Agenda: The draft Transport Strategy until 2035, tax and customs benefits for businesses on the Kuril Islands, draft federal laws, budget allocations.
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks:
Yesterday, a tragedy happened in Kuzbass. A blast at a mine killed miners and rescuers who were the first to arrive at the scene. I want to express my sincere condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones. It is a huge tragedy. All the country mourns with you. Please honour the memory of those killed with a minute of silence.
Minute of silence.
The President has given all the necessary instructions. The causes of this accident must be thoroughly investigated. At the decision of the President, Acting Emergencies Minister Alexander Chupriyan, an operational team and experts from the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological, and Nuclear Supervision arrived at the site.
The top priority now is to help the injured miners. A special flight carrying medical equipment has been dispatched to the Kemerovo Region. It is important to help the miners’ families and provide them with moral support. People have lost their loved ones. It is necessary to arrange consultations with psychologists.
A directive to set up a government commission led by my deputy Alexander Novak has been signed. It is necessary to provide the injured miners and the families of those killed with the support they need. Mr Novak, please hold the meeting of this commission today.
Let us move on to the agenda and the important issue of establishing tax and customs benefits for businesses in the Kuril Islands. The President gave relevant instructions to the Government during the Eastern Economic Forum.
We have already spoken about the need to create attractive conditions for new projects in the Kuril Islands during the working trip to the Far East this summer. The remoteness from the mainland, undeveloped infrastructure and the harsh climate scare off entrepreneurs. They need to invest too much to open a new business there.
Let us review the amendments to the Tax Code that provide 20-year relief from almost all taxes for companies starting a business in the Kuril Islands. This includes income tax and corporate property tax, as well as land and transport taxes. Insurance rates will be reduced considerably, to 7.6 percent.
In addition, the islands are now a free customs zone. Goods brought from third countries will not be subject to VAT.
All investors will receive these benefits. The main condition is opening a business and creating new jobs on the Kuril Islands.
At the same time, it is important to prevent the appearance of a new offshore zone there, so that this does not provide an opportunity to those who only want to reduce their taxes. Preference will be given to companies that will operate on the islands and that are not engaged in hydrocarbon production or processing, or the production of excisable goods, crab fishing, or financial and intermediary services.
A detailed report on the issue will be given by Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.
Today, we will also consider a draft of a new Transport Strategy for the next 15 years which takes full account of the goals set by the President to speed up our country’s socioeconomic development and achieve national goals.
Improving the quality of life is a national priority. To this end, we will expand urban and suburban transit system to reduce commute time and make it as comfortable and safe as possible.
Our country is vast, so it is important to ensure high connectivity and transport accessibility throughout the country, including the Arctic and the Russian Far East. This is what the President instructed us to do. We made the corresponding benchmarks for a 10-year period part of the strategy to make sure that the overall travel between any two major cities does not take more than 12 hours. This will also boost domestic tourism.
To accomplish this, a modern across-the-country core transport network will be created. Also, the infrastructure and transport fleet will be upgraded at an accelerated pace primarily with Russian-made vehicles. High-speed motorways and rail tracks will be built. A large-scale renovation of the airfield infrastructure is in the offing which will cover over 100 airports. In addition, we will be making wider use of inland waterways.
Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev will speak in more detail about the new Transport Strategy.
Today’s agenda of the Government meeting includes an entire set of issues related to the agricultural sector.
First of all, we will review amendments to the Federal Law on Agricultural Development, which will simplify the procedure for receiving comprehensive state support by individuals and businesses operating in this industry. To do so, we will make all formal procedures available online next year. Agricultural producers will then not have to gather numerous paper-based documents. Subsidies, grants and soft loans will be just a few clicks away once the new super service becomes available. The issue is about the Agro-Industrial Complex’s Digital Service Information System. Modern technologies will help farmers significantly reduce bureaucratic procedures and radically improve their interaction with the authorities.
The Government pays great attention to the integrated development of rural communities. We travel a lot to the regions and talk to the people. It is important to provide comfortable living conditions not only in urban areas, but in rural areas as well. The rural mortgage programme is vastly popular now.
Today, we will consider allocating almost 800 million roubles for subsidising a soft interest rate for lending institutions, which for rural residents should not exceed 3 percent APR. The rural mortgage programme has already helped 50,000 families improve their living conditions this year alone. We will continue this work. We need to do more to build social infrastructure and to create new jobs in the agriculture sector.
There are two more issues regarding support for agricultural producers.
The Government continues to provide financial assistance to agricultural businesses, which we must do in order for our citizens to have a wide choice of high-quality foods, and to ensure the country’s food security in general.
This year, prices for fodder went up, including fodder for dairy cattle. Because of that, companies that engage in breeding and keeping cattle have been experiencing financial difficulties. The Government will help these companies and set aside over 10 billion roubles to reimburse them for a portion of their expenses incurred in purchasing fodder. This support measure will help stabilise the situation in the industry, preserve the livestock and the level of milk and dairy product output.
In addition, we will release over 6 billion roubles in subsidies to the budgets of 35 Russian regions. They will be used to reimburse agricultural producers for a portion of their direct outlays on creating new and upgrading existing facilities in the agro-industrial complex. These funds will help them put into operation dairy farms, large fruit and vegetable storage facilities, selection and seed production centres and a number of other important facilities which, taken together, will help develop agriculture.
Also, today’s agenda of the Government meeting includes supporting investment activity in the regions. We pay special attention to this and provide loans to reduce the debt burden and make available resources to implement infrastructure projects. In addition, this year 19 Russian regions will receive almost 860 million roubles from the federal budget. They will use these funds to partially compensate for the shortfall in revenue which is created when a business is granted income tax incentives, and will thus reduce the burden on their budgets. The assistance will encourage the regions to attract resources more energetically, to launch new investment projects on their territory, to promote employment and, of course, to increase economic capability of the regions and the country as a whole.