13 july 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chairs government meeting

“The government must closely monitor the relief and reconstruction efforts,” the Prime Minister said about the disaster in the Krasnodar Territory. He said that humanitarian aid must be delivered on schedule and reach its intended recipients. “Compassion is something that needs our attention,” Dmitry Medvedev said.


Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues, let’s begin our work. But first let’s talk about the disaster in the Krasnodar Territory, which has brought a great deal of suffering to many people across the country. I would like to express gratitude to everyone who is helping the bereaved families and others affected by the flooding, as well as the volunteers who have gone to the affected areas to help clean houses, and the people who have donated money and collected relief aid. I want to remind you that humanitarian aid must be delivered on schedule and reach its intended recipients. Compassion is something that needs our attention. According to the Emergencies Ministry, the flood has affected 34,650 people, 171 people have died and 29,000 have lost all their property. Over 400 homes have been destroyed – and this is not the final figure. The government must closely monitor the relief and reconstruction efforts. I order all government members to think about what their departments can do for people, because it is not only a question of money; there are other forms of assistance they require. Regarding our decision to build new houses to replace the ones that have been destroyed, this work must be completed by the deadline I have set, by late November.

A few words about our agenda today: we will discuss the state programme of agricultural development and regulation of the markets of agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs for 2013-2020. We will be adopting a programme and working to implement it with a very limited budget. But we must remember that our agriculture sector deserves special consideration, given the country’s huge territory, natural resources, agricultural capacity and historical traditions. Agriculture has always had a special role to play in the Russian economy. A third of our population lives in rural areas. In developing the agricultural infrastructure, we will not only be resolving food security issues, but also modernising the infrastructure of our regions and creating the conditions for preserving the traditional lifestyles of a vast number of our citizens.

This programme is a comprehensive document that sets out the main aspects of government support for agricultural development. It consists of six sub-programmes and four federal targeted programmes. This is all contained in a separate report. I would like to remind you that some very impressive results were achieved during the implementation of the high-priority national project “Development of the Agriculture Sector” and the related state programme from 2008 until 2012. In 2006-2011, the average annual growth rate in the agriculture sector was 4.4%. The cattle and poultry populations increased by 42% compared to 2005, when the project “Development of the Agriculture Sector” was launched, and grain output increased by 16%.

Government support measures combined with customs-tariff and non-tariff regulation helped the industry to attain an average profitability of 12%, taking into account subsidies. And, possibly the most important thing, the investment climate in the industry has improved dramatically, with money reaching rural areas.

The Ministry of Agriculture has submitted a draft state programme, which retains all existing support measures for the agriculture sector. It contains purely practical economic instruments, as well as measures to improve living standards, because these aspects are absolutely interlinked as far as the state programme for the development of the agriculture sector is concerned. Specific measures and projects are being implemented and planned on the basis of co-financing from the regional budgets, and, of course, with the active involvement of the business community.

As you know, the agriculture sector will operate under new conditions over the next few years, as a result of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and deeper integration within the Customs Union, all of which opens up new prospects and at the same time creates additional problems. In this regard we need to create additional incentives to increase the competitiveness of Russia’s agricultural producers, transition them over to new levels of technology and create a modern infrastructure for the storage, processing and transportation of agriculture produce. As I have repeatedly said, there are some areas where we can aspire to become global leaders. Technically speaking, we can do this in virtually every area, in view of the impressive natural resources, territory, land plots and water sources the Russian Federation has at its disposal.

The draft programme also proposes a number of new measures. As agreed, subsidies will be introduced for every litre of milk sold. Part of existing measures to support the arable sector will be transformed into subsidies to support profitability. Also as agreed, there will be a separate programme for the development of livestock farming. We are also planning to increase the funding for economically significant regional programmes. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that the agriculture sector will expand annual production by at least 2.5% after the implementation of these programmes. The key targets specified in the national food security doctrine should be reached by 2020. The state programme regarding the current law “On the Development of Agriculture” should be approved by July 15.

