The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, deputy prime ministers Tatyana Golikova, Alexander Novak, Alexei Overchuk, Marat Khusnullin and Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Deputy Prime Minister – Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, and Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov. Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova, Minister of Healthcare Mikhail Murashko, Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov and Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozerov were also invited to the meeting.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
We are holding the first meeting with Government members in 2023. I would like to congratulate you again on this event and wish you success.
Quite recently – a couple of days ago or so – we met with the Prime Minister and some colleagues from the Government to discuss the results and our plans for the new year. Mr Mishustin explained how the Government organises its work in major areas technology-wise, including the implementation of national projects.
What would I like to say? We spoke about this during a restricted format meeting – but I would like to note this again. First, I would like to thank you for your work in 2022. Nothing that our opponent had predicted for us came true. This was done, of course, primarily by the citizens of Russia, their focus, our entire focus, our readiness to face challenges and work in difficult conditions. Much credit for this also goes to the Government. Mr Mishustin managed to put together an effective, modern team of interested people – people that are interested in the results of their work. He also organised the technology aspects of all these activities, which is certainly producing the expected results.
We know (I just discussed this with our colleagues from the Executive Office this morning) that we have additional budget revenues, and they are not oil or gas revenues, but they are from non-commodity sectors: a preliminary 200 billion in additional revenues. This gives us the opportunity to meet every development objective we have and solve current tasks that are serious and important. I am referring to the tasks at the federal level and the regional dimension as well.
Of course, we absolutely need to find a solution as soon as possible for ensuring sovereign development, that is, independent development despite any external pressure or threats.
I would like to emphasise that we can reliably guarantee the country's security and interests; we will increase our defence capability and will certainly resolve all the issues related to supporting the Armed Forces, every unit involved in the special military operation.
At the same time, we will continue to implement large socioeconomic programmes and plans aimed at improving people's well-being, unlocking Russia's enormous potential, and expanding our international ties. We certainly have all the resources we need for this.
We have outlined the six key priorities for this year, and I would just like to reiterate a few points we discussed earlier.
The first point is the expansion of Russia’s foreign economic relations and the development of new logistics corridors. As a matter of fact, we are working intensively towards this – we need to continue in the same vein.
Next, we need to achieve noticeable positive results in improving roads, other infrastructure, housing and utilities, although 2022 was a successful and good year in this respect. Well, what else can I say? Deputy Prime Minister [Marat] Khusnullin and I just discussed the construction sector’s results the other day – good performance, one of the best in our history. As for housing construction, it is probably the best. We have taken the first steps and need to maintain this pace.
Thirdly, we need to drastically enhance the technological capabilities of the Russian economy, to stimulate the creation of new facilities and jobs. Everybody is doing it, absolutely. First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov is working in the most promising areas, and I very much hope that together with the companies that have been designated as leading companies, we will continue the work that was started last year.
The fourth point. Strengthening the financial sovereignty of our country is a systemic issue. This is vital for boosting investment in high-tech companies, industry, agriculture and many other sectors. I am very much counting on the effective work of the Central Bank and the Government here, primarily, the economic bloc and the Finance Ministry, as was the case in 2022.
Fifth. It is necessary to develop economic policy measures in such a way that will lead to the growth of real wages and incomes, and, coupled with social support measures, primarily for families with children, will ensure the continued reduction of poverty and inequality.
The sixth priority. Special attention must be paid to addressing acute demographic problems – much has been said about this, so I will not go into detail at this point. We understand what the main problems are in this area and how to resolve them. Of course, I am referring, in part, to addressing these issues by making modern, high-quality healthcare more accessible.
I would like to emphasise that the work in this area must embrace all regions of the country, including Russia’s new regions. This is exactly why the task was set to ensure a systemic, comprehensive approach to integrating the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions into Russia’s common socioeconomic space.
Let me recall that the Government has been instructed to draft a special development programme for the new regions before the end of the current quarter. By 2030, they should reach the national average in terms of infrastructure, social services and many other parameters of living standards. I would like to ask the Government, federal agencies and colleagues in the regions to work out, clearly and consistently, all the details of this programme.
Of course, it is necessary to promptly address the most urgent, vital issues now. In fact, this is what we are doing. I understand that the situation in the new regions is complicated – hostilities continue in some areas, peaceful life has not been restored and security is not ensured in many of these regions.
