Medvedev Tackles Stimulus as Economy Slows

MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will chair a meeting on Wednesday on how best to tackle Russia’s slowing economic growth.

“This year, Russia has seen falling growth in the major macroeconomic indices – gross domestic product, industrial output, and fixed capital investment,” the government press office said in a statement.

Russia’s Economics Ministry has cut its GDP growth forecast for 2013 to 3.6 percent from 3.7 percent and does not rule out that this figure may fall to 3 or 3.2 percent, if the current economic slowdown persists.

In 2012, the Russian economy is expected to grow by just 3.5 percent, compared with 4.3 percent in 2011.

“This trend is caused by reduced demand for Russian energy products, a poor harvest in most Russian regions and rising interest rates on certain loans,” the press office said.

Medvedev will lead a discussion on economic stimulus measures involving First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, Economics Minister Andrei Belousov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Central Bank Chairman Sergei Ignatyev.

The government hopes to stimulate growth in the raw materials-based economy by applying measures to expand the practice of granting investment tax credits, retain the preferential payroll tax rate for small businesses, create a support system for Russian goods exports, and finance priority infrastructure projects.

According to the statement, other approaches being considered include systemic measures to support macroeconomic stability, the complete transformation of the financial market, boosting the efficiency of state governance, reducing the state’s interference in the economy and building on successful regional experience in implementing investment projects.

Reforms to Russia’s financial markets also envisage the creation of a mega regulator, which will integrate the country’s Central Bank and the Federal Financial Market Service.

Medvedev told reporters on Tuesday that he had sent a proposal for creating a financial mega-regulator in Russia to President Vladimir Putin.

Establishing a financial mega-regulator would take about two years. The Presidential Executive Office will now review the proposal and amend the legislation, Medvedev said.

The idea of a mega-regulator was put forward by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov in August 2012, he argued that the new institution was needed to streamline regulation and reduce risks in Russia’s banking and financial markets.


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