Colleagues, another issue deals with the systematic improvement of the country’s business environment. This is one of the priorities for the Government. During our meeting on July 13, we will discuss the development of mechanisms such as assessing the regulatory impact of draft legal documents. This mechanism was recently introduced into state administration practice, in the second half of 2010. The objective is to identify unnecessary clauses which lead to needless increases in costs for business and hamper investment activity. Obviously, none of these incidents are uncommon.

I’ve been told that the Ministry of Economic Development has prepared more than 1,100 corresponding findings in the last 18 months, about one third of which are negative. Recently the system for regulating economic activity has become more complicated and multi-tiered. Many of the decisions affecting business activity are taken at the regional and local government level. On the other hand, the Eurasian Economic Board, a supranational body, is helping to accomplish these objectives. So there is no shortage of regulation, but it has to be coherent, not muddled, and effective rather than aimless. It is essential that we maintain a dialogue with the business and expert communities on this issue, and, of course, we need to be ready to communicate openly during the decision-making process.

It is very important to discuss this subject with the business community and experts and to be ready for an open exchange of opinions at the decision-making stage.  Last week the Ministry of Economic Development held a meeting with experts of the Open Government to discuss the mechanism of assessing regulatory impact. Its further development is linked with customs and tax administration, which business considers vitally important.

Yesterday we discussed this issue with the business community in Yekaterinburg. In general, I hope this mechanism will allow us to timely forecast and reveal the positive and negative sides of different regulations and analyse possible alternatives. In turn, this will enhance the quality of the decisions made and make them much more conducive to business.

Starting October 1 of this year, a special internet portal must publish information about the drafting of regulatory acts and the results of public discussions of them. I’d like the Ministry of Economic Development to provide methodical support to all interested parties. Needless to say, the instruments of the Open Government should be used in these activities.

Let’s get down to work. We’ll start our discussion with the draft state programme for developing agriculture and regulating the markets of agricultural produce, raw materials and food from 2013 to 2020, and a report by Mr Fyodorov.

Nikolai Fyodorov (Minister of Agriculture): Thank you very much, Mr Medvedev, for your understanding of the problems of the rural Russian. Your attitude not only supports farmers but also inspires them, and inspired labour reimburses the state for its expenses a hundred times over, and I think Mr Siluanov and his family also sees the results on their table.

Dmitry Medvedev: Why only Mr Siluanov? Is he the only one who has to eat?

Nikolai Fyodorov: No, everyone, he is one of them.

Dmitry Medvedev: Right, you must feed the finance minister like a prize turkey.  Please go ahead.

Nikolai Fyodorov: Thank you. Very serious changes have taken place since the start of our national priority project. Take a look at slide two. Government support measures have resulted in a very strong influx of private investment in agricultural production. Today, total investments of about 1.6 trillion roubles are ensuring the steady development and modernisation of the agro-industrial complex. Government support for private investment has already produced tangible growth of agriculture, which has already largely guaranteed self-sufficiency in several types of food. Thus, last year Russia was self-sufficient in grain by 99%, sugar by 96%, potatoes by 96%, meat and meat products 73%, milk and dairy products 80% and vegetable oil by 76%.

In a way, the Russian agro-industrial complex became a safety cushion that allowed the country to survive the global crisis. We registered economic growth even in this difficult period. Thus, in the last five years we have built and upgraded more than 700 facilities for pig farming, about 400 for poultry, and 200 for the production of beef. The development of poultry and pig farming has become particularly intensive.

At a certain point quantitative changes give way to qualitative ones, and today the agro-industrial complex is at a turning point. Several years ago the country’s processing capacities were excessive whereas now we have local shortages – for instance, for sugar, butter, meat and cheese. Our practical conclusion is as follows – while preserving the growth of production, we must build up the capacities of the food processing industry, and develop the logistics and infrastructure of food markets to give our people access to quality domestic products.