Naturally, it is necessary to consider all these factors, but this is not a reason to take a break and postpone the resolution of the most urgent issues. It is necessary to set specific goals now and work to achieve them gradually. This is exactly what people are waiting for – people that are really going through hard times and want to see changes for the better.
It is essential to set clear and understandable development benchmarks for Russia’s new regions, so that people know what will be built in their cities and towns, which facilities will be renovated and when, how family incomes will grow, what kind of assistance they will receive from the state, how kindergartens, schools, universities, hospitals and clinics will operate, when enterprises will reopen, what kind of support small businesses and entrepreneurs will receive, and how infrastructure and transport will develop.
Here I would like to emphasise the need to support local entrepreneurs. Of course, if we need investment from major Russian sources, from our large companies – private or state-owned – we need to facilitate that as well. But it is of the essence to support local businesses wherever possible.
Key performance indicators for the development of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, LPR and DPR must be established for this year, 2023. I am referring to uniform and transparent criteria for assessing not only regional and municipal, but also federal authorities, so that our colleagues at the local level join the federal Government, ministries and agencies, and direct their forces and resources towards priority areas that require attention in the first place.
In addition – we have already talked about this, and I want to stress once again that – it is necessary to involve the new regions in the implementation of our national projects, and this, among other things, means that funding needs to be provided to back the activities under national projects in the territories of the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.
We have discussed this many times, and I know that the Government is working hard on drafting key performance indicators for the development of the new regions and involving them in the national projects, but I would like to point this out again: this work is far from completed, and we need to resolve the outstanding issues as soon as possible.
As for today's agenda, we agreed to focus on social support measures in the new regions – arranging the payment of all social benefits to the local population. Ms Golikova will report on this today.
But before we begin, I would like to ask Mr Manturov to tell us how the instructions are being carried out to implement long-term programmes to upgrade the aircraft fleet and the water transport fleet. We worked on this a lot last year, and we all realise how critical these issues are, especially with regard to air transport. We discussed this just a month ago at the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development.
Let's get to work.
As I suggested, Mr Manturov will begin. Go ahead, please.
Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov: Thank you very much.
Mr President, colleagues,
Following up on your instruction, we submitted a passport for an aircraft leasing investment project to the Government at the end of 2022. The decision to approve it was fully agreed upon. In 2023–2025, Aeroflot will receive 63 aircraft, including 34 Superjets under the import substitution project, 18 MC-21 and 11 Tu-214 aircraft. This year, 175 billion rubles will be set aside from the National Welfare Fund to fund this programme.
In addition, separate passports will be approved this year under orders placed by other airlines to ensure the implementation of a comprehensive programme for developing the aviation industry. The aircraft industry is ready to fulfil the goal that you set.
Given the strategic importance of the project, it was decided to finance it from the NWF at a preferential rate of 1.5 percent without excessive requirements concerning return on investment. The Ministry of Economic Development is drafting appropriate amendments to the regulatory framework and this work will be completed soon, after which the Finance Ministry will promptly make the funds available to the lessor via redemption of bonds. This is a Rostec subsidiary called Aviakapital-Servis, which will sign contracts with aircraft manufacturing companies.
We propose implementing a similar approach under the programme for low-cost water transport leasing. We would like you, Mr President, to support the proposal for issuing loans from the National Welfare Fund at 1.5 percent per annum and easing the requirements concerning return on investment.
We have already formed an investment project, and the STLC [State Transport Leasing Company] in conjunction with the Finance Ministry have agreed on its parameters in the usual course of business. Our shipyards plan to build 260 civilian vessels in 2023–2027 as part of this order which will include a wide range of equipment of varying deadweight that can be used for various purposes. Cargo ships, such as tankers, container ships, barges, tugs, and dry cargo ships, including Arctic class vessels, will account for the bulk of orders.
Much remains to be done with regard to continued development of the passenger fleet, including electric vessels which will be put in operation in Moscow this year. The first two electric river boats that are part of a total order of 21 such boats placed by Moscow are undergoing trials.
We are focusing separately on building fishing vessels and dredgers to be used for breaking water artery bottlenecks which is particularly important with more logistics routes coming into service.
