Briefing by Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov

RUSSIA, March 21 – The briefing focused on the implementation of the priority action plan to ensure the development of the Russian economy.

Briefing by Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov

Maxim Reshetnikov: Let me start with last week’s results.

The Prime Minister has approved the Priority Measures Plan which includes 113 measures to date. This is in addition to more than 50 measures that had already been adopted and implemented over the previous two weeks. Seven of these 113 measures were implemented in four days. About 18 initiatives are now in the final phase.

We are waiting for the session of the State Duma and the Federation Council. Many initiatives adopted at first reading will be submitted to second reading, and some others have been amended accordingly.

Key initiatives, in agreement with the Ministry of Economic Development, include passing laws on special economic zones that would give the Russian Export Center special rights, including import support. Several other measures in the area of ​​customs and tariff regulations will also be implemented.

In addition, the Law on Special Administrative Districts is being prepared for the second and third readings, under which we will greatly speed up the so-called redomiciliation procedure. In other words, it means moving Russian businesses from foreign jurisdictions to a Russian jurisdiction. There are now two special administrative districts for this: in Kaliningrad and Vladivostok, in the Far East.

There is a high demand for it among companies. When we meet companies, they constantly ask for details. We organize round tables, etc. And, of course, we took into consideration many of their proposals: in particular allowing companies to carry out many operations with copies of documents.

The bottom line: Last week we adopted a major trillion-ruble package of measures to support small and medium-sized businesses. This package includes four programs. First, there is a central bank concessional financing program. The second component is a joint program of the Central Bank and the Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation to support SME investment projects.

The government has also taken the decision to allocate 14 billion to subsidize loans under the 1764 program, which is our main program of the national project. The final interest rate for all programs will be 15% for small and micro enterprises and 13.5% for medium enterprises. The fourth element is the umbrella bond and umbrella guarantees.

All paperwork was completed last week and decisions, including those involving the RSMB Corporation board, were adopted. Our job for this week (and part of next week) is to get these programs started, to make sure that small businesses can already go to the banks and get their money. It will take about a week to complete the procedures, including those involving the banks.

One of the programs – the joint Central Bank and RSMB Corporation program – is already underway. Last week, 250 loans worth more than 7 billion rubles were approved, for enterprises in trade, processing industry, catering, tourism and others. The range of sectors covered is wide. I have only mentioned the main ones.

What are we working on this week? We are waiting for more decisions, in addition to what I said about the State Duma. We are working on a moratorium on bankruptcies, on supporting technology companies (also by granting concessional loans) and, in accordance with a presidential decree, on extending the moratorium on inspections of IT companies until 2025. will have more.

Another important thing. Last Friday, we issued decisions regarding lending to basic industrial and agricultural businesses. We have allocated 40 billion to subsidize the interest rates of industrial enterprises and 26 billion for agricultural enterprises. This week, we’ll be selecting banks, signing deals, and more. We expect the loans to be available early next week. The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture are working on these support measures.

These are the main points I wanted to point out.

Question: Gleb Fyodorov, Объясняем.рф.

It has become apparent that state contracts are now virtually impossible to fulfill under the previous terms and conditions. What will happen if the contractors do not fully fulfill their obligations? Will they be put on an unreliable contractor list?

Maxim Reshetnikov: Indeed, the situation has changed radically. There is the price factor, as well as the availability of the required equipment. This is especially true in construction projects, as some equipment is actually included in the design specifications. Clients and contractors were faced with the dilemma of stopping work or [waiting for] some sort of flexible mechanism to be worked out.

This mechanism has become available. Amendments were made to Federal Laws No. 44 and No. 223, which regulate public procurement by public enterprises, which are essentially public expenditures. The government is now empowered to change the terms and conditions flexibly. The government passed a resolution on March 10, giving government customers the power to flexibly change the terms of contracts at current prices. Contractors can offer a replacement, submit supporting documentation for price escalation, and follow a prescribed procedure to resolve the issue. We urge contractors to work closely with state customers now and provide proper justification for changes, of course. But either way, state customers now have more flexibility, and the solution now lies with government agencies. I think we will work out detailed instructions together with the Ministry of Finance and publish them on the website Объясняем.рф.

Gleb Fyodorov (Объясняем.рф): Will loan repayment holidays also apply to credit cards, including those issued before March 1?

Maxim Reshetnikov: Yes, according to the instructions of the Central Bank, this rule applies to credit cards with a limit of up to 100,000 rubles, as far as I know. So yes, this option is available, and borrowers can take advantage of it.

Gleb Fyodorov (Объясняем.рф): About an important measure to support businesses – you mentioned 15% on working capital credit. Where can entrepreneurs apply for this type of loan and when?

Maxim Reshetnikov: If you refer to the 1764 program, it concerns 100 banks, which are currently signing additional agreements. We expect this work to take this week and possibly the start of the next. The big banks will sign everything quickly. Small banks, regional banks – they need a little more time for this. A list of these banks is available on the website of the Ministry of Economic Development. Companies are aware of this program; it’s been running for over a year, so the list is as long as it gets. All problems were solved there.