As the prime minister said, today this country, with its powerful potential for the development of the agricultural sector, can ensure not only its own food security but also play a key role in achieving this goal on a global scale. Importantly, our exports should not be limited to ordinary grain because this is essentially a raw material. It is necessary to diversify exports of goods with high added value – this is a major condition of making domestic products competitive both in the domestic market and also in the Customs Union and the WTO. This is the logic behind the new state programme.

I’d like to say a few words about this document – the draft programme was elaborated on the basis of materials that determine government policy for the agro-industrial complex, such as the Law on the Development of Agriculture, the Doctrine of Food Security, the Concept for Russia’s Development until 2020, and instructions of the president and the government on specific directions of development, which were made following extensive public discussions by the expert community. The draft included both measures of government support, which had proved their effectiveness in the past five years, as well as other directions. In working on it, we proceeded from the need to pursue system-wide government policy in the agro-industrial sphere that would embrace economic, social and environmental aspects. We paid a great deal of attention to balanced production, as well as the subsequent processing and sale of products.

We set ourselves the following strategic goals – to ensure food security under the relevant doctrine, make better use of land and other resources, work toward eco-friendly production, develop rural lands in a comprehensive manner and make the agro-industrial complex more competitive. The structure of each sub-programme and federal targeted programmes that were part of the draft and the relevant funding are presented in detail on slides eight and fifteen. You are welcome to look at them.

Federal budget allocations for the programme are 1.509 trillion roubles, including 1.4238 trillion through the Ministry of Agriculture and 85.8875 billion through Rosselkhoznadzor. Measures or methods of government support will change substantially with Russia’s WTO entry. We are gradually giving up previous forms of direct subsidy and starting to support higher revenues for agricultural producers. The funding with stage-by-stage annual increases is from 15 billion to almost 38 billion. This method is more effective and this is what advanced countries are using. Selection criteria do not allow hopelessly irresponsible companies to receive substantial government funds and leech on them from time to time without producing any results.

On government instructions and considering strategic priorities, we have drafted a sub-programme on beef farming with funding from seven to 9.5 billion with subsequent annual increases. A new type of support – subsidies for a litre of sold commodity milk – should become a catalyst for developing dairy production. The funding will be between 10 billion and 12.5 billion roubles. This measure is also designed to support the best producers because for the time being the country produces only 50% of commodity milk and no more than 30% of high quality milk. Incidentally, under European standards what we call commodity milk, that is, first grade milk, is not considered commodity. A mere 30% of our milk fits the standards of Europe. We still have a very long way to go and this incentive for a litre of commodity, high quality milk is designed to enhance quality and make the agricultural sector more effective.

The funding of economically important regional programmes has been increased from 13 billion to 21.3 billion and will increase every year. This mechanism has already justified itself – this year the regions allocated more than 25 billion roubles per 12 billion roubles of federal funds.

I’d like to say a few words about the regions. Implementing the new programme we will enhance the responsibility of the regions to meet their commitments. Along production growth and effectiveness, we intend to make social issues a key priority. This criterion will become one of the most important in signing agreements on co-financing with the regions.

The forecasted scale of agricultural produce and the majority of foods will let Russia, with allowable imports, provide food for the people according to more rational quotas, thereby reaching threshold indicators determined by the Doctrine on Food Security.

As for the main indicators of the programme, judging by resource support, we expect the index of production in households of all categories to reach 119.6% in 2020 as compared to 2012 (livestock products will grow by almost 20% and those of crop raising by 19%); the physical index of investment in fixed capital will reach 141.9%, while the profit margin in agriculture should average three percent, considering the subsidies, by 2020. The average growth rate of agricultural production should be at least 2.5%, and for food production it should be 3.5%-5% by 2020. The plan envisages higher rates for groups of meat and meat products, milk and dairy products as well as fruit and vegetables. 

