The agenda: Payments to hero mothers, shielding social benefits from debt collection, the state of competition in the economy, additional support measures for agricultural producers, and funding for road construction.
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks: Colleagues, good afternoon.
This year, the President decided to revive the Soviet-era Hero Mother honorary title. Those who receive it will also be entitled to a generous payment of 1 million roubles. Since January 2022, the benefits allocated to those awarded the Order of Parental Glory increased fivefold to 500,000 roubles. In addition to this, in August we started paying out 200,000 roubles when awarding the Parental Glory medal.
The Government has earmarked over 30 million roubles to this effect this year, and the corresponding directive has been signed.
Let us now move on to the agenda.
The Government is streamlining support measures for people facing financial hardship.
As per the President’s instructions, we are working to shield social benefits and allowances from being taken away as part of debt collection. The President said that we must fine-tune the corresponding regulations.
We have already taken several steps in this direction. It is no longer possible to take away benefits paid out to pregnant women in payment for their debts, and the same applies to child support and maternity capital benefits, as well as money paid out as part of disaster relief efforts and other essential social payments.
We drafted legislative amendments expanding the list of income sources shielded from debt collectors regardless of the type of debt. This includes social pensions for disabled children and additional social payments they receive. The same support measures will cover adult people with disabilities.
We will also shield the federal social allowance, which supplements the survivor’s pensions, from debt collection.
It is our hope that these adjustments will help people retain the incomes the state owes them and will improve the safety net for them.
Let us discuss the state of economic competition. I will touch on some key aspects.
Russia ranks among those few countries that successfully coped with the pandemic crisis and its aftermath in 2021. First of all, this was made possible by quickly assisting businesses and the people. New challenges requiring additional solutions emerged this year, joint efforts by the Government and the Bank of Russia made it possible to even out many risks, to stabilise the financial sphere, to prevent trade deficit and to support the incomes of the country’s residents.
We reduced the financial, tax and administrative burden on businesses. The Government cancelled an overwhelming majority of scheduled audits by oversight agencies before the year is out, and it also limited the number of unscheduled audits.
The implementation of these measures helps adapt the economy to current realities still further, and transform logistic and commodity chains. Competition is a key growth factor in conditions of an open market. Despite serious challenges, the Government strives to maintain economic competition in the future. Last year, we adopted a new five-year national plan for developing this aspect, and we are already implementing some of its measures. We have drafted proposals on improving the situation in certain sectors.
The Government continues to implement measures that were included in a priority action plan to facilitate national economic development in conditions of external sanctions pressure.
One such measure aimed to reduce the debt burden on major businesses, including enterprises that borrowed loans with floating interest rates. As a result, they faced serious challenges and greater debt-servicing costs this past spring. To support these organisations, we stipulated a three-month easy-term transitional period. This measure proved rather popular because their loan interest rates increased gradually and reached market levels only by the fourth month. Borrowers shall repay the resulting margin between standard loan interest rates and market interest rates from 1 January 2023. Any company meeting the Government-stipulated criteria does not have to repay this margin. The state will have to repay 70 percent of this sum, and the balance shall be deemed settled. The Government will allocate about 26 billion roubles for this purpose. This sum will make it possible to repay all debts completely, by supporting banks involved in the programme, and to release substantial resources that the enterprises will be able to use for new projects, namely, readjusting their businesses in the context of current tasks, reorienting logistics or mastering promising technologies.
Now let us review the development of agriculture and related industries. Speaking at the recent meeting on autumn farm work, the President stressed the need to increase production in order to both saturate the domestic market with high-quality, affordable goods and boost Russian exports. Grain production is of strategic importance in the context of our efforts to ensure Russia’s food security. This year, 10 billion roubles has been allocated for that purpose. The Government Commission on Enhancing Economic Resilience discussed this matter as well.
We see the potential risks inherent in lower grain purchasing prices and higher costs for agricultural producers because of market instability caused, among other things, by the actions of unfriendly countries.
For this reason, additional support for farmers is needed. We will allocate another 10 billion roubles to facilitate grain production and marketing, which will make it possible to improve farms’ profitability, while preserving their competitiveness. Sixty-four regions will get the funds.
We hope that this decision will help the agriculture industry to continue showing impressive results, enabling Russian citizens to buy high-quality home-grown food.
We will also discuss road-building. We continue taking measures to promote the priority development of transport infrastructure. The President has repeatedly stressed the need to improve territorial connectivity. Building major motorways across the country will promote economic growth in the regions and improve the quality of life for millions of people.
Before the end of this year, the Government will allocate 35 billion roubles for the construction and reconstruction of federal roads.
This will make it possible to accelerate the implementation of numerous plans as part of the Safe High-Quality Roads national project, provide additional support to construction companies, and bring more orders to plants involved in road construction projects.
The important thing is to use
all these funds with maximum efficiency. It is necessary to constantly monitor this