Overall, the programme for upgrading the civilian fleet has been drawn up for 231 billion rubles. In addition to ten billion rubles for subsidies, this programme provides for the allocation of 136 billion rubles from the NWF. The STLC will raise another 85 billion from the market. This combined model will produce an economically effective leasing model for the operators.
Today, the key task it to rapidly approve the investment project passport. We are ready to submit it to the Government and hope that my colleagues will quickly resolve procedural issues, which will allow us to start financing in this quarter as you, Mr President, have instructed us.
Thank you for your attention.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Manturov, have you received the paper that I forwarded to you? It was sent to me with the signatures of the St Petersburg Governor and the head of the company that makes Meteors, I think. It is quite a financially intensive project.
Denis Manturov: I can confirm that, Mr President.
We consider St Petersburg one of the leaders in terms of upgrading marine passenger transport, so we are continuously working with our colleagues. They are actively using support measures, including for Meteors and electric vessels. In a similar fashion as Moscow is now buying them, similar work is underway for St Petersburg. And also for vessels running on natural gas motor fuel.
So we are actively involved in all this.
Vladimir Putin: Good.
Financial instruments simply must be developed there. You have just mentioned them. It is necessary to provide them with a timely order.
Denis Manturov: We are using the current subsidy that traditionally has been used for many years, providing us with a discount rate, and the NWF funds that will reduce the effective rate for the consumers, including the regions.
Vladimir Putin: Look here – as you have just said, 700 aircraft, including helicopters, and 260 civilian water vessels, such as ships, supply vessels and so on will be delivered by 2030.
It is necessary to discuss these 700 aircraft, including helicopters, with the Defence Ministry. It should be clear how many of them the military department will order and how many civilian vessels should be produced. Some companies have not yet received an order, even for 2023.
Denis Manturov: As for the Defence Ministry, we reported to you in Tula the aircraft equipment figures; the planned production targets include the civilian order and take into account the production capacity of finishers and component suppliers, including, most importantly, engines.
To boost that, we are implementing investment projects to resolve problems with aircraft engines, primarily for helicopters – the VK-2500 engines made by the Klimov plant in St Petersburg. We are cooperating with other enterprises, too, but it is essential to enhance the capacity at Klimov as a finisher, in order to fulfil the Defence Ministry’s order and those for civilian customers as well. We also keep in mind exports.
Vladimir Putin: It is taking too long! Much too long.
Companies need to know what their immediate plans and orders are going to be. They need to hire workers, they need to maintain or expand production capacity, do you understand that? They need to know how much the military department will order, and how many civilian aircraft will be ordered. But certain companies do not have contracts even for 2023.
Denis Manturov: Actually, the Defence Ministry has confirmed this year’s figures for all enterprises. Moreover, as I have reported to you, Russian Helicopters enterprises have taken loans – we are primarily talking about helicopters – in order to sign contracts with their Tier Two, Three and Four suppliers.
Therefore, we have all the plans drawn up for the current as well as the next year.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Manturov, as long as there are no manufacturer's specifications (passports), as you mentioned yourself, and companies do not have those, just like they have no contracts, there is no understanding of what they will do or what they need to do.
It is taking too long. Please, I ask you to speed up this process. Enterprises do not have contracts for 2023, what can I say to that? As you said, there are no manufacturer's specifications. When will they be ready? And there are no contracts yet.
Denis Manturov: Here is the instruction, Mr President. We have the contracts, as I reported, from the Defence Ministry, from the civilian customers, the State Transport Leasing Company and other leasing companies – this is in terms of helicopters. And we have all the plans drawn up for aircraft. They take into account the technical trials, certification and import substitution programmes – the Superjet and MC-21. Everything has been fully drawn up.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Manturov, you say everything is ready to go, but there are no contracts. This is what I am telling you. Let's discuss this after the meeting. There is no point in our splitting hairs at this point. I know no contracts have been signed with the enterprises, the directors told me so. What are you fooling around for? When will the contracts be signed? This is my point. Directors of enterprises are telling me there are no contracts while you are telling me that everything is ready to go.
When will the passports be available? When will the contracts be signed? These are the questions I need answers to.
Denis Manturov: With regard to the aircraft passport which I just reported on, the instruction was issued strictly in accordance with the task that you set. Other passports will be ready during this quarter based on the funds available under the budget, including under the preferential National Welfare Fund programme.