The funding of the draft programme corresponds to the declared goals and priorities. State support from all sources for the entire period of its implementation will amount to 2.28 trillion roubles, including 1.51 trillion from the federal budget and 770 billion from regional budgets.

These funds are distributed by years and areas of support with what I could describe as a creative accounting of the WTO restrictions. We believe that the programme will eventually help develop a strong, diversified economy and considerably increase the living standards of people living in rural Russia by creating fertile soil for a good harvest.

And the last point, Mr Medvedev. Today we had an intensive discussion with our colleagues from the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Finance at Mr Dvorkovich’s office. We again discussed the draft protocol decision and suggest adding the following words to its first point: “with subsequent possible specification of said amounts in accordance with the budget legislation of the Russian Federation.” In the second point, we propose that “by 14 billion” should be replaced with a more responsible “up to 14 billion roubles.”

Thank you for attention.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Mr Fyodorov.

Do you have any comments on the draft government programme for agricultural development and market regulation? This is a serious document and the state support is huge – 2.280 trillion roubles. This sum is divided into years and depends on current economic conditions, but we still consider it to be a serious sum. Mr Dvorkovich, please, go ahead.

Arkady Dvorkovich (Deputy Prime Minister): Thank you. We have discussed the programme with the relevant ministries and departments more than once and come to terms both on its structure and major priorities.

We also discussed the issue with business leaders, parliament and trade unions. There are things which I would like to draw your attention to.

First, priority additional financing this year will be worth up to 14 billion roubles; this figure needs to be justified, which is why we suggested the wording “up to 14 billion.” As I see it, the focus will be on two elements: the recapitalisation of agricultural development institutions aimed primarily at helping farmers buy the necessary agricultural machinery, and support for the export of agricultural machinery and possibly agricultural products.

The second area concerns support for small farms, primarily family farms, which has been increased this year.

And thirdly, we need to speed up the drafting of the new legislation that is needed for implementing the state programme.

The forms of support in some areas will change, and so we will need to issue new government resolutions and orders of the Ministry of Agriculture. We will focus on this in the next two months. We want all drafts to be ready by September, so that the regions will be able to take them into account during their budget processes. Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Good, thank you. Mr Belousov (Andrei Belousov, Minister of Economic Development), over to you.

Andrei Belousov: Thank you. Although Mr Fyodorov has not included us on the list of priority consumers of agricultural products, we are providing active support to the state programme. What’s more, to a certain extent we consider ourselves to be co-authors of this programme, given the scale of the contribution made by our staff together with the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Dmitry Medvedev: That’s why he hasn’t included you, because you have supported it as it is.

Andrei Belousov: In order to rule out any affiliation? I see.

I would like to draw your attention to one specific element. When we were presenting the law on Russia’s accession to the WTO in the State Duma (Mr Shuvalov was also present), several deputies said that agriculture is one of the industries that will be exposed to risks as a result of Russia’s accession to the WTO and that we should adopt a number of laws to minimise these risks without delay. You know about these draft laws; they have been submitted by deputies in different wordings and include an extension of the zero profit tax rate for agricultural companies, VAT deductions for livestock breeders, the law on veterinary services, amendments to Article 7 of the federal law on agricultural development with regard to government support measures for regions with adverse weather conditions, and so on. We wholeheartedly support this approach, and I believe that the relevant instructions for the ministries responsible for these draft laws (primarily the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance) should be included in the protocol decision to ensure that these draft laws are submitted [to parliament] as soon as possible. These are government draft laws and they are still in the government.

Arkady Dvorkovich: May I say something?

Dmitry Medvedev: Please do.

Arkady Dvorkovich: Apart from the zero profit tax rate (the relevant draft law has been forwarded to the deputies), I have sent a letter to the State Duma Speaker outlining the government’s position that the zero tax rate should be introduced for an indefinite term.

Dmitry Medvedev: As we agreed.

