15 december 2008

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Government Presidium

Vladimir Putin

Meeting of the Government Presidium

"We must draft practical measures to support large companies. We need to set up an additional working group of representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Economic Development, Industry and Trade, Agriculture, and Energy. The group should also include delegates from major banks, notably Sberbank, VTB, Rosselkhozbank and Gazprombank."

Vladimir Putin's opening remarks

Good afternoon,

Many of you accompanied me to Rostov-on-Don last week, where we visited a leading producer of agricultural equipment and approved decisions to support the sector. When discussing the acute problems facing that and other producers of agricultural equipment, we said that many decisions had recently been taken to support the banking sector in the light of the global financial crisis. It was done promptly and on the required scale.

Specifically, we decapitalised Rosselkhozbank, and issued large ten-year subordinated loans to Sberbank and VTB. There are other plans for the banking sector, and I ask the Finance Ministry to monitor developments there and to make the requisite proposals in support of the sector. All these measures have allowed us to prevent negative developments in the financial sector, and were achieved on a timely basis.

At the same time, information analysis shows that it takes time for the allocated resources to reach industry. We have coordinated the necessary measures to support small and medium-sized business, and will hold a conference on support for agriculture tomorrow.

Today I'd like to draw your attention to Russia's largest enterprises. As we see it, there are several hundred such enterprises producing over 85% of GDP. These are enterprises with annual sales of more than 15-16 billion roubles and who employ in excess of 4,000 personnel. These are large taxpayers and strategic enterprises, meaning enterprises employing more than 30% of a given city's able-bodied population. I'd like to draw your attention to this subset of industry.

We must draft practical measures to support these large companies. We need to set up an additional working group of representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Economic Development, Industry and Trade, Agriculture, and Energy. The group should also include delegates from major banks, notably Sberbank, VTB, Rosselkhozbank and Gazprombank. We must draft support measures for the largest enterprises mentioned here.

These measures will include loans, including state guaranteed loans, participation in their capital, if necessary, and subsidising of loan interest rates, as well as the provision of state contracts, the restructuring of debt or the issue of tax credit. I'd like to focus attention on the latter measure and to ask you to carefully consider it so as not to engender dependency.

Lastly, this morning we coordinated the issue with the Central Bank, which has confirmed its readiness to issue loans without collateral for up to 12 months. To be able to do so, we need to promptly amend the law on the Central Bank.

Such working groups should be organised in all regions of Russia and should include the heads of the territorial branches of the abovementioned strategic banks, with the regions given the right to issue state guarantees to banks for loans without collateral.

We must carefully consider the criteria for selecting such large enterprises. Regional authorities should also take into account local issues when compiling the lists. Overall, the system, to be set on the federal and regional levels, should embrace at least 1,500 Russian enterprises.

Please approve these lists no later than Wednesday at the meeting of the commission on economic stabilisation.

Let's get to our current business now. Today we will consider the implementation of federal targeted programmes and the target investment programme for the first nine months of 2008. The Government considers this issue regularly, and the Economics Ministry reports in detail on the figures. However, I'd like to stress that today we should not only discuss the issues but also draw fundamental conclusions.

The review of the federal targeted programmes must be completed soon, and allocations for them must be concentrated in the spheres that promise to have the biggest effect on economic development and social stability, including the preservation and creation of jobs.

Likewise, we should continue to implement large investment projects that will be crucial for economic development as the crisis ends.

And lastly, although prices of metals and construction materials are falling, we should not only implement our plans, but also try to cut budget spending as much as possible, setting the pace for a smart and conservative approach to resource use.

In conclusion, I'd like to draw the attention of the Government to one more issue.

You remember that in late November the Government made an important decision on the list of federal programmes that should be launched in 2010. The ministries concerned now have six months to prepare and approve new targeted programmes.

Please, try to do this work as soon as possible, and second, when doing so proceed from the real economic situation, selecting elements of the new programmes carefully, and trying to find the most rational and economically justified ways of implementing them. The Ministries of Economic Development and Finance bear special responsibility in this respect. They should not only ruthlessly reject ineffective solutions, but also help departments prepare quality and realistic documents.

We will also approve members of the organising committee and the action plan for the Year of Young People, when we will focus our attention on encouraging young people's initiatives in science, education, ecology, and public activity, and will also more energetically promote fitness and sports, plus take more energetic measures to prevent crime, smoking and alcoholism.

Of course, such issues should always receive our attention, but the Year of Young People is a good chance to focus on them, facilitating the attention of the state, business and civil society.

Now let's get down to work.

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