24 december 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Bryansk Region Governor Nikolai Denin

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Bryansk Region Governor Nikolai Denin discussed the region’s performance in 2010. Opening the meeting, the prime minister said the overall figures were good but that some issues remained. He noted that the region’s utility rates grew at a faster pace than the national average, and said utility rate increases should not outpace salary growth.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Denin, I have pored over the figures for your region. They are good, overall: The economy, industrial production and GRP picked up this year. Salaries also increased, although they are still low, in absolute terms. Meanwhile, utility rates grew at a faster pace than the national average. Even though this growth was not too far out of line, you need to see to this problem anyway. Utility rate increases should not outpace salary growth. The margin is pretty narrow, but still it's there. This needs to be resolved... This year the region also saw an increase in commissioned housing rates, correct?

Nikolai Denin: Yes, we'll commission 14% more housing than in 2009. The construction industry picked up this year. And we are building the largest beef cattle breeding complex in Russia, thanks to your support.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, it'll be pretty big...

Nikolai Denin: We have already received the first tranche from Vnesheconombank, for which I would like to thank you. Miratorg has also invested 1.4 million roubles in the construction. This project is very important for the region's economy and labour market.

As far as salaries, the average salary in the region is a bit over 12,000 roubles, while at this company it will exceed 20,000 roubles. Over 2,000 jobs will be created in seven districts of the Bryansk Region through the project. The breeding stock at this complex will reach 100,000 by 2014. In 2016 we expect to produce 29,000 tonnes of beef, measured in carcass weight. Some of our specialists are off in America and Australia selecting livestock, which we will receive in April. I'd like to show a few photos if you don't mind.

Vladimir Putin: So this project is underway?

Nikolai Denin: Absolutely. I'd like to mention another initiative, which will be an excellent driver for the region's economy and manufacturing industries. The Bryansk Region government and RusNano are working on an import substitution project. RusNano is developing new materials for Gazprom – they will be used to cover the outer surface of pipes. It is also working on new packaging materials. Our production facilities will become fully operational in late 2011.

Vladimir Putin: We allocated 1.2 billion roubles for your region to help the farmers hit by the drought this summer. Have they received the money?

Nikolai Denin: We received the first allocation in autumn, when farmers harvested summer crops and sowed winter crops. This year the winter crop area was increased by 9,000 hectares to 191,000 hectares. We also received the second allocation, distributed these funds among farms and even concluded agreements with them, as you recommended. If they manage to keep livestock numbers up and yield more crops than in 2009, they will receive subsidies from this allocation, as a bonus.

We have received the funds in full. We checked out what was done before to support farmers. There was only one law, on profit insurance, adopted in 1940... You know, what we have received this year... I worked as a director at a collective farm and a poultry farm for over 20 years, and I can definitely say that we have never received such massive support. We can even leave a share of these funds for the spring to buy fertiliser and fuel for field work.

Vladimir Putin: Keep in mind that you'll need to increase the share of grain and potato...

Nikolai Denin: We will. We already are increasing it. In the past, the Bryansk Region was the army's main potato supplier; we also supplied the defence industry and other strategically important organisations. Our region is least affected by extreme climate changes and is perfect for growing potatoes. The best potato farms and processing facilities were based in our region.

We will soon start the Ecofree project which we hope will process 100,000 tonnes of potatoes annually. I expect this business will be up and running in 2012.

Vladimir Putin: Okay, so it's getting better, overall?

Nikolai Denin: I think so. The elderly receive decent pensions regularly; there are no salary payment delays in government-funded organisations. I have to admit that some private companies are in arrears with payments, owing their employees a total of 35 million roubles, but the problem is that they have gone bankrupt and have sold all their assets – they just can't settle this debt now.

We appreciate your support for the Bryansk Engineering Plant. You attended a testing session for the first double-section mainline locomotive Peresvet... The plant has been charged with a workload to capacity. It produces grain carriers with a capacity of 112 cubic metres. The plant already has orders for the first six months of 2011.

Vladimir Putin: Good.