On the agenda: Support for the agro-industrial complex and the development of the social sphere in the Far Eastern Federal District.
Opening remarks by Mikhail Mishustin:
Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today we will start with the issue of support for the agro-industrial complex. This sector, despite the restrictions imposed by unfriendly nations, is showing a generally positive trend. At the same time, the President has drawn attention to the need to address the challenges caused by the sanctions.
A government resolution has been signed to help our agribusiness make timely payments under foreign trade contracts, for which purpose the rules for granting subsidies to Russian lenders have been adjusted. This will enable the domestic agricultural industry to continue to effectively use state support, including with respect to previously granted preferential investment loans at rates of up to five percent.
We are also extending the terms of previously granted soft investment loans for the construction of new greenhouse complexes from 12 to 15 years. Such assistance is in demand in many regions. We spoke about the need for this measure during our recent working visits to the Far East and the Moscow Region. One of the reasons for this is the disruption of supply chains for imported machinery and equipment. We hope that this step will reduce the risks for the investors involved in such projects and enable us to increase the volume of fresh fruit and vegetables supplied to the domestic market throughout the year.
Another decision worth mentioning has to do with the support for small businesses in rural areas. For the first time, a preferential loan at the rate of up to five percent will be available to private farms. This applies not only to short-term loans, but also to investment projects. For this purpose, we have expanded the list of eligible borrowers by including the owners of smallholdings who pay taxes on professional income in a timely manner. In this way, the self-employed people in rural areas will be able to not only provide food for themselves and their families, but also to expand their businesses engaged in producing or processing agricultural products.
All these measures are necessary in order to continue effectively addressing the issue of food security.
The Government has already taken a number of steps to reduce the import component in domestic agricultural products. The President has repeatedly stressed the importance of this work. Given the risk of sanctions, we have made provisions for additional support measures. A resolution has been signed to expand the opportunities for domestic agribusinesses to receive subsidies in several areas at once.
We are increasing the reimbursement of the costs for the establishment and modernisation of seed-breeding centres from 20 to 50 percent. This step will help reduce the payback period of these projects almost by half and attract more investors, thus increasing the share of Russian-made seeds on the domestic market.
In addition, we are expanding the list of subsidised areas in order to expedite the construction and renovation of aquaculture feed production facilities. Businesses that are willing to invest in such facilities will be able to count on 20 percent compensation for their expenses, which will allow us to cover the needs of the fishery complex for necessary fodder in a fairly short time. This package of measures will start operating next year. We hope that this will help increase production in the Russian agricultural sector.
One more issue. The Government is paying particular attention to the social sector, including the economic growth centres of the Far Eastern Federal District. The President emphasised that it was important to develop a comprehensive, systematic approach to improving the quality of life in those areas. We discussed these issues in detail during a working visit to the macro-region, and in order to speed up the development of seven Russian regions in the Far East, we will spend around 1.3 billion roubles this year. The money will be used to build apartment houses, a creative cluster for IT specialists, a kindergarten and school, to improve the city centre in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and purchase dozens of buses and trolley buses, as well as to build a new leisure and entertainment centre in the Yakut village of Byas-Kyuyol that was damaged by forest fires, following the Russian leader’s instruction. Next year, we will also allocate about 300 million roubles for these purposes. These resources will help create a favourable environment for residents of cities and other populated areas in the macro-region, to make travel and places for walks and recreation more comfortable there.