in June.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you, Mr Kotyakov. The payments we are discussing today must reach those entitled to receive them without any delays. For this reason, I am asking the Ministry of Labour to keep a close eye on how these sums will be paid to each recipient. I am also asking you to work with the Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev to monitor online services in order to ensure that people do not have any problems when they file applications for the benefits they are entitled to. He said that his agency prioritised these efforts starting yesterday.
Let us move on to economic matters. I give the floor to Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, who will tell us how the subsidised lending mechanism will work. Go ahead, please.
Maxim Reshetnikov: Mr Mishustin, colleagues. The President gave instructions with regard to launching a new loan programme starting as of 1 June to support employment. According to these instructions, we have developed and will submit a draft resolution on the main parameters of this programme to the Government today.
What do we propose? First of all, loans will be available to legal entities and private entrepreneurs who have employees and who operate in the affected industries.
We also propose expanding this programme to a number of business areas that are directly dependent on the consumer market and deal with production of consumer goods, clothing, shoes, furniture, sports equipment and toys.
Small and micro-businesses will need to prove that their major or any supplementary economic activity is related to the affected industries based on the codes specified in their constituent documents. Large companies will be eligible based on their main activity. As the President instructed, the programme will also be available to socially oriented non-profit organisations regardless of the area of their economic activity. Overall, we expect that companies and organisations with a total of 7 million workers will be able to take advantage of this programme. At the same time, the amount of the loan will be determined based on the number of employees as of 1 June multiplied by the minimum wage and the number of months between the date of the loan agreement and 1 December – but not more than six months.
The zero-interest payroll loan under the concessional loan programme that is already effective is calculated based on the same formula. Under both programmes, the loan will be issued in installments and the monthly installment will not exceed one minimum wage multiplied by the number of employees. As the President said, the loan may be used to either pay salaries or to refinance the zero-interest loan – so the loan is flexible in terms of purposes. The interest rate for companies will be 2 percent, which is significantly lower than the current rates on the market. The difference will be subsidised by the federal budget. As the President instructed, there is no need to pay interest every month. The interest will be capitalised that is, added to the main debt and paid back at the end of the term of the loan.
Loan agreements will also provide for a state guarantee of VEB.RF Corporation totalling 85 percent of the amount of the loan. This will therefore allow banks to take a different look at risks and significantly expand the provision of the loan.
Moreover, the system of subsidising banks from the budget will be built in such a way that they would be equally interested in lending to large and medium-sized enterprises, as well as small and micro-businesses. We worked on this for a long time, calculating how to build the incentive system correctly and finally developed this system. After 1 December, a company is given three months to decide what will happen next – whether it will apply for the loan to be written-off or pay the loan on its own.
The conditions for a write-off are as follows (and a write-off is, in general, the main innovation of this programme). If on 1 March 2021a company retains employment of at least 90 percent of what it was on 1 June, then the loan will be written off in full. If employment is at least 80 percent, then half of the loan will be written off. All write-offs must be completed, as the President instructed, by 1 April 2021. In case of non-compliance with the terms of the employment rate, a borrower will not be able to apply to have a loan written-off but will not lose the preferential rate of 2 percent until 1 April 2021. Later, the market rate will be applied.
Which banks will issue loans and when? The non-selection programme (that is, upon application, but as quickly as possible) will include all banks that are already participating in the wage lending programme at 0 percent. Now, there are 52 such banks. In addition to this, any other banks with a rating of at least A - or which will have a guarantee of the SME Corporation will be able to join.
To oversee and monitor the number of employees, a special platform of the Federal Tax Service will be used, which operates on data on insurance contributions from the Pension Fund. The platform has already been launched. In total, 37 banks have applied for work on this platform, while 12 are already working on it, that is, banks are actively joining.
In general, the proposed programme will be a logical continuation of the existing mechanisms of both zero-rate lending and providing grants to enterprises, which is currently underway. And, in general, it will be aimed at our common main task – the maximum support of employment in the economy.
