6 september 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Novosibirsk Governor Vasily Yurchenko in St Petersburg

The governor summarised the region’s socioeconomic situation in the first seven months of the year, and told the prime minister about their most ambitious projects. Economic achievements help the region to improve healthcare and education, he said.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vasily Yurchenko: Mr Putin, the region’s economic growth stands at 112%. The amount of commissioned housing, 465,000 square metres, exceeds last year’s numbers by 23%, and this year’s net profit by 15%, so we can afford to implement your decision to raise teacher salaries. The previous increase was by 6.5%, and we applied another 20% raise on September 1. Now teachers’ average wages are equal to average earnings in all industries in the region.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

Vasily Yurchenko: To increase investment to 125 billion roubles, compared with 105 billion last year, is the main goal of the regional government.

We are implementing several ambitious projects, one of which concerns a technological cluster. You set this goal for us when you chaired a meeting in our region in 2005. We expect a total output this year of 10 billion roubles from the 115 residents working at its new facilities. The total floor space of new production premises is 9,500 square metres. The infrastructure of the cluster is ready. The project is funded based on a joint arrangement – 3.5 billion roubles from federal grants plus 4.8 billion from the regional coffers.

We are also building an industrial logistic cluster on a 2,000 hectare plot. This was a special decision, and eight residents are building its facilities. Russia’s first factory manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for the automobile industry will open this year, alongside several industrial and logistic plants to manufacture water filtering and conditioning equipment.

We launched another project this year: a biotechnological cluster based on the Vector government company. The construction of a new pharmaceutical factory to comply with GMP standards began today, which will be run by the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare. We hope to implement many social and commercial projects together. We are creating the infrastructure and they will establish the business.

Economic success allows us to thoroughly improve the situation in education and healthcare. For instance, we have begun the School Window programme, whereby we have replaced 12,000 old windows with modern glazed units within two years, and within another two years, we will have replaced all windows in all schools in the region.

We are also improving housing conditions for rural teachers, doctors and cultural workers. We have allocated 356 million roubles to the programme this year for rural areas.

Vladimir Putin: I formulated a proposal yesterday. Do you think Teacher's Home programme is practicable? It calls for an initial instalment of 10% of the cost of the new houses. Do you think the entire sum should be paid for from the regional budget, or should teachers pay part of it themselves?

Vasily Yurchenko: I think we will implement the programme somewhat differently, but in the same spirit that you spoke about, because the region has a mortgage crediting agency for doctors and teachers. We have provided funding for the nominal capital and provided other resources. We are helping to establish it on firm ground.

Vladimir Putin: Does it help with initial instalments?

Vasily Yurchenko: Yes. We established it as a joint-stock company with 100% regional capital. Profits are not its goal. The mortgage interest rate was 8% last year, and it remains there now. Today, we intend to increase its nominal capital in order to boost construction. Its clients are rural teachers and doctors, because rural schools and clinics are understaffed and need to attract new specialists. We held two recruitment fairs at the medical university. The first day alone brought 19 contracts between graduates and municipalities, specifying salaries and housing accommodations. I said to students, “You will be dealing with thirty mayors. Be sure to insist on the best possible terms! You need foremost to tend to your career and your well-being.”

We regional authorities met with these young specialists when we visited various districts. I visited a young doctor. He is living in a new house of his own. It took him a mere four months to build it with our grant. We provide rural residents with free subsidies: 200,000 roubles initially plus another 200,000 after the house is finished. So a household is entitled to 400,000 roubles from the regional budget.