Vladimir Putin: I want all of this to be done within a month. What quarter are you talking about? Do we not understand the circumstances we are in? Please complete this work within a month. Okay?
Denis Manturov: We will try to do our best with our colleagues from the economic bloc. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: No, do not try to do your best; please get it done in a month. It must be done in a month, no later. Agreed?
Denis Manturov: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: Do you know why I mentioned this? I took note of some of the wording. You said, “We will do it soon.” What does “soon” mean? The timeframe must be clear and comprehensible. I am not pulling it out of thin air, am I? Directors of enterprises are telling me there are no contracts.
Okay, we will get back to it with you later. We are talking every day as it is, and we will talk more today and tomorrow.
Mr Savelyev, please update us on where we stand with removing containers from the Far East. We talked about this many times. I am aware that the situation has changed and cars and gondola cars are not going from the Far Eastern Russia to the European Russia empty now, but I would still like to hear your assessments.
Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev: Mr President, colleagues,
To begin with, allow me to thank you for supporting the solutions proposed by the Ministry of Transport in November on removing containers from the seaports of the Far East. This really helped us stabilise the situation there.
The main seaports of the Far East with container terminals are Vladivostok and Vostochny Port. There are also 17 rear container terminals there.
The average daily removal of containers with imported goods by rail and road amounted to 3,713 TEU containers in December 2022. This is 8.8 percent more than the daily average for November and 18.7 percent more than the relevant figure for October 2022.
The practice of loading up gondola cars proved effective. As you have just noted, we managed to increase considerably container shipments in gondola cars. At the same time, we resolved the problem of empty cars travelling in the reverse direction after unloading coal at Far Eastern ports.
In November, we sent 43 container trains while in December this figure was already 121, that is about four trains a day. We plan to bring that number to five in February. To encourage such shipments, Russian Railways has extended a discounted rate for the shipment of containers in gondola cars for until the end of this year.
In December, we set daily records for container removal by rail – 4,318 containers, including 1,088 containers in gondola cars. For instance, today we shipped 4,200 containers.
In cooperation with the operator community and Russian Railways, we hope to bring the daily average removal of containers to 4,100–4,300 this year.
(The Minister proceeded to speak about shipments in the first ten days of January 2023. As of January 11, sea terminals were at 97 percent of capacity and rear terminals were at 70 percent.
Vitaly Savelyev also noted that the modernisation of the railway infrastructure of the Eastern Operating Domain made it possible to substantially increase their carrying capacity in late 2022 to the planned figure of 158 million tonnes.)
The measures we have already undertaken and plan to implement in the near future will allow us to increase the number of containers in 2023 by more than 60 percent over the figure for 2022.
In effect, this compensates for transhipments made before in the north-western part of the country. We do not see any factors that would lead to a decline in demand for exports and imports via ports of the Far East. As you have noted more than once, all logistics have been reoriented to the east.
That is why, in conjunction with Russian Railways and the business community, we are working through additional options for increasing imports and exports based on expanded gondola car transport, the ongoing upgrades to the Eastern Operating Domain and increasing eastbound volumes shipped across border crossings.
By mid-April, we will draft a set of measures to ensure daily shipments of 6,000 to 6,500 containers to the Far East.
(Vitaly Savelyev also covered the work of the transport complex during New Year holidays. The transit needs of individuals and the national economy were met in full for all means of transport despite extreme weather such as snowfall, sub-zero temperatures and freezing rain. In particular, over 2.26 million passengers used air transport, up 11.3 percent from this time last year, and 17.6 million passengers used long-distance rail transport and commuter trains, or 10.7 percent more than last year.)
Before and during the New Year holidays, children, including organised groups, were transported by all means of conveyance to children’s New Year parties and performances.
In addition, a socially important project was implemented where over 2,000 children and accompanying persons from the Lugansk and Donetsk people's republics and the Zaporozhye, Kherson and Belgorod regions travelled to attend children’s New Year's performances at the State Kremlin Palace.
Mr President, the transport complex is ready to address any and all challenges in 2023 in order to ensure uninterrupted connectivity and to meet the transport needs of the national economy and passengers.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Mr Belozerov, do you have anything to add to what the Minister just said?
Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozerov: Mr President, we coordinated on the report. I might add just one figure.
