Sobyanin interviewed for Vesti-Moskva on Rossiya-1

15 February 2015

Question Mr Sobyanin, the 2015 anti-crisis plan was approved this week. Will we have a hard time?

Sergei Sobyanin: I don’t think that 2015 is as dark as it may seem. We have a substantial safety margin. Nevertheless, we have charted high-priority measures for 2015 and the following years.

This implies social security measures. Apart from our systematic measures, we have set aside extra funding for targeted support, including support for businesses, the construction sector, transport, and of course, this includes issues related to import substitution and national economic development.

Question: Will you maintain social benefits?

Sergei Sobyanin: Certainly. These benefits are worth a staggering 328 billion roubles in Moscow. Nevertheless, we have allocated an additional 1.7 billion from the reserve fund for targeted support.

Question: Will you support hard pressed businesses, if necessary?

Sergei Sobyanin: Yes. Businesses will receive about 50 billion roubles annually, in terms of hard cash, including benefits and reduced real-estate lease payments. The latter is particularly important for small businesses. In addition, we will defer lease payments while transferring land plots into various categories during initial construction. We will also subsidise interest rates, develop innovation businesses and so on.

Question: Won’t you have to stop construction projects that have already been started?

Sergei Sobyanin: No. we will certainly continue with them, including road construction, metro and social facilities. Plus, we’ll start offering opportunities to build additional facilities, primarily kindergartens and schools in new residential areas.

Question: And what about construction workers, is it possible to reduce the number of immigrants?

Sergei Sobyanin: As I see it, the largely commercial construction sector will continue to employ about the same number of foreign workers. But, if we see greater unemployment among Russian citizens, including Moscow residents, then we’ll try and reduce the number of immigrants by raising costs, including work permit (patent) fees, and we’ll regulate this situation through open market methods.

Question: How will the city manage food security?

Sergei Sobyanin: This is very important. First, we monitor the situation at stores and retail chains together with the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, the City Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor). We can see the changing price situation, and we cooperate with retail businesses and, most importantly, food suppliers. As you know, it’s impossible to solve this problem and to change prices with the stroke of the pen and by issuing orders. It is important to create a competitive manufacturing sector in the city and to develop trade. Over the past few years, we have built retail outlets with an area of over five million square metres, increasing the city’s retail outlets by almost 20 percent. This, of course, promotes additional competition between retail businesses.

And it is very important to allow food producers to enter the Moscow market. We need a civilised system of wholesale purchases in order to accomplish this objective.

Today, we have established the first national agro-cluster to promote civilised exchanges between food suppliers and the trade sector, including small and medium-sized businesses, restaurants and large stores. We want to set up two other major clusters in the next few years, and this will make it possible to reduce excessive wholesale prices, to introduce more realistic pricing and to encourage competition between food suppliers.

Question: The anti-crisis plan that was published this week implies that there should be fewer officials and luxury goods. What does this mean in real life?

Sergei Sobyanin: This means that there will be fewer officials, that the number of jobs will be reduced, that there will be fewer agencies of any kind, and that a ban will be imposed on all goods other than staple goods, including expensive cars, furniture, etc. A special commission was established to monitor all procurements, to assess them and peel apart all those other than staple ones.

Question: Does this mean that city residents will now see more city officials taking the metro? Is this possible?

Sergei Sobyanin: I hope so.

Question: Thank you very much.

Sergei Sobyanin: Thank you.

Sourse: The website of the Mayor and the Government of Moscow

See also
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