28 december 2009

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has chaired a meeting on the development of the shipbuilding industry in Russia’s Far East and a socio-economic development strategy for the Far East and the Baikal Region

Vladimir Putin's introductory remarks:

Good afternoon,

This is a very busy and happy day, not only because the temperature outside is just minus 24 degrees centigrade and a wind is blowing. This is a good day because, first of all, many of you present in this hall have attended a ceremony of commissioning the first stage of the East Siberia - Pacific Ocean Oil Pipeline System. Construction of a new drilling rig has been launched at the Zvezda Shipyard. There are plans to commission a new car-assembly enterprise of Sollers Company tomorrow.

Such are the obvious results of serious efforts to solve the problems of Russia's Far East by the federal government and regional authorities. Naturally, we plan to continue our efforts and to prepare for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. I had a chance to look at what was going on there and saw quite positive dynamics.

In this connection, I would like to inform you about some new decisions of the Russian government. First, we have drawn up a highly important policy document called the Strategy for Developing the Far East and the Baikal Region Until 2025.

In the long run, the strategy aims to create a sustained economy and comfortable living conditions here. Our federal target programme is only a framework document and does not reflect the paramount importance of the Far Eastern region for Russia in terms of the volume and scope of the challenges facing us.

The strategy determines long-term transport, energy and other infrastructure requirements of Far Eastern regions, as well as the Irkutsk Region, the Republic of Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal Territory, and contains specific proposals for creating areas of ahead-of-schedule economic growth. This primarily implies major cities.

Second, construction of a number of important transport and social infrastructure facilities will receive additional funding before the year is out. This will make it possible not to delay their commissioning.

Mr Sergei Darkin confirms that the Primorye Territory alone has received 8.5 billion roubles today. Of this sum, 5 billion will be spend on construction of hotels. The remaining 3.5 billion will be spent on creating the required social infrastructure in the city's new residential areas. The Primorye Territory will receive another 2.5 billion roubles for its hotel programme in the 1st quarter of 2010.

Other regions are also receiving funding. The Amur Region has received allocations to build a general hospital for children. Funding has also been allocated to build oncological outpatient clinics in Chita and the Magadan Region, as well as roads and additional resorts in the Republic of Buryatia, etc.

Today, we have transferred allocations for completely paying all wages at the Amur Ship-Building Plant. This transfer should facilitate the payment of all wages, including those for December.

Furthermore, the Okean National Children's Centre will receive 133 million roubles, due to be spent on construction of new modern buildings.

Fourth. I consider it very important that we are restoring historical memory and justice, and are returning, whenever possible, property, buildings and structures previously owned by religious organisations.

In this connection, it has been decided to transfer the Convent of the Nativity of the Mother of God, founded in 1906, to the Orthodox community.

Two other decisions are directly linked with the agenda of today's meeting.

The 178th and 92nd ship-repair plants will receive 283 million roubles under a financial reorganisation programme. This will allow them to repay their debts owed to federal and territorial budgets.

And now a few words about the main issue of our agenda. This past May, we have already held a meeting on the future development of the Far Eastern shipbuilding industry.

At that time, the meeting passed all the main decisions on establishing a regional shipbuilding and ship-repair centre. The meeting charted various aspects of its specialisation and plans to build new shipyards to manufacture modern sea-going equipment for developing the continental shelf.

The following conclusion was reached: We must preserve the existing Far Eastern shipbuilding industry and take necessary action to boost its development. The required conditions for accomplishing this objective are already in place. I am talking about a large sales market, industrial sites having the required infrastructure and the workforce.

Today, I can say that two attractive investment projects worth about $700 million will be implemented in the Primorye Territory. Russian financial institutions will contribute 75% of the grand total.

This implies construction of a new shipyard that will manufacture drilling rigs in Chazhma Harbour. We will cooperate with our Singaporean partners there. Second, a dry dock and auxiliary production facilities will be constructed at Zvezda Shipyard in Bolshoi Kamen. They will be used to build tankers and gas carriers. This project will be implemented together with our South Korean partners and Daewoo company. Both our partners are present here, and I would like to extend my sincere greetings to them.

Naturally, the United Shipbuilding Company and its partners must facilitate stable and guaranteed demand for their equipment while launching these projects.

Our task is to help them to formulate a sea-going civilian equipment production plan for the next few years and until 2020. On the whole, this $5 billion plan has already been drawn up.

First of all, this implies orders by our major companies, including Gazprom, Rosneft and Sovkomflot, as well as the delivery of fishing and specialised vessels.

Representatives of the United Shipbuilding Company and its foreign partners, as well as prospective customers, are present here. I propose we discuss prospects for joint work.