Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attends State Council meeting


At a State Council meeting, the prime minister said the regions and the federal government must assume mutual responsibility, and that the federal agencies working in the regions must act responsibly and intensively. Naturally, they must abide by regional and federal law.

Speech by Dmitry Medvedev:

Colleagues, I would like to make a few remarks about the agenda of today's State Council meeting. First of all, I would like to say that we must ensure more cost-effective budgetary spending at every level. This issue was mentioned by the president in his speech. Of course, this is now the most important parameter for assessing the performance of the federal and regional executive branch.

As you know, the international situation is very complicated. I would like to once again remind the regional leaders to think in terms of financial stability. Naturally, the current budgetary process and the upcoming year will be rather difficult for Russia. You must keep this in mind, when planning your regional budgets.

And now I would like to say a few words about the business community as one of the components in ensuring sustained economic growth and raising the standard of living in Russia. Participants in a recent government meeting discussed issues of assessing regulation impact, specifically, the way our efforts influence the business community nationwide and in particular regions. The results were not very encouraging, to put it mildly. In many cases, the results were simply unfavourable because 30% of the decisions and regulatory documents being adopted by us negatively influence the investment climate. All of us must think about the implications of specific documents being issued by various state agencies; we must assess their influence on the economic environment. I believe that maybe it would be appropriate to establish some special agencies affiliated with regional executive bodies for this purpose. We have a business representative and this work is being carried out in the regions, and we also have an investment commissioner at the special envoy level, but assessment of regulatory influence is a very important subject.

Another issue concerns document flow and how our people perceive it. Indeed, we have adopted several road maps, and during the last month I have endorsed them, on administrative work, on the construction and investment markets and with customs issues. It is important to note how this process is organised in particular government agencies. Let me recall in this context that the law on organising government and municipal services came in force on July 1. Under this law, officials and government agencies have no right to demand that our people give them additional information and all kinds of documents. From now on this is the responsibility of government agencies. They must specify themselves what is required and request these documents. I’d like to draw your attention to this because this is a change in our entire approach to the work with our people, and we should be ready for this.

And now I’d like to say a few words about a more resonant theme, which was discussed today: the issues of decentralisation. The government has reviewed the approaches reported by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. Draft laws may be prepared, but as we have agreed, it is best to act after analysing all the consequences of transferring power, and to transfer power where this is not creating any problems. Governors spoke about this at the conference I conducted and at the meeting of the State Council. The powers should be transferred wherever appropriate. We have determined our positions on this score but this does not mean that the process has come to an end. On the contrary, this is just the beginning of our work. What governors are prepared to take should be transferred to them. As for the powers that cannot be transferred, we may discuss this later on. We have agreed on a number of responsibilities that will run in test mode. In other words, we’ll take some regions that will carry out federal powers and see how it goes. If everything goes well, it will be possible to make a government, presidential or legal decision on the transfer of powers to all territories. If there are problems for some reason, don’t take it amiss – we will bring these powers back in order not to disrupt the performance of federal functions in the country.

The mutual responsibility of the regions and the centre is a crucial issue. Mr Putin spoke about this, and I’d like to reaffirm that such responsibility should be mutual and that federal agencies should perform their duties in the regions responsibly, complying with regional and federal laws. Heads of these agencies may be held administratively liable at the initiative of governors. But it is also fair to make the opposite demand – if the functions have been transferred to regions, everyone, governors included, must be responsible for them. We must realise this. We’ll submit the pertinent proposals to the president for final decision-making.

We haven’t discussed the money issue here. Let me recall that when working groups were established, upon my proposal, one of them was involved in decentralising powers (and we have just discussed this), while the other was searching for additional sources of funding regions and municipalities. Perhaps this is an even more complicated issue, because re-dividing powers if there are enough people and enough desire, is an understandable task. Everything is much more complicated when it comes to money, especially with the current budget. Yet I believe that we should not forget this issue and should continue studying it. In part, we should continue a search for taxable and tax-free sources, all the more so since the task of finding additional funding of up to one trillion roubles is still on the agenda. Naturally enough, we should perform this task taking into account all current realities.

And the last point I'd like to make. Several proposals have been made here. One of them is to establish a regional agency to review applications for connecting to networks. I think Mr Sobyanin spoke about this. I believe this is a feasible task. Let’s see how we can establish the proposed agency.

It is also possible to compile lists of public duties, government services and expenditure commitments. This is much more complicated than the first task, but we can try to draft relevant documents if regional governors consider this necessary. Thank you.

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