Arkady Dvorkovich: Yes, as it was discussed. I have held meetings to agree other draft laws, and we can indeed introduce these draft laws in the State Duma in the  near term.

Dmitry Medvedev: It is necessary to introduce them because they have to do with a new factor, the WTO factor, so do introduce them quicker.

Arkady Dvorkovich: Yes.

Dmitry Medvedev: Please, does anybody wish to comment on the state programme? No more comments? Does the well-fed Ministry of Finance not have any comments? Good, then we will take a decision on the programme and adjust the protocol decision, taking into consideration what the minister has reported.  

Next, the second issue – the development of regulatory impact assessment in the Russian Federation. Mr Belousov, please, brief us on this.

Andrei Belousov: Mr Medvedev and government members, for our country, regulatory impact assessment is a comparatively new but rather dynamically developing practice. I’d like to say right away that the main objective of regulatory impact assessment has less to do with adapting legislation to business conditions than many people think. The main objective is primarily to improve the quality of regulatory decisions that are being taken, primarily within the system of executive power, taking into account the interests and motives of those affected by the decisions, that is the population, various social groups, the business community and government below the federal level. That is, the purpose of regulatory impact assessment is to seek a balance of interests, assess regulatory impact from that perspective of balance and propose various solutions.

What is regulatory impact assessment (RIA), broadly speaking? RIA is a set of regulated procedures that make it possible to assess the possible consequences of regulatory decisions. In addition, RIA makes it possible to consider the most extensive range of possible solutions of a problem, to choose the most efficient one and to assess possible costs and benefits both on the part of business, budgets of every level and the population. The most important component of RIA is holding public consultations. The introduction of this practice has made it possible to take the process of developing a decision beyond departmental offices, to create an effective platform for a discussion of draft regulatory acts. This practice is extremely important today, first and foremost for the business community.

I want to repeat: the idea that the practice of RIA serves the interests of business is fair but not the whole story. RIA procedures are organised in such a way that in the assessment process, the costs and benefits to other groups impacted by regulations are considered, and a comprehensive assessment of economic and social consequences is conducted. The main beneficiaries of RIA are essentially the developers of the regulatory acts, because the assessment procedure makes it possible to formulate the most efficient and modern decisions. I’d like to say that RIA is not a Russian invention: western countries adopted the practice of regulatory impact assessment in the 1970s.   

It is proposed to conduct regulation to determine the effects ahead of the decision. In Russia in recent years RIA has become an integral stage of the process of preparing and adopting legal acts, and initially RIA was created as a barrier to emerging, unjustified spending obligations of the Russian Federation, although it was not presented that way at that time. The Ministry of Finance deals with it as everybody knows.   

In the middle of 2010, a new, second stage in the process of introducing RIA began. this time as a defence against unjustified administrative restrictions and barriers to entrepreneurial activity in the spheres of monitoring and oversight, licensing, compliance assessment, establishing requirements for products and related processes.    

Over the course of two years, as Mr Medvedev said, negative assessments were made with respect to 387 (over one third) of 1,100 draft legislative acts, meaning that these draft legal acts explicitly or implicitly contained administrative obstacles and thus would have adversely affected the business climate. The overwhelming majority of draft acts that received negative assessments were later improved or work on them was suspended. In 2011, the number of draft regulatory acts filed with the Ministry of Economic Development for RIA rapidly increased. In early 2011, 20 to 30 documents were filed each month, and by the end of the year the number of documents reached 120, and has remained at the level of 110 to 130 draft acts per month. We believe that the result of an assessment is not a veto of a legislative act, but it is necessary to bring order here, and the people taking the final decision on all the possible consequences of introducing a new regulation must be informed, just as society must be informed of the consequences.      

