Agenda: Federal draft bills and budgetary funding.
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks
Good afternoon, colleagues,
Before we start discussing our agenda, I would like to say a few words about the development of motorways in Russian constituent entities. This is important for strengthening regional economies and providing affordable goods and services to residents of small towns and villages. And, of course, tourists also stand to gain from this.
As per the President’s instructions, we are expanding the required infrastructure for domestic tourism. This year, over 300 roads to tourist landmarks should be repaired. They cover a total distance of about 1,500 kilometres, and almost 20 billion roubles have been allocated to carry out the project.
We will overhaul regional routes and city streets in the Yaroslavl and Kostroma regions and on Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk Region. We will do the same in the Tomsk region where famous Siberian wooden architecture landmarks are located.
A road leading to the world-famous Kizhi landmark will be built in the Republic of Karelia. Tourists currently visit the landmark only during the five-month navigation season on Lake Onega. The motorway will become a worthy alternative to this route, and tourists will be able to go there at any time of the year.
On the whole, the Safe and High-Quality Roads national project is now being implemented in 84 regions and 105 major cities. Over 16,000 km of motorways will be overhauled before the year is out.
I would like to draw the attention of regional leaders to the fact that all planned road improvement projects for access to tourist landmarks should be completed this year.
On today’s agenda we’ve got a matter that has to do with saving the lives of people suffering from serious conditions. We’re going to be looking into changes that can be made concerning the legislation on organ transplants.
In some of the cases, the only way to overcome a disease is by having a bone marrow transplant. Thousands of patients, including children, are in need of undergoing such a procedure. However, trying to find a suitable donor is not an easy job, and sometimes it takes days. This is why Russia will now have a federal register of bone marrow donors. This will be a detailed database that will be constantly updated. Specialists will be able to quickly go to it to find the right donor for their patients, not only in their own region, but across the country. Donor volunteers will have all their travel expenses to the transplant site and back covered.
Any person who tries to save a life deserves the greatest respect. They come to the rescue at a moment when help is especially needed. They give hope for recovery to seriously ill patients. It is important that nothing threatens their health either. Donors need to have all the information about the possible complications before the operation. We will secure for them the right to medical examinations, treatment and rehabilitation. These decisions will help more people who need transplants get the necessary treatment and primarily children for whom a bone marrow transplant is often a chance to forget all about the terrible disease.
Also, today we will allocate almost 1.67 billion roubles to purchase equipment for medical, educational and sports facilities. The money will be provided as part of our obligations under government contracts that were signed last year and will be used to supply 115 ambulances to the regions, up to 1,500 new musical instruments to children's art schools, and the necessary inventory and equipment for sports centres.
In addition to all this, educational institutions will receive over 6,000 kits for hand disinfection and temperature measurement. The constituent entities of the Russian Federation will receive 112 kits for full body screening and testing athletes’ physical fitness.
Today we will also discuss a block of questions regarding the development of the timber industry. We discussed this issue at length during the President’s meeting with government members last week. As instructed by the President, we have prepared amendments to the Forestry Code and local governance laws. These changes concern the inventory and evaluation of forests as well as their more efficient use.
In addition, the bill differentiates between the powers of government forest management bodies at the federal and local levels and determines their areas of responsibility. This being said, all their tasks will be part of a single federal plan.
We are also establishing rules to stimulate timber stock trading. We continue to work on decriminalising the industry. From now on, even the presence of illegal woodcutters in a forest with woodcutting equipment will be considered timber harvesting. They will not be able to avoid administrative liability.
In addition to that, the Government is to clarify the authority of nature conservation agencies when it comes to fire protection of specially protected areas. This concerns more than 200 nature reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Russia. Detecting and promptly eliminating fire there is a difficult task. Aerial firefighting is essential.
Based on the experience of the past few years, the situation is particularly challenging in the Irkutsk Region and Buryatia. Forests in the Baikal natural area are burning constantly. We want to expand the authority of the Federal Agency for Forestry in order to increase the efficiency of firefighting efforts in the Baikal area. The agency will be responsible for aerial forest protection tasks on this territory.
Another item on the agenda is standard design in capital construction. We will discuss a bill that supplements the Urban Development Code.
This primarily concerns building new schools, kindergartens, outpatient clinics, roads and other social and transport infrastructure that makes cities people friendly. These projects must be of high quality and yet time- and cost-effective. We have discussed this important issue many times during working trips and meetings with regional representatives.
With ready-made project designs available for such standard facilities, it will not be necessary to develop project documentation from scratch every time. To take advantage of such designs, a project must pass a regulatory review and be classified as standard and, therefore, included in a unified register.
Federal and municipal customers will then be able to use the ready-made designs free of charge. This should reduce the construction period for socially significant projects by six months on average while also reducing public spending on their design.
And one more thing: the Government is continuing to work on harmonising our legislation with the legal standards of the European Union. Today, we’re going to be discussing comprehensive amendments to the application of free customs zone regulations. They will greatly expand the possibilities of the resident companies of special economic zones, which have a right to tax and customs benefits. The customs clearance procedure will be simplified for materials and products that are imported for the purpose of construction, repair or technical maintenance of equipment, as well as for research .
There will also be changes in the restrictions on the movement of foreign-made products that are imported via free customs zones. From now on, companies will be able to move these products, in some cases, beyond the benefits zones, including for production purposes.
These decisions will allow us to boost investment activities, primarily for small and medium-sized enterprises, and to increase capital flow into the economy of the regions where special economic zones are located, notably the Kaliningrad Region, Crimea, the Port of Vladivostok, and several others.