We ended 2022 with some unprecedented results. First of all, upon your instruction, 20 percent more passengers were transported to southern destinations. Also, we bought a record number of passenger cars, over 1,000.
Mr Savelyev provided a general overview of the Eastern Operating Domain. Also, our numbers are up not only in terms of exports, but also in terms of our operations within the Eastern Domain where we transported over 8 percent more cargo for domestic consumption. This is a good number, which tells us that the economy in this macro-region is growing fast.
We stand ready to complete any assignment.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Novak, please say a few words about your area – coal shipments and so on.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak: Mr President, in 2022 our coal production increased by 0.3 percent despite the embargo on coal supplies to Europe introduced on August 10. Nonetheless, overall coal production increased a bit, mostly owing to supplies to the domestic market. They went up by about 8 percent, and exports fell by 7 percent.
In other words, owing to low water levels and reduced generation of electricity at hydropower plants, demands on coal stations grew, and this is why the domestic market went up. Moreover, the domestic market was provided with railway shipments, as my colleagues have just reported. We have no problems in this area, there is full synchronisation.
The Far East is our main focus this year. We are using existing opportunities to expand the Baikal-Amur Railway, the eastern route in general. So we will continue resolving tasks set for the coal industry in cooperation with our colleagues.
Vladimir Putin: Are our oil-and-gas companies coping with the problems that their competitors are trying to create for them, using political mechanisms and instruments?
Alexander Novak: Yes, there are difficulties, of course. However, the overall volumes of exports and shipments we saw in December, starting December 5 when the embargo on shipments to Europe and a ceiling on maritime shipments were introduced, difficulties with insurance and services by sea-going transport… We are in constant contact with our companies. The contracting for February has been completed, and on the whole, companies are not reporting any contracting problems.
Yes, sometimes, contractors demand that a price ceiling be considered in these contracts. However, when concluding contracts, in view of your Executive Order and requirements for companies, despite the fact that it takes effect on February 1, we set the companies the task for December and January and for contracting in February of not being too tough in establishing a price ceiling in contracts because it can pose a risk in the future.
The price ceiling on oil products takes effect on February 5. The European Union has not yet established these prices. They are reviewing a relevant proposal, methodology and differentiation by type of oil products.
As for oil, the main problem is a big discount due to high freight costs. In other words, the costs of freight have grown considerably because of the risks transport operators and contractors are facing due to potential sanctions for not establishing a price ceiling.
I hope this is a temporary situation and the discount will drop with time as it happened in 2022 when it grew a lot in March and April but then started dropping gradually and finally was cut in half.
So, I think today the discount is posing the biggest risk. The second risk is the embargo on supplies of oil products and the introduction of a price ceiling. We will respond to these challenges, we will report and take all necessary measures to supply new markets, including logistics and transportation.
That concludes my report.
Vladimir Putin: We must take a closer look at this discount so as not to create any problems with the budget. Do you understand what I am talking about? Discuss this issue and then report your proposals to me separately, please, all right?
Alexander Novak: All right. Understood.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Mr Khusnullin, we discussed the performance of the construction sector several times. I would like you to tell our colleagues now some of the things we have talked about.
Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin: Mr President,
We did some good work last year, and we are a hundred percent sure that the completed housing projects will amount to 101.5 million square metres, as all the regions have confirmed. I believe that the figure will be even larger, according to the updates. It is the largest volume of housing we have built in history, including the Soviet period.
Second, thanks to the systemic road construction measures you supported, we have formulated a five-year road construction programme and coordinated all our road building plans with the regions. To date, we have paved 170 million square metres of roads with asphalt. This is the second figure.
As for the Eastern Operating Domain and the territory of the Far East, we complied with your instructions to compile five-year road building plans aimed at improving roads and bringing them to standard.
(Marat Khusnullin also spoke about efforts to reduce the investment and construction cycle, the social project to connect households to the gas supply network, the improvement of the housing and utilities sector, the preparation of a programme for the Far Eastern Federal District and the new regions. The Deputy Prime Minister said this would boost industrial construction. He said that, despite the sanctions, last year’s results were record high for the past few years thanks to the work of the Government and large monopolies, as well as close ties with the regions. The increment in the construction sector will be at least 6 percent year-on-year, because the figure for the last 11 or 12 months was 8–9 percent.)
Vladimir Putin: We are grateful to the construction sector for these record-high results.
