Mikhail Mishustin: “The main goals for this year will be to preserve jobs and support the most vulnerable social groups, as well as ensure financial and price stability. All our economic policy mechanisms will be geared towards achieving these aims.”
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks:
Good morning, colleagues.
Today, we have several items on our agenda that have to do with budget policy. Yesterday, we discussed the current situation in great detail during the meeting with the President. Stability is vitally important as far as budget policy is concerned because it enables the economy to better adapt to the new reality and the challenges the Western sanctions entail.
The main goals for this year will be to preserve jobs and support the most vulnerable social groups, as well as ensure financial and price stability. All our economic policy mechanisms will be geared towards achieving these aims.
In keeping with the presidential instructions, we adopted system-wide decisions to reinforce our country’s industrial, technological and food potential. The Government keeps a close eye on all sectors of the economy without exception and promptly comes up with additional measures to help businesses. All these measures find their way into the priority action plan.
The overall financial impact from these measures, including both direct support and deferred taxes, exceeds 5 trillion roubles.
There are other measures, too. This year, the fiscal stimulus measures will be in excess of 8 trillion roubles.
Of course, such spending requires a solid financial footing. To guarantee sound finances, the Government carries out a responsible and well-balanced fiscal policy, just as it has been doing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Budget revenue increased substantially in the first four months. This, of course, was largely attributable to a sharp increase in oil and gas revenue.
The surge in incoming revenue enabled the Government to increase allocations to the National Wealth Fund. In early May, we decided to transfer an additional 800 billion roubles there, for a total of 1.4 trillion roubles since the beginning of the year.
This is a critical tool for funding initiatives to support our people and the economy.
Higher revenue also offered us an opportunity to increase spending. In January-April, it increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period last year.
The Government has been prompt to offer its support. We allocated more funds to development projects and paying for procurement contracts in advance. Regions have also benefited from more support. For example, they can now replace private debt with budget loans at a lower interest rate.
Colleagues, there is no doubt that the collective West will search for new ways to pressure Russia and lower our incomes.
We must be prepared to face any situation by developing solutions to neutralise the negative impacts, while sticking to a responsible budget policy.
We need to make sure that our programmes and spending have precise and effective targets, and strike a balance between support measures and financial and price stability.
At this stage, we can already see that this approach has been effective, which includes efforts to support demand in several sectors by offering subsidised interest rates and cheaper loans in general, and the fact that inflation has been slowing down, which is expected to further reinforce this trend moving forward.
By carrying on with this policy, we can lay the groundwork for putting our economy back on track to stable development once it adapts to the challenges it faces, despite the unprecedented external pressure.