Agenda: expanding the parameters of the rural mortgage programme, the national report on the results of the state agricultural development programme, expanding business support measures, and support for Crimean tourism businesses.
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks:
Good afternoon, colleagues.
Before we move on to the agenda of the Government meeting, I would like to say a few words about a decision we took that has to do with the development of our regions.
The Government is improving the mechanism for providing rural mortgages. On the President’s instruction, we have made this state programme open-ended. More than 19.5 billion roubles have been allocated in the federal budget for its implementation this year.
Under the current rules, one can buy ready-made housing, and also build it with the involvement of a specialised organisation. And the mortgage is available at an annual interest rate of up to three percent. More than 116,000 borrowers have already used such support in the past three-plus years.
Now the Government is expanding the terms for citizens to participate in the state programme. First of all, the amount of a soft loan will increase from three million to six million roubles for the residents of those regions of the Russian Federation that apply this mechanism.
We are also correcting the purposes of this loan so that people have more choice when buying housing in rural areas. It will be possible to take out a loan to buy a flat in a multi-storey building in key settlements. There are more than 1,500 of them throughout the country. There, the infrastructure necessary for people will be created at an accelerated pace as part of the implementation of the Cities of Great Opportunities and the Revival of Small Residential Communities strategic initiative.
Another innovation will make it possible for rural residents, those who prefer this option, to purchase a ready-made house kit funded by credit and build a house for themselves.
All these measures are an important part of the integrated development of the regions. The president emphasised that the demand for new housing, and above all for a new quality of life, is colossal.
This decision will help people in rural areas to get a house or a flat of their own more quickly. It will also help attract larger numbers of people of various professions that are in demand in these areas.
Now let’s get over to the agenda of the Government meeting. A national report has been prepared on the results of the implementation of the state programme for the development of agriculture over the past year.
After the discussion, the document will be submitted to the State Duma to become the foundation for improving the efficiency of the sector and increasing the exports of Russian agricultural products and raw materials to foreign markets.
As the president noted, agricultural exports reached a new maximum. This confirms that there is serious demand for Russian agricultural products and raw materials, meaning that farmers have additional opportunities for growth.
Significant funds were allocated for the implementation of the state programme last year: an almost unprecedented amount of more than 423 billion roubles.
The system-wide state support that the Government provides and will continue to provide to this economic sector has made it possible to guarantee Russia’s food security. We are fully self-sufficient in grain, vegetable oil, sugar, meat and fish, even surpassing our own targets. Every year, the production of milk, potatoes, fruit, berries, and domestic seeds is growing. And we have once again repeated the record for vegetables grown in greenhouses, which means greater reliability in supplying consumers with the necessary products all year round, including in remote areas.
At the same time, we are witnessing an increase in capacity: more hectares of farmland are being sown each year, crop yields are increasing, and machinery and equipment are being upgraded.
It is important that Russia is increasing deep processing of grain and production of additives for the food industry and livestock farming.
There are also tangible results in creating conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas. The agricultural organisations, which benefited from the Agroprogress grant, have provided an increase in production by more than 23 percent last year. And on family farms, which used the same tools of support, the increase was more than 34 percent. As a result, almost 1,500 jobs were created.
Feedback channels from agricultural producers have also been established. We promptly respond to their requests and offer new mechanisms of assistance in those market segments where there are additional opportunities for growth. These include a project to develop vegetable and potato growing, as well as subsidies for planting vineyards. We have recently discussed this in detail.
And, of course, Agrotourism grants in rural areas should be mentioned. The number of such projects has increased by almost a third this year.
These initiatives are an important part of the socio-economic well-being of Russia’s regions, and of the qualitative improvement of living conditions in the countryside for our citizens.
The Government continues to expand support measures for businesses.
The President has emphasised the importance of maintaining the required level of investment. A large set of instruments has been put in place to achieve this. It is constantly being improved on the basis of existing practices, taking into account feedback from business owners.
On the instructions of the President, we have drafted a bill to improve the mechanism of the investment tax deduction. It establishes uniform criteria for the application of this benefit at the regional level and links it to the implementation of projects, including those aimed at achieving Russia’s technological sovereignty.
From now on, companies that are included in the relevant register will be able to take advantage of this deduction. The state will reimburse them up to a quarter of their capital expenses over five years.
Another important issue. On 1 July, we introduced an excise tax on sugar-containing beverages, which effectively limited producers’ and sellers’ access to certain support programmes. We recently discussed this with representatives of business associations at a meeting of the Government Commission for Small and Medium Business Development.
In this regard, we have prepared adjustments to the draft law to preserve state support measures, primarily for cafes, hotels and other service and catering organisations that sell sweet drinks.
We hope that these initiatives will provide businesses with additional funds for further development and, in general, will help increase economic activity in the country and the supply of goods needed by people.
The next issue concerns the hospitality industry in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.
Organisations and individual entrepreneurs in the tourism industry of these Russian regions are experiencing significant difficulties because of logistics. We discussed this topic in detail at the recent meeting with the President, and the President ordered support for the industry.
To preserve the tourism potential of Crimea and Sevastopol, the Government will allocate more than 2.5 billion roubles. These funds are provided for a lump sum payment to the employees of more than 3.5 thousand companies, if within 12 months – since October last year – they maintain employment at least at the level of 80 percent.
Today, it is important to take all necessary measures so that tourism enterprises can keep their staff and continue doing business. And to be ready to receive all citizens who want to vacation in Crimea.