Highlights: Remarks by Russian PM Putin in annual report

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 20, 2011 8:49 AM
Highlights: Remarks by Russian PM Putin in annual report

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Following are some of the remarks Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made in an annual report to parliament on Wednesday.

ECONOMY

"The forecast for this year is a (GDP) increase of around 4.2 percent ... In the first quarter growth totaled 4.4 percent. This means that by the beginning of 2012 Russian economy will fully compensate for crisis-driven losses."

"In March-April inflation started to slow down. We expect that inflation will not exceed 6.5-7.5 percent for the full year."

"We want to cut the deficit to 1-1.5 percent (of GDP in 2011) and are aiming to avoid a deficit in future years."

"For years before the global financial crisis we were saving reserves. We were criticized for this policy but time has shown that the chosen line was right. Russia met the global financial crisis having a solid reserve power, so called safety cushions.

After such a hard crisis our total state debt is a little over 10 percent of GDP -- it is a safe level, one of the lowest in the world."

"We estimate that growth in energy prices will bring an additional 1.138 trillion roubles ($40.44 billion) to the Russian budget. I think it is unwise just to eat that money, using it for current needs. We will accelerate inflation with additional spending and that will hit our citizens right in the wallet."

"The country needs a decade of strong, calm development. Without different kinds of swings, poorly thought out experiments based on at times unjustified liberalism or, on the other hand, on social demagoguery."

"Let's be frank: In the modern world if you are weak, there is always someone who will come in and unequivocally recommend which way to go, what policy to conduct, what path to choose. ... One must be independent and strong, and most important, one must conduct policy in the interests of one's own people."

ENERGY

"The current beneficial environment in the raw materials and hydrocarbons (markets) should not make us relax. The oil boom we are witnessing only underlines the need to move quickly to a new model of economic development."

"Before the crisis we had the opportunity to increase raw materials exports and secure affordable loans from outside Russia. These sources played a significant role in our economy's growth. But today the sources are significantly limited. I won't say they have disappeared, but we have to bet on the domestic market, on dynamic development of the non-oil and gas sector."

"Speaking of oil, we have reached a production level of 505 million tones per year, putting us in first place in the world... a level which we must maintain. The increase in production came from new oilfields in East Siberia, as well as the Caspian Sea."

"Taking into account what is going on in Europe after the Fukushima-1 catastrophe, the need for raw materials will only increase ... Germany's government, for example, has taken a decision to gradually shut down nuclear power plants. And there is the same trend in other European countries -- the need for energy resources will increase."

BP

"The government does not interfere in disputes between corporations. When the British colleagues came to us with their proposals on working with Rosneft, I said we would support this. At the time, no one told me personally or Rosneft about any mutual obligations to TNK-BP. We simply did not know anything about this. If there are some issues or questions, linked to mutual obligations, then they should be settled in a legal way, through court decisions. As for cooperation with such a respectable company as BP, we would welcome that both for TNK-BP and for Rosneft."

INVESTMENT

"We expect that along with measures to improve the investment climate, lifting barriers for investments in strategic sectors will enable us significantly to improve the flow of foreign investment. We are aiming for $60-$70 billion in annual foreign direct investment in Russia in the near term, and of course to increase that level further. In 2010, FDI was $40.5 billion."

UNREST

"The main guarantee to avoid disturbances is a socioeconomic policy in the interests of people of the Russian Federation."

"If we weaken our immunity, we will immediately catch some kind of influenza. But if we maintain our immunity, no political influenza will ever threaten us."

CURRENCY

"I hope that we will strengthen our national currency and make it reserve one for our region. In any case, on post-Soviet territory the rouble is rising and is turning into a reserve currency. Today our Ukrainian partners are asking us to shift to settling energy trade in roubles."

PENSIONS

"If inflation for the first six months of 2011 exceeds 6 percent we will implement an additional increase in pensions from August 1. We will propose ... reserving the means to do this, some 75 billion roubles ($2.67 billion), from extra budget revenues."

AGRICULTURE

"State support will reach all large farms, small and medium size business. ... I propose to change the budget to add 13 billion roubles for support for the countryside."

WILDFIRES

"Now we are closely watching Siberia and the Far East, where a difficult situation with fires is unfolding. One must do everything to minimize the possibility of repetition of full-scale catastrophes."

MILITARY

"New weapons are being introduced, strategic and tactical missiles, including the Yars and Bulava, and the Iskander M. From 2013 the production of missile systems should practically double.

MEDICAL

"We spend billions on orders of medical equipment from foreign companies. I think it's natural to state that the foreign partners would also gradually move to Russia."

CARS

"There are known facts that automobile sellers overvalue the cars which are sold under the scrappage program and eating up the discount. Measures must be taken."

HOUSING

"By 2016 we have to double volumes of housing construction and reach 100 million square meters of housing per year. ... Volumes of mortgage loans rose by 2 .5 times in 2010, while interest rates are falling."

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Vladimir Soldatkin, Melissa Akin and Steve Gutterman)