Now, in fact, the third stage of RIA development is starting, its objectives and tasks were formulated in Presidential Executive Order No. 601 of May 7, 2012, On the Guidelines for Improving the System of State Regulation. The new approach includes four basic points. The first point is the transition to regulatory impact assessment in departments themselves, or early-state RIA. The second point is extending the assessment range to tax law and customs law, and the third point is extending RIA procedure to draft laws prepared for the second reading, and the fourth point is promoting RIA at the regional level.

Let me briefly speak on each of these areas. The first area – a key area of work during the existence of regulatory impact assessment in Russia – is the consistent transition to having departments carry out assessments on their own. The main argument for the transition is that a department, or regulator, is the most competent expert in a certain field and can properly carry out assessment and offer the best solution. Our evaluations of projects at the stage when the document is already complete serves only as a filter to eliminate the worst solutions. A drastic change of the current procedure is needed, and each regulatory act should be based on the analysis of the options available and a clear choice of the best ones. This is a modern, common approach to rulemaking. Undoubtedly, this part of preparing a legislative act should be as transparent and open as possible.

The first step in this regard has been taken. On May 2, 2012, a government resolution was adopted stating that drafters of regulatory acts which determine certain statutory requirements will begin holding regulatory impact assessment on their own starting from October 1. Later, I will speak on the methodological support for this work.

The second field is optimisation of the subject area. From our experience, we know that just a small number of legal regulations are responsible for the bulk of the negative impact. In this regard, an important task is to select areas and legislative acts that have the greatest regulatory control. We aim to concentrate our resources on such areas. In this regard, we have initiated adopting a government resolution on excluding administrative provisions from the evaluation area as acts which cannot have additional assessments and which must be evaluated as part of other kinds of expert evaluation. The evaluation subject field must include draft regulatory legal acts in tax control and customs administration. The government’s corresponding draft resolution has been prepared and is being coordinated.

The third area is applying the regulatory impact assessment to draft laws prepared for the second reading, I would like to emphasise that this particular type of RIA is a sensitive issue for the business community. Businessmen are in support of assessments of such draft laws as they are often considerably altered while being prepared for the second reading and include requirement and restrictions that are not sufficiently justified.   

Solving this issue requires finding an approach to harmonise routine procedures of the State Duma and the government as the constitutional principle of separation of powers is inviolable. Our decision is to seek the solution under this principle and implement the work under the joint working group comprised of representatives from the Duma and the government, and we will report on the results to the government by the end of this year. As regards the government’s draft laws and amendments prepared by the government for the second reading – we are ready to introduce the regulatory impact assessment procedure in the near term, everything here depends on the government.

The prospects of the fourth field – namely, development of regulatory impact assessment in regions – are tied to both the expected increase in the quality of the regional rulemaking and improvement of the investment climate and business conditions. Certain entities are holding regulatory impact assessments of regional projects on their own initiative. Among the territories that have introduced the regulatory impact assessment in the pilot mode are the Vologda and Ulyanovsk regions, the Republic of…

Bashkortostan and some other. We welcome and support this practice and have already developed methodological recommendations on how to perform regulatory impact assessment in the regions. In addition, we plan to develop a standard website before the end of 2012 for holding public consultations in Russian regions in accordance with federally accepted standards. All of that will help prepare the regions for mandatory RIA procedures, which will be introduced in 2014.

I will now briefly touch on our plans for the immediate future. As I already mentioned, we have drafted a government resolution that is now being agreed. According to this resolution, regulatory impact assessment will be conducted in the early stages directly by developers of regulatory acts beginning in 2013. This approach is comprised of several phases. The first one includes the department adopting a decision on the need to develop a new regulation in a specific area and discussing this initiative with professionals on a dedicated website, a beta version of which is already available at www.regulation.gov.ru. The developers of regulatory acts will be able to start posting draft regulations in the fourth quarter of 2012. The second phase includes drafting regulatory texts based on proposals advanced during the first phase and its public discussion on the website. The third phase includes preparing a consolidated report on the assessment procedures conducted by the department and findings about the regulatory impact assessment.

