Gleb Nikitin began by reporting on the coronavirus situation in the region, in particular, testing, the number of hospital beds, the construction of a new infectious diseases complex, and payments to medical and other personnel involved in combating the pandemic.
The Governor also spoke about the decision made to support economic stability, primarily when it comes to employment. He said that the unemployment rate in the region was 3.5 percent, which is lower than the country’s average. Some local industries reported a 5 to 20 percent growth, although the regional industry has declined, just as in the country as a whole, with the greatest decline reported in the automotive sector. On the other hand, investments have gone up; their physical volume has not decreased despite the economic hardships this year.
Speaking about future development, Gleb Nikitin pointed out that the region was on schedule in terms of financing national projects and continued working on the new instruments that could be used to accelerate the achievement of the national goals. In particular, he mentioned housing construction and spending under the Demography project.
In response to the President’s question about the environment, the Governor said the main project being implemented within the framework of the Ecology national project was the rehabilitation of the Volga and water purification facilities. It is an immensely significant project where huge funds are being invested. Another project important for the people is Clean Water, and, of course, the problem of landfills and clearing up the accumulated environmental damage.
Gleb Nikitin recalled that he had been appointed by the President to head the working group on Environment and Natural Resources and made a proposal to make an inventory of such facilities across the country. Inventories are planned in the region starting from 2022; between 2024 and 2030, it is envisaged that the liquidation of such facilities will be prioritised. Three such facilities are currently being liquidated in the region, and two others have essentially been liquidated already, he said.
The President expressed concern about the decreasing number of permanent residents in the region. The governor agreed that this problem was one of the main challenges. To address the situation, the quality of the environment needs to be improved and, most importantly, the people’s expectations need to be taken into account, their expectations of the future – what is happening in Nizhny Novgorod in comparison with what is happening in Moscow, around the country, and in the world. According to Gleb Nikitin, a comprehensive programme for the development of Nizhny Novgorod and its surroundings has been worked out.
He admitted that the pace of housing construction was insufficient, and spoke about plans to expedite it, in particular, about the need to develop new territories. This requires the construction of new bridges across the Volga and Oka, kindergartens, schools, a new motorway, a new avenue, as well as redevelopment of historical territories – this project is supported by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development. It envisages the redevelopment of a huge, 240-hectare area which is now packed with valuable urban facilities, and this implies a new level of investment development. There is also a need for a comprehensive transformation of the transport system; this project has already been worked out as well. Research and expert work has been carried out in order to minimise the costs to budgets of all levels.
All these projects are expected to yield a tangible effect: 692 billion rubles in 30 years to the state coffers. They are now being coordinated with the Presidential Executive Office, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin and Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin.