The Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast

Address by Oksana Kozlovskaya at the 24th Session of the Legislative Duma
of Tomsk Oblast (October 31, 2013)

Oksana KozlovskayaAt the outset Oksana Kozlovskaya sent her compliments to Ivan Klyain, deputy of the Legislative Duma, on his election as Mayor of Tomsk and expressed her hope that the vacancy will be filled by a deputy of no less dignity.

The speaker went on with the matter of national and international importance. In particular, she mentioned a situation with irregular migrants which aggravated lately. “... The home government have immediately responded to the situation. They have intensified efforts in solving the issues with irregular migrants. The new law has set forth the powers of the regions and municipal entities in the interethnic policies and liabilities of the heads of municipal entities, down to their resignation. The governors should appoint experts in interethnic matters. Yet there are only a few mature experts in interethnic matters who can find solutions allowing for the modern world specifics!” said the Speaker.

“Tomsk Oblast has always been proud of its tolerance, stable and conflict-free interethnic relations. I think it’s high time that we looked at this matter closely together with the Administration. And people keep on raising this question at the meetings with deputies.”

Major questions on the economic agenda both for Russia and Tomsk Oblast were focused at the International Investment Forum in Sochi. Once again the Forum covered the tendencies far from being optimistic – slowdown of economic activity, industrial stagnation. However, the Forum mainly resulted in reiteration of the new model of the Russian economy development, determination of the major growth spurts. There are three of them in fact – fund-raising, human resources and quality of living.

Budget of Tomsk Oblast for the next three years is the biggest item on the agenda
The budget at all levels is being formed in quite challenging economic conditions. Our home economy is growing slower than the economy of the developing countries, let alone the global economy.

Russian GDP will most optimistically grow by 1.8% this year. And this forms basis for economic growth in 2014. Forecasts for 2014 are unfortunately not optimistic as well. According to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 42% of the citizens realize and share this opinion.

The government is seeking for solutions to give a boost to the economy.

We shall by all means revive the investment activity!

Among the profound measures we shall freeze the tariffs of natural monopolies for enterprises. This will tangibly give a respite to business and reduce the budget expenditures.

A set of measures has been undertaken to optimize activities of resource providers, including fiscal audit of tariffs, income-tax returns from heads of state corporations.

Experts say that these measures will reduce inflation and drive up economy by 1% of GDP.

Tomsk Oblast budget for three years was adjusted for this phase of growth decline.

Key parameters of the regional budget are as follows: revenues of consolidated budget in 2014 are estimated at 53.2bn rubles, expenditures – 56.5bn rubles, deficit – 3.3bn rubles.

Owing to effective work of the Governor of Tomsk Oblast in the Government of the Russian Federation, our budget will be additionally subsidized with over 2.7bn rubles (to be included in the budget basis for next years) to stabilize the fiscal capacity.

Basic expenditures of 2014 budget are secured items: education – over 13bn rubles; health care – 8.7bn rubles; social policy – 6.8bn rubles. All undertaken obligations will be fulfilled.

As for investments in the Oblast development and support for the real economy – we shall select priorities from the priority