Our approach is designed to encourage departments to develop the best decisions using clear techniques for developing regulatory acts that allow the developer to focus on material aspects of a problem, its actual scope and alternative solutions. At the same time, the economic component of assessment procedures, including the analysis of qualitative and quantitative effects, should be significantly boosted. Our draft government resolution is currently being agreed, and the departments have made several comments regarding it. We think these comments are mostly of a technical nature and apply to issues that do not contradict the philosophy of the draft resolution. Therefore, we believe that we can agree with most of them.

Last week, we held a joint meeting of the advisory board on RIA at the Ministry of Economic Development and experts from the Open Government. Our approaches toward conducting regulatory impact assessment were supported by meeting participants in general. I propose approving in general the approaches for the development of regulatory impact assessment that were presented today and include this approval in the final decision. I would like you to second this motion.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Mr Belousov. Please take your seat.

Colleagues and government members, do you have any comments about the development of regulatory impact assessment principles? Mr Abyzov please go ahead.

Mikhail Abyzov (Russian minister): Mr Medvedev, colleagues, I want to add just one thing to what Mr Belousov said: indeed, we have held a joint meeting with the participation of the Open Government and the experts who work on RIA. One other proposal – and I believe that we can start implementing it before the end of 2012 – is that in addition to regulatory impact assessment during the preparation of regulatory acts, we should conduct an assessment during the implementation of adopted regulations. That way, we will be able to see if the assessment conducted during the elaboration of a regulation corresponds, in terms of its quality, to its enforcement, because this is exactly where things that we missed during the first phase show up and this is where we can assess the regulatory impact. Therefore, perhaps we should identify certain pilot regulations that can come under the regulatory assessment already this year when they will be enforced.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. Any other comments? I was in Yekaterinburg yesterday, and this issue was raised there as well by our colleagues from the business community. I invited one of them to our today’s meeting. Mr Kozitsyn, you spoke extensively about RIA yesterday. Please give us the gist of your report so that the government members know that this issue is important for business as well, not just individual ministers. Please go ahead.

Andrei Kozitsyn: Thank you, Mr Medvedev. I will be brief as you asked. I have taken a look at all documents that I could gather since yesterday’s meeting. The draft minutes of today’s meeting contain all the answers to the questions raised at yesterday’s meeting in Yekaterinburg, including questions related to customs and tax administration. Everything is in the minutes, so I can hardly add anything new to it.

The only thing that I would like to draw your attention to is that we inherited all the issues that we are discussing today, including environmental and industrial safety. All of them should also be subjected to RIA procedures, if possible. This is regulated by Government Resolution No. 60, which governs the activities of the Ministry of Economic Development. It is preferable to begin with these issues, because we are currently working in a very complicated environment. We would like to thank primarily the Ministry of Economic Development for things that are coming in the future, because we are working online on these issues in conjunction with them. That’s all I wanted to say plus this small request. Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Mr Kozitsyn. Mr Belousov, what do you think about applying RIA to regulations that were adopted earlier? How realistic is this?

Andrei Belousov: In fact, we support this. More than that, we have already created a mechanism within the nationwide entrepreneurial initiative (I can report on it separately) which will be used to conduct monitoring and put forward appropriate proposals regarding issues covered by regulations. It will help us keep track of progress in implementing such regulations and in achieving goals that were set at a time these regulations were being developed. We would like to finalise these procedures using two nationwide entrepreneurial initiatives, or roadmaps, on improving customs administration and construction regulations. The road map for the latter is still being considered by the government and hasn’t yet been released. After that, we will be able to consolidate this experience and apply it to other regulatory acts.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. In this case, I would rather support the proposals of our colleagues from the business community, the ones mentioned by Mr Kozitsyn and confirmed by you. I believe that we could then update the minutes and include a statement that such procedures can and in some instances must be applied to existing regulations that are often detrimental in nature.

Agreed? All right, then this will be our decision and we will proceed in accordance with the report.



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