The programme was developed by the Government together with the Bank of Russia and the banking community. I would like to take this opportunity, to thank our colleagues for the fruitful joint work they quickly carried out.
Mr Mishustin, please support this initiative. All the documents will be submitted to the Government today.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you, Mr Reshetnikov.
The only adjustment I would make here is to suggest a slightly different payment plan. I think we can let businesses choose: either one minimum wage monthly for six months, as you have said, or two minimum wages for three months, like a two-month advance payment – the number of employees multiplied by the minimum wage, so that entrepreneurs can decide which arrangement suits them best. I do not see any risks here, but this would give businesses more leeway.
18 May is the date when the tax service will begin issuing payments of the minimum wage multiplied by the number of workers, right on the eve of the loan programme. I would like to ask Head of the Federal Tax Service Daniil Yegorov to describe how this assistance will be provided to small and medium-sized businesses.
The programme we are discussing was launched on 1 May. All information resources were launched on 1 May. Applications are received via personal accounts and online communication channels. It is also possible to file the application on paper.
As of today, 307,000 applications have been filed; 227,000 of them meet the criteria in the Government resolution. This is only 18 percent of those who could file such applications. I would like to note that there are 1,619,000 employees who work at these companies that meet the criteria, which means that 40 percent of the hypothetical employees are covered by the programme. Moreover, 77,000 applications were sent to our colleagues at the Treasury. They instantly processed the list and transferred it to the banking system. This is why the payments will begin today or tomorrow. This week we will also implement your instruction to publish all the data on the status of payments for companies so that everyone can track the progress of the programme. This is the first part.
The second part. I would like to note that whether businesses and individual entrepreneurs meet all the criteria will be assessed when they provide their accounts to the Pension Fund with a company headcount for a compliance check: the benchmark is at least 90 percent of employees at the end of March.
We are also analysing the feedback: we have received over 1,000 requests from the taxpayers. We are also monitoring our information resources. What have we detected there? There are three pressure points regarding which the taxpayers have the most questions.
The first such point involves the Russian Classification of Economic Activities. The largest number of questions concerns the situation with the RCEA code 47.19, Trade/Retail Trade. I would like to express gratitude to our colleagues in the Government who have cleared the matter up overnight so that a new Government resolution was issued already this morning. We are working hard to streamline the system, and the taxpayers can now use this code to take part in the programme. This has helped over 74,000 companies and sole proprietors join the programme.
The second question the taxpayers asked concerned the decrease of personnel up to 10 percent in April and May. However, when a company has nine employees and one of them quits, this company can no longer request our assistance. Once again, we are grateful to our colleagues for acting quickly: a resolution has been issued today according to which even the loss of one person is taken into account, and the company in question or sole proprietor has the right to request assistance.
And the last but not the least important point: based on a Government decision, we have added to the register the companies that had failed to submit their financial reports on time and hence had not been included in the register.
Therefore, all companies that submitted their financial reports as of 1 April have been included in the register. Overall, the register of small and medium-sized companies has increased by 70,000 firms and sole proprietors. Now we are upgrading the information systems and notifying these taxpayers about the latest developments, that is, that they have the right to receive subsidies, and we will consider the provision of such subsidies upon their requests.
This concludes my report.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you. I would also like to thank Anton Siluanov for organising this complicated work. In fact, a comprehensive system has been created in less than a month, so that the financial reports submitted online allow us to monitor employment as well. I would like also to express gratitude to the Federal Treasury and the Federal Taxation Service for their contribution.
Colleagues, all of the measures we discussed today must be implemented as soon as possible. I am asking you to work on them as energetically as you worked on the previous projects. The task set to us by the President is to transfer the funds to the people and businesses without delay. We must not sit on our hands.
Tomorrow is a very important day. I would like you to report on the regulations that must be adopted to implement these vital decisions. Mr Belousov and I have discussed this matter. I hope we will fulfil all the current tasks set to us by the President and the people.