Agenda: Finalising the national economic recovery plan; cleaning up of the oil spill near Norilsk; and measures to develop tourism and open the resort season.
The meeting was held via video conference.
Excerpts from the transcript:
Last week we presented to the President a national action plan to restore employment and people’s income, ensure economic growth and provide long-term structural changes. It is being finalised, with due account for the decisions taken at the industry-specific meetings with the President.
I would like to ask Andrei Belousov and Maxim Reshetnikov, in finalising the plan, to hold a series of meetings with members of the business and expert communities and take into account the positions of the Federation Council and the State Duma.
Colleagues, I want to underscore that the key objective of the plan is to promote the wellbeing of our people. And all its measures – not only in the social sphere, but also in terms of support for specific sectors – should be aimed at this result. Only this will let us achieve a stable GDP growth trajectory.
Our primary goal is to restore employment and support people at a difficult time. And stable growth of incomes requires a new, fully-fledged investment period. This is why our plan contains so many measures to support investment in the projects of big business as well as medium and small-sized enterprises. Then we will be able to create additional demand for specialists, ensure the necessary level of salaries, reduce the number of the poor, and increase the number of people employed at small and medium-sized businesses.
I ask Mr Belousov to hold meetings to work out a clear algorithm towards the goal – a steady growth in citizens’ incomes. Each item in the plan must be headed for that result.
Also, the Government continues to work to prioritise federal budget spending. The Finance Ministry along with other ministries and agencies has managed to find the resources for the Government’s reserve fund, around 600 billion roubles. This will be used to fund support measures for individuals and affected industries.
Working on the national plan allows us to refine our priorities including under the national projects and state programmes, and redistribute the funds accordingly.
Funding the social sphere and economic support measures is extremely important now. It is unacceptable when funds allocated by the state remain unused rather than produce benefits. The money must be directed towards our goals or be redirected to urgent measures such as mitigating the effects of the coronavirus, for example.
The ministries and agencies must continue to actively cooperate with the Finance Ministry on this issue.
And now, concerning social support for people who lost their jobs due to the spread of the coronavirus. The labour market is gradually stabilising. This is partly thanks to the regions’ step-by-step moves out of the lockdown. Also, the Government-designed package of measures to support employment and the economy also contributed to this.
We will continue to provide support to citizens who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus. Last week, the President gave a number of instructions and the Government worked them out. A resolution has been drafted on implementing them.
First, the minimum unemployment benefit for May through July will be tripled.
Second, sole proprietors, who were forced to close their businesses after 1 March, will get a maximum unemployment benefit of 12,130 roubles a month in June through August.
Third, the number of families with children under 18 who will receive an allowance of 3,000 roubles per child in June through August has been expanded.
Apart from that, those whose eligibility for unemployment benefits expired after 1 March are entitled to a three month extension.
And one more serious item. A large disaster happened in the Krasnoyarsk Territory last week. An oil spill occurred in a water reservoir outside Norilsk city, caused by a fuel tank rupture. A significant amount of resources, effort and time will be spent on relief.
This was discussed in detail at a meeting with the President; he instructed us to take a number of prompt measures to minimise the damage.
The Emergencies Ministry, Marine Rescue Service and Gazpromneft specialists invited by Nornickel have quickly brought in the technical experience and equipment for collecting this oil product, and also temporary storage depots for contaminated soil. The work is being done under strict control from the respective services and agencies. Rostekhnadzor and Rospotrebnadzor agencies will shortly analyse the performance of the companies that potentially carry a similar risk of damaging nature. If necessary, they will arrange the monitoring of compliance with environmental law.
The President instructed the Government and the MPs to finish work on amendments to environmental legislation in the shortest possible time. The amendments must be designed to eliminate a similar situation in the future and ensure environmental safety.
This work must be done as soon as possible so that we can submit the amendments to the State Duma before the end of the current parliamentary session.
I ask Ms Abramchenko to coordinate this work and keep it under her personal control.
Today we will discuss another important issue – measures to boost tourism including domestic tourism. On Friday, the President signed an executive order to move Rosturism agency to direct Government oversight. The tourism industry is not only among the most affected but also one of the most promising industries. It has great potential, and under the current conditions has acquired strategic significance. The President repeatedly pointed that out. We must take a system-wide approach towards the development of the tourism industry. We have no problem with demand for domestic tourism as many citizens want to travel around their country. The problem is the lack of quality tourist infrastructure and competitive service prices. We will be overcoming this hurdle by actively supporting investment in the industry. This has been included in the national plan. Among the specific actions are preferential terms for the repayment of earlier loans by tourism companies, and expanding state support for domestic and inbound tour operators.
