Agenda: Federal budget performance in the first nine months of 2023; raising wages in the public sector; supporting regional healthcare systems; developing the auto industry; expanding participation of farm owners in tourist programmes.
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks:
Good afternoon, colleagues.
We will start with an important topic, implementing the President’s May Executive Order that concerns raising wages in the public sector. The President stressed that all wage parameters must be strictly observed. The workers in question include professionals in the spheres and industries essential for society and the country.
The Government has allocated over 36 billion roubles for these purposes this year. Wages will be increased for school and kindergarten teachers, college instructors, university professors, cultural workers, researchers, and healthcare professionals.
Today, we will additionally allocate over 11 billion roubles. This funding will also be spent on fulfilling social obligations to the workers of specific federal public organisations.
Also, there is the issue of supporting the employees in our public healthcare system. According to the President’s May Executive Order, the wages of paramedics and nurses must be at least the regional average while doctors’ wages must be double the regional average. To ensure that these levels can be reached, the Government has decided to allocate almost 30.5 billion roubles additionally.
It is very important to ensure that in every Russian region, the funds actually reach the medical staff.
One of our priorities is providing a decent level of income to public sector workers and, of course, those who take care of people’s health and save lives.
Today we will discuss the federal budget and its implementation over the first nine months of the year. Thanks to the President’s decisions, support for different industries and our citizens, the Russian economy continues to develop despite the external challenges.
According to a preliminary Ministry of Economic Development estimate, Russia’s GDP grew 3.2 percent between January and October, with the highest indicator in the manufacturing industry (almost 7.5 percent).
These results have had an impact on federal budget revenues. In the reporting period, the first nine months, revenues exceeded the forecast by more than 3 percent. A slight decline in revenues from the oil and gas sector, due to shifts in logistics, was compensated for by value-added taxes and profit taxes, various excise duties and other non-oil-and-gas payments, which came as a result of higher business activity, the expansion of existing and the launch of new domestic projects for the production of goods important to people and industries.
Our expenses have increased as well, reaching around 70 percent of the updated budget spending targets. This is the highest three-quarter financing result of the past decade. To a great extent, this was possible thanks to tougher discipline and higher accountability when using budget resources. Many contracts were signed between January and March, and some received expedited funding. We are monitoring the outcome of our subsidies. A range of other important measures were taken.
The budget for the next three years has been signed. I would like to draw all parties’ attention to the fact that we must do our best for the funds to start arriving from the first days of 2024.
The Government meeting agenda includes the development of the automobile industry. We continue to provide comprehensive support to domestic car-makers given the external restrictions, including against the backdrop of the difficulties with importing foreign-made parts.
To guarantee uninterrupted auto assembly, we need to localise the manufacturing of auto parts as much as possible. We have repeatedly said this, including at our strategic sessions.
The Government will allocate additional 15 billion roubles to the Industrial Development Fund. Subsidies will be provided to fund at least ten important projects, including mass-production of antilock brake systems and passive safety components.
This decision will help speed up the development and manufacturing of auto parts. At the same time, it is necessary to control the end price of Russian-made cars. The President has pointed out the need to watch the justification of pricing.
Another important initiative relates to the more active promotion of engineering activity, as well as works related to industrial design. To that end, we will discuss amendments to the federal law on industrial policy and include these two relatively new areas in it. This will give an additional boost to their development and will help create not only reliable and contemporary car models, but also any other complicated equipment for both people and businesses.
Another issue relates directly to people in rural areas.
Amendments to the existing law have been drafted to expand the opportunity for farm owners to take part in tourism programmes.
Tourists are often offered accommodations that are located on agricultural land. These are small guest houses where temporary accommodation services are officially prohibited. I want to say that, when visiting our regions and talking to residents in rural areas, I repeatedly heard complains about this. The issue is quite sensitive, and it was discussed many times during our meetings, including those with tourism sector representatives.
This restriction will be lifted; a relevant draft law is on our agenda. From now on, farm owners will be able to work more actively and invite businesses and people to cooperate, especially in regions with enhanced interest in such projects. For the second year, we have been supporting entrepreneurs and giving them agrotourism grants. Last year, funding was provided to over 50 applicants, and 73 projects have been selected this year.
The President also noted the increased interest in domestic tourism, emphasising that it will give a boost to the industry itself and related sectors, and ultimately our regions.
The Government will continue to facilitate the development of the hospitality sector, including in rural areas. These decisions not only help create jobs, but also open new opportunities for small and medium-sized agricultural businesses. It is also important that regional brands are being promoted, including foods and many other products. Tourists often want to bring something home like local foods and souvenirs that reflect the identity of the regions they visit.