22 september 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a working meeting with the governor of the Arkhangelsk Region Ilya Mikhalchuk

The results of the socio-economic development of the region over the past six months, as well as the situation in the social sphere, especially improvements in healthcare and education were discussed at the meeting. They focused particularly on increasing teachers’ salaries and on housing construction.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Mikhalchuk, how is the situation in the region in general, and during the past six months? How was the start of the school year? How are social programmes being implemented? Above all, I'm interested in projects related to improving healthcare and education.

Ilya Mikhalchuk: Concerning education, we made a decision and, in addition to teachers, we will increase salaries for all other employees that are engaged in education by 15 per cent starting November 1.

Vladimir Putin: By how much did you raise teachers’ salaries?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: In accordance with the instructions, we raised teachers’ salaries by 30% beginning September 1. So the average salary in education consists of about 21,000 roubles.

Vladimir Putin: What about the average salary in the region?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: It is 24,800 roubles, about 84%.

Vladimir Putin: Good. And by when do you anticipate paying school teachers the average regional salary?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: In order to do this, we will need as much as an additional 7 billion roubles.

Vladimir Putin: No, I mean when, in terms of time?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: Beginning in the second half of 2012, I believe.

Vladimir Putin: So, you will get there next year?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: But specifically the level adjusted for next year’s conditions, not this year's.

Ilya Mikhalchuk: Yes, I understand. The adjustment payments are still increasing. Last year, we increased salaries across the region, even while there were shortages of funds. But I believe that we will cope with this task.

Vladimir Putin: Good. What about healthcare?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: Salaries are a bit lower for healthcare workers: the average salary is about 17,000 roubles.

Vladimir Putin: The salaries of healthcare workers should follow in the wake of the programme to improve the healthcare industry. How many facilities are included in the modernisation programme?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: The total amount is about 4.5 billion roubles.

Vladimir Putin: Is that from the federal budget?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: Yes, these funds are allocated for 70 feldsher and obstetric stations. The most important thing now is construction. We are also focusing on rural areas and family medicine. We are about to open two perinatal centres.  By the end of the year, we will have opened a regional hospital with 440 beds. It has been under construction for almost 20 years now, and we will open it by the end of the year. In fact, the level of service in the region is improving. I would like to report the following. With your support (I had come to you with this issue), early next year we will begin construction of the Vyzhletsov regional children’s hospital, in which we will be investing about 2.2 billion roubles. This is a major decision that will help us improve medical services provided to children in the region.

In May, we commissioned the surgery unit of the cancer treatment centre with ten surgery rooms outfitted with the latest equipment. This was also a long-term construction project, one that lasted about five years. We had visitors from the St Petersburg Petrov Cancer Institute, who had a very high estimation of the level of technical equipment in our centre. We are basing our modernisation efforts primarily on an increased role of family medicine so as to ensure the availability of high-quality medical assistance in rural areas.

Vladimir Putin: What is the situation in the construction sector overall?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: We are seeing growth in the construction sector. Incidentally, when I reported to you on the 2010 results, I talked about a 12 per cent growth, but after we worked out all the results, we discovered that we have a 22 per cent increase in 2010.

Vladimir Putin: Not bad. How much does one square metre cost?

Ilya Mikhalchuk: The construction cost of one square metre is 29,550 roubles, which is standard for our region. On the primary market, prices can be as high as 47,000 roubles per square metre of housing, without finishing work.

We have five our own regional programmes. Back then, you helped us set up a mortgage system for government employees and introduced a unique system. I am proud to say that it is unlikely that other regions have anything like this. These subsidies vary depending on household income, the number of family members and the time period, but are between 500,000 and 1.4 million roubles.

Vladimir Putin: Not bad at all.