We are ready to gradually begin the summer holiday season. On 1 June, many regions began reopening their health resorts that have a medical licence. A plan to lift quarantine restrictions from the Russian tourism industry has been developed. Rospotrebnadzor has approved recommendations on coronavirus prevention for all organisations that treat people at resorts and accommodate tourists. Sanitary rules for various kinds of transport have also been developed. Compliance with these requirements will be carefully monitored. I instruct Rostourism and the heads of Russian regions to quickly resolve all the remaining issues on the resort season and help welcome visitors.
Next I would like to give the floor to Dmitry Chernyshenko. He will elaborate on additional proposals to develop tourism in Russia.
Mr Chernyshenko, please.
Dmitry Chernyshenko: Thank you, Mr Mishustin.
You have noted that tourism, above all our domestic tourism, has huge potential. The average Russian makes 0.4 trips annually, while people living in countries that are leaders in tourism make 5–7 trips per year. This means there is potential for ten-fold growth. Today it is our job to promote domestic tourism and, as you said, create a competitive offer on our market so that people choose our comfortable and affordable holidays out of the many options.
In line with your instructions, we have devised a number of priority measures to quickly launch the season and support the industry in the future. It is important that these measures have been developed in a dialogue with all the representatives of the tourism industry, with special consideration for the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, which make up a large part of it.
First of all, we believe it necessary to support family tourism and tourism with children by offering additional reduced rates on tours with children. And we plan to diversify children’s tourism so that every child can go on holiday during the summer. In line with your instructions, Rostourism is developing special cultural and educational programmes for children.
On the one hand, new proposals are being developed. On the other, they must be reasonably priced. We need to help Rostourism, tour agencies and carriers – railway and airline companies – to launch new domestic routes starting in July, to such destinations as the Kaliningrad Region, Khakassia, Lake Baikal and the Altai Mountains. We want charter flights to operate on these routes for the first time. They already have such an agreement. It will make trips much cheaper. Over the summer, we plan to open over 10 such new destinations. For example, a trip to Baikal (which is quite far away, so the trip can be expensive as the flight ticket makes up the bulk of the tour price) for 10 days will cost about 45,000 roubles. I would call it an achievement.
This year, Rostourism will for the first time provide grants to support businesses and local projects to develop ecotourism and camping hotels. I am referring to quickly assembled modular accommodation pavilions, camping parks for motor tourists, where they can arrive conveniently, stay safely and get service so that motor tourism would gain popularity.
We will also work on making spa and wellness holidays more affordable, including through tax incentives. Rehabilitation facilities and resort hotels are already operating while respecting the Rospotrebnadzor recommended coronavirus precautions. Sanitary standards for specific segments are also being developed.
It is also important to take care of cruise companies, infrastructure, beaches, amusement parks, catering facilities, and ecotourism companies. On your instruction, we have already issued relevant instructions to the heads of the regions, and by 15 June, they will prepare plans for opening the tourism industry in their regions. They are developing these plans together with Rostourism, Rospotrebnadzor and the Ministry of Healthcare, because it is important that the regions resume these operations carefully, gradually and in compliance with all the necessary safety measures.
You already said that some of the spa and resort facilities that have medical licences opened on 1 June. In 25 regions, hotels are receiving domestic guests, and we expect that in the coming weeks, hotels will reopen in half of the Russian regions – more than 40 regions meet the reopening criteria as of today.
We can also see enormous potential for the development of travel between regions. First of all, of course, these plans will involve the cities of the Golden Ring, the Volga area, and the north-west of our country. The general approach is such that we will most likely spend the whole of June preparing the facilities and infrastructure for reopening, and from 1 July, we believe it will be possible to fully launch the industry for interregional trips.
It is certainly important to prepare the healthcare system, especially in the regions that traditionally handle the most tourists, and we are well aware of this. We have already instructed the Ministry of Healthcare to work out proposals for balancing the healthcare system in each region where the workload will increase due to the arrival of tourists, and the Federal Tourism Agency has sent its estimates of the potential number of tourists to the Ministry.
Our next goal is to ensure a comfortable and safe stay in the private sector. We need to create the right conditions and incentives for the legalisation of private rental services, for example, one-time subsidies to owners of accommodation facilities who register businesses and comply with the recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor and the Emergencies Ministry.
And another important area is information and awareness, that is, informing citizens about the possibilities of our domestic tourism. Because, frankly, people know little about their domestic travel options and often rely on word-of-mouth advertising, which is clearly not enough.
All these measures that we propose require very good interdepartmental teamwork. And it was the right decision to put tourism under the direct control of the Government – this will help coordinate the efforts of many ministries and agencies. I count on your support and assistance, and I am confident that we will be able to fulfil the President’s order.