On the agenda: expansion of the list of vital medications; support for regional infrastructure projects on developing electric transport; renovation of schools; support for the Russian Far East; modernisation of post offices; and preparations for holding the UEFA Champions League
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks:
Good afternoon, colleagues.
Before we start discussing the agenda of the Government meeting, I would like to say a few words about the signed documents.
The first one is about providing people with medications. The President has repeatedly emphasised the importance of this issue and spoke about it at yesterday’s news conference.
The Government is carefully monitoring the situation on the Russian pharmaceuticals market, including the availability of medications in hospitals and outpatient clinics. Of course, we are taking measures against unjustified price hikes and are regulating prices on vital and essential drugs.
Their list was expanded to 808 items for the next year. A list of these medications includes not only new modern preparations but also additional forms for the five medications that were added earlier. People entitled to social benefits will continue receiving medications from this list without charge, by prescription.
One of the main decisions is to include Risdiplam on the list. It is required for people with spinal muscular atrophy. Now this expensive treatment will become more affordable for them. The inclusion of the medication on this list will make it possible to purchase it with federal and regional budgets and provide it to people free of charge.
Another four medications were added to the list of preparations required to treat cost-intensive diseases included in the Seven Nosologies Programme. Treatment of these grave diseases is expensive. Now the purchase of these and other listed medications will be paid for from the federal budget.
The second document concerns the many people using public transport. We discussed this issue in detail with representatives of big business in Yekaterinburg. Recently, it has received much attention at the federal level.
Starting last year, we have been upgrading municipal transport vehicles with the use of the leasing mechanism. We have been allocating up to 4 billion roubles for these purposes for over a year.
Our work with the regions shows that they are very interested in modernising their transport infrastructure and purchasing electric vehicles, including modern, comfortable and environmentally friendly electric buses and trams.
In an effort to help the Russian Federation’s regions make headway on this, the Government has amended the regulations for issuing budgetary infrastructure loans, and it has singled out rolling stock and infrastructure upgrade projects as a separate group.
Concession-based financing will include allocations from the federal and regional budgets, as well as VEB.RF loans and investor assets.
From early 2022 on, up to 100 billion roubles will be spent for these purposes under this approach over the next five years. The Ministry of Transport will be responsible for selecting relevant regional projects. At least ten Russian regions have expressed the desire to take part in the first stage.
So, we are set to purchase over 1,500 trams and over 400 electric buses, to build or rebuild about 700 kilometres of track and over 120 stations to recharge electric buses. I am confident that other Russian regions will be able to use this mechanism in the future.
I would like to ask the Ministry of Transport to organise this work in the most efficient manner and, if necessary, to assist the regions in drafting applications for infrastructure loans, etc.
Today, the Government’s agenda also includes school renovation matters. We will start complete overhaul of school buildings on 1 January. As per the President’s instruction, we plan to renovate over 7,000 buildings in five years.
The Government has drafted a directive on distributing subsidies among 80 regions of the Russian Federation for this purpose over the next two years. We will allocate almost 92 billion roubles to renovate over 2,000 schools. There are plans to not only renovate buildings, but also to provide them with all the necessary equipment and create opportunities to engage in sporting activities.
Of course, the situation differs from region to region. The list of high-priority projects is based on their requests. Federal budget subsidies will be remitted under a co-funding mechanism. Some regions will work on just one or two schools, and others have to overhaul dozens of schools.
It is important that parents’ committees and parent-teacher associations get involved in the planning, and the wishes of the children should also be taken into account. While meeting with Government members, the President asked us to pay more attention to this process. Our children should be learning at good and modern schools. And the adopted decisions will help create a comfortable and safe education environment.
Now, regarding support for certain regions, specifically, regions in the Russian Far East. The President stressed that those territories are of special importance to Russia because they have enormous potential. The Government is also focused on the Far Eastern Federal District; we make regular visits to monitor the real time improvements in the quality of life and developments in infrastructure, which makes it easier to create new jobs. We will allocate another 5.5 billion roubles from the federal budget for these purposes. Six Far Eastern regions, including Yakutia, Chukotka, the Trans-Baikal Territory, the Kamchatka Territory, the Primorye Territory and the Khabarovsk Territory, will receive state support. We have drafted a directive that is to help build new and renovate existing infrastructure in the priority development areas. These include new buildings in industrial parks and motorways, power grid and gas system connections, plumbing system maintenance, and many related matters. We hope that these measures will significantly stimulate the socioeconomic development of the Far East.
The next issue on the agenda concerns one of the biggest Russian companies, Russian Post, a national postal services provider. The company has branches in every corner of this country without exaggeration, from big cities to small towns and villages. They are particularly needed in the most remote areas where there is no alternative to this state-run postal services provider. Private companies do not find it commercially feasible to open branches there, but people everywhere still need to send and receive letters and packages, not to mention the fact that many of them receive pensions and other social benefits via post. This service must have good operating conditions. The President issued instructions to upgrade postal facilities in all rural and remote areas within the next three years – all 25,160 of them. About half of them are in really bad shape, with wear and tear levels over 50 percent. We will be dealing with this task in stages. Next year, the Government will allocate 5 billion roubles to upgrade almost 1,200 rural post service branches, to bring them up to proper condition. Prefabricated buildings will be constructed, if necessary. The funding will also be spent on furnishings and equipment. It is important that Russian Post branches become truly convenient and modern regardless of location. I would like to ask the Ministry of Digital Development to take charge of monitoring this issue.
Next. In 2022, Russia will host an important event, the final match of the UEFA Champions League. Football fans from all over the world will flock to hospitable St Petersburg at the end of May. Preparations are in full swing. We have solid experience from organising the FIFA World Cup, the Confederations Cup and hosting the matches of the UEFA European Football Championship. Today we will discuss the legislative changes that are necessary for this upcoming event to be held successfully. It has been proposed that we introduce rules similar to those that were in effect during the previous sporting events. The rules will be in effect until the end of 2022. Football fans will be able to enter Russia without visas by showing a Fan ID. The same document will allow them to use public transport for free. This practice proved to be helpful during the championships we hosted before.
As before, it is important to prevent unreasonable hotel price hikes. We will issue a corresponding regulation. Advertising during UEFA events will also be regulated. Naturally, security measures will be toughened. We must do all we can to make sure that even as the pandemic goes on, visitors can enjoy comfortable stadium visits and health hazards are low. Russia will not only fulfill its obligations to the UEFA but make the final match of the championship a spectacular and memorable event for football fans from all countries.