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Putin outlines national priorities to restart economy & raise living standards as Russia emerges from Covid crisis

Putin outlines national priorities to restart economy & raise living standards as Russia emerges from Covid crisis
The Russian government took unprecedented measures to support the economy through the coronavirus pandemic, saving five million jobs, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday in his annual address to the Federal Assembly.

According to Putin, the government will continue promoting private investment to support the creation of new jobs. He has instructed the government to develop a program of additional measures to support small and medium-sized businesses. The proposals on “tax incentives, affordable loans, expansion of product sales, including through purchases from large state-owned companies,” should be submitted within a month.

He added that last year’s decision to halve insurance premiums for small and medium-sized enterprises from 30% to 15% is not subject to revision. “To support the creation of new jobs, the government will support and encourage entrepreneurial initiative, stimulate private initiative,” Putin said, adding that the commercial sector’s profits are expected to be at a record high this year, despite all the problems brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

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Keeping inflation in Russia within the established parameters is an “extremely important task,” the president said. “The government and the Central Bank should continue to pursue a responsible financial policy and ensure macroeconomic stability… I proceed from the fact that it will certainly be solved.”

The Russian president added that another major goal for the government is to ensure the growth of real incomes for the population. He urged to focus on “Restoring and guaranteeing its further growth, and achieving tangible changes in the fight against poverty.”

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Among other things, Putin also talked about the need to remove excessive restrictions in the field of foreign exchange controls for non-resource exporters.

“It is necessary to significantly simplify the conditions for the work of non-resource exporters. We need to remove all excessive restrictions in the field of currency controls for these exporters. This is one of the problems. This procedure should start working from July.” He added that all amendments to the legislation should be adopted as quickly as possible during the spring session.

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