Meeting of the Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation V.Putin and Head of the Repubic of Karelia S.Katanandov
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Vladimir Putin: We should talk on situation in the republic: about social and economic situation, problems related to the labour market, performance of social obligations.
Sergey Katanandov: We have had a hard period in the end of the last year, and though with much ado, we have managed to keep economy. In January-February there was a meltdown when we have achieved only 71% of the level of the last year. Actually, it was the hardest situation: we had to undertake a number of efforts together with heads of enterprises, regional authorities, and the government. Now we work at the level of 85% and we consider it a stable result.
Approximately the same picture was with growth of unemployment. In 3 months the number of unemployeds has increased by almost 6,000 people, having made about 15,000 total. The figure was huge.
We have been one of the first regions to get support from the Center. The program has been coordinated, on which the republic was assigned 162 million roubles. We have also been told that we would get more money in case we need. We have already spent about 70 million to support people. It has relieved the tension, unemployment started to decrease: it was reduced by almost 3,000 due to conversion training and creation of new workplaces. We have started to work actively at the level of budgetary sphere.
Of course, this issue is rather complicated, related to inflation and growth of prices, so now we are tracing this issue, too. Yet, 9.3% of inflation is a proper result. We also take measures on social protection, during elections.
Vladimir Putin: What measures?
Sergey Katanandov: We have invented that during elections...
Vladimir Putin: It should be done not only during elections, but constantly.
Sergey Katanandov: In addition to the law on veterans that we have we also have the law on veterans of the republic. We should understand, that the situation is a problem. We have invented a social card and now we are adapting it for the republic as a whole. What does it mean? It is a card on which the person can receive a discount almost everywhere, where this service is rendered: in hairdressing salons, shops, gas stations. We involve our best entrepreneurs in the process, so they participate in support of retirees. The card will be issued to almost all our pensioners.
Vladimir Putin: How are you getting along with salaries?
Sergey Katanandov: Our salary today makes 17,000 roubles, but, unfortunately, it is not growing, and incomes of the population...
Vladimir Putin: I mean debts in economy, in state-financed organisations.
Sergey Katanandov: Debts make 23 million roubles.
Vladimir Putin: On economy as a whole?
Sergey Katanandov: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: And in the budgetary sphere?
Sergey Katanandov: In budgetary sphere there are no debts. How have we managed to avoided debts? Our budget has decreased, and we were forced to make a loan - 1 billion roubles - to pay salaries in due time. This is how we work now. However, this is not the first time - we have been using these tools for many years. Now, from the point of view of the situation, everything is fine in the state-financed organisations.
Though, I shall repeat, of course, we get warnings, that sometimes figures are concealed. Last time we had a very serious conversation with our law enforcement bodies. We are forced to involve regional, city public prosecutors to protect people. We had cases when criminal proceedings were instituted against some people for late payments.
Vladimir Putin: How is public health services?
Sergey Katanandov: You know, that monitoring of estimation of services goes on now. For the past two years we have submitted reports to the Government. Our population demands much of public health services, and no more that 30% of people is satisfied, in contrast to educational services. Of course, it disturbs us. We have launched now a number of serious projects. As I've shown you along the way, we have completed construction of the regional hospital. Another uniform vascular center is four different hospitals. In the past three years we have opened hospitals in a number of regional centers, and more construction goes on in the North.
Medication is expensive, and we also have high retail margin. Now we shall be reconsidering these matters. Today because of long shipping distances we have 46% of retail margin in the republic. It means that in a number of remote settlements medication is extremely expensive.
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