Incidentally, I would also like to thank those who were working in the new regions, helping the Defence Ministry to build the defence lines.
Regrettably, there have been casualties among construction personnel. We must not forget this, and we must help their families. Construction workers have always been respected as creators, and now their profession has become a heroic vocation.
I would like to thank you and all those who were tackling the tasks facing the country in this sphere. I congratulate them on their achievements, just as I congratulated our farmers who have achieved excellent results. I am not only referring to the record harvest, which does not happen by itself, but also to the work of the sector as a whole. It did really well, achieving very good results. I am referring to the agricultural and processing complex.
We had the lowest unemployment rate as of the end of 2022. How much was it, 3.7 percent? Inflation was also below expectations. In this context, I would like to ask both the Economic Development Minister and the Finance Minister to comment on these results.
Mr Reshetnikov, go ahead, please.
Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov: Mr President,
We have just received the latest data summing up the 2022 results. The rate of inflation was below 12 percent, totalling 11.9 percent, to be more precise, despite the fact that we brought forward the adjustment of utility rates for inflation from July 1, 2023, to December 1, 2022.
This was largely attributable to the stabilised prices in the agricultural sector, which came on the heels of high crop yields, as well as the fact that we have been quite effective over the past years in working along the value chain and developing distribution. Agricultural products arrive quite quickly on store shelves, the environment is becoming increasingly competitive, which in turn improves pricing.
With this in mind, we expect a substantial drop in inflation year-on-year by the end of the first quarter, so that in the second quarter the numbers we will probably see could even fall below our 4 percent target, at least at some point.
Therefore, keeping inflation within this range and making sure that it stabilises in the second half of the year is probably our key goal for the year. This has already enabled us to plan all the processes with more confidence, and most importantly to deliver on the goal you have mentioned, which is to ensure higher real household incomes. Without resolving the inflation issue we will never deliver on this task.
According to preliminary data, nominal wages have been demonstrating positive momentum across the economy, on the whole. This reflects the situation on the labour market and the fact that there is a certain deficit there, which is obviously due to the fact that defence manufacturing and the engineering sector have seen an increase in their workload.
On the one hand, lower imports pose a challenge, while on the other hand this create more orders for our manufacturers, which in turn translates into additional demand for labour. All this pushes wages up. Of course, it is essential that manufacturers keep improving their efficiency and continue to invest.
We have taken system-wide decisions last year in keeping with your instructions after a meeting with you, so the key issues were settled and this year we will carry out these decisions.
Vladimir Putin: An increase in nominal wages is a good thing, but this is nothing more than statistics that we have to keep in mind. We need to ensure that households see an increase in their real incomes. This is obvious, and everyone understands this.
Of course, we must factor the decelerating inflation into our overall economic policy. In fact, we all understand this. But I want the entire economic bloc to treat it this way, including the Finance Ministry.
Mr Siluanov, now to you.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Mr President, last year’s budget policy focused not only on responding to the challenges we faced, but also on supporting households and businesses, on achieving our goals and implementing national projects, which are among our priorities.
Last year showed that, despite all the restrictions we faced, we basically attained the objectives planned and fully provided the required financial resources for that. To do this, we increased total spending by more than 6 trillion rubles above the plan, so total spending amounted to 31.2 trillion rubles. We had never spent as much in history.
We financed that spending using our additional income of about 2.8 trillion rubles; that was one resource. Another resource was our vigorous activity in the loans market. Together with banks, we raised additional resources worth about 3.5 trillion rubles.
True, we have a slightly larger deficit than planned, at 2.3 percent of GDP. But if we exclude the money that went to state social security funds to compensate them for lost income as a result of the deferment that we provided for businesses (it seems appropriate to exclude this amount), then the deficit is 1.8 percent of GDP, which fits the target you defined as a benchmark for this year and the next.
Importantly – as you mentioned the labour market – we have helped and provided measures to support the labour market allocating 28 billion rubles for this. But that was not the most important thing; the crucial thing was to help people. We raised pensions by 10 percent in June, which was an unscheduled indexation. We have also indexed the minimum wage and the subsistence minimum by the same amount allocating almost 500 billion rubles additionally for these purposes.
We established new benefits for families with children. Last year, we allocated more than 400 billion rubles to support families with children aged 8 to 16. That was a novelty that we did not plan for last year, but we still adopted this measure to support the lowest-income families.
The Unified Social Fund has been created. Businesses received support. In addition to the deferral programme, we subsidised interest on their loans, to ensure that capital continued to be available for the development of production. We helped enterprises, helped our builders – compensated them for the rise in construction costs. And so on and so forth – a lot has been done.
We generally believe that the budget was an essential component influencing the dynamics of the overall GDP. We have made a major contribution – as a state customer – to the development of the economy and, most importantly, we supported Russians during this difficult period for the country.
Vladimir Putin: We can say with confidence that the country’s financial and banking systems and the economy in general are stable and are actively developing. There is every reason to believe that this momentum will be maintained in 2023. I count very much on your dedicated work and want to thank you again for the results achieved in 2022.
Before I give the floor to Ms Golikova, I would like to ask Mr Murashko to say a few words about the results of the work to conduct medical check-up of children in the new territories, plus several related issues.
Please, Mr Murashko.
Minister of Healthcare Mikhail Murashko: Thank you very much.
As per your instructions, we have been conducting preventive medical check-ups of children in the new constituent entities of the Russian Federation. We have adopted a new approach to organising this work and purchased 50 vehicles with medical equipment together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade. They operate at educational facilities and the entire work of medical personnel is conducted there.
Over 450 doctors are conducting these check-ups. More than 110,000 children have been examined, which is over 20 percent of the overall number of children that need to undergo check-ups. We plan to finish this work by the end of the academic year.
The preventive check-ups showed that over 50 percent of diagnoses were established for the first time. It means that children really needed preventive medical check-ups and skilled personnel are able to detect illnesses in time. In total, 17,000 children have already been referred for follow-up monitoring.
I also want to note that almost 3,800 children were offered elective treatment at hospitals. Over 1,500 surgeries have been performed where it was necessary, and telemedical consultations and the involvement of major regional and federal clinics were organised. Twenty children have been hospitalised and received medical assistance.
I also want to note that the Circle of Kindness foundation is actively involved in providing medical help and provided nine children with expensive medicines.
I would like to say a few words about the restoration of medical infrastructure. Work is underway at 172 facilities; 78 have been already restored and are operating. Together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, we supplied 386 ambulance vehicles, which is almost 50 percent of the renewed ambulance fleet and is critically important. We have also provided mobile medical stations to offer medical assistance in rural areas.
We have delivered over 7.6 billion rubles worth of medicines and medical products; the last supplies were completed in December last year, including for the treatment of HIV and tuberculosis patients.
We also organised technological support, because training medical personnel is extremely important. All the federal medical research centres have joined this work, sending in teams and providing both medical and training assistance.
We have also dispatched medical personnel: over 700 of our specialists are working in the new regions now. We are training administrative staff that manages health clinics there. Our research centre for healthcare administration has already held several seminars.
I would like to say that, following up on your instructions, we have established relevant departments at federal executive authorities, including at the Federal Service for Supervision in Healthcare (Roszdravnadzor), which have launched this work. Decisions have been taken and documents approved on establishing territorial divisions of the Mandatory Medical Insurance Fund. A law has been drafted on the specifics of regulating medical assistance in the new entities of the Russian Federation.
Also, we are working actively to involve the new regions and their medical establishments in the national projects. We are coordinating these issues with the Ministry of Construction.
This concludes my report. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Ms Golikova, please.
Vladimir Putin (addressing Tatyana Golikova): Medical personnel in the so-called new territories are working in extremely difficult conditions; the enormous strain on them is even greater than the stress our medical personnel experienced during the pandemic.
Just keep this in mind. We must think about the attention and support we can give to the mid-level personnel, doctors and so on.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova: Yes, Mr President, we will hold a meeting on this issue tomorrow. There are some ideas we will discuss and report to you later.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
There is hardly any need to speak about the importance of this discussion and what Ms Golikova has told us now. I hope that this work will be carried out fastidiously and step by step in all areas.
If my assistance is needed anywhere, as you said, you will receive it immediately, as you know. We stay in contact on an almost daily basis, and so we will discuss these issues with you and with our colleagues, all together and in separate groups.
Overall, I would like to thank you for what you have been doing and to wish all our colleagues a Happy New Year and a Merry Christmas.
I wish you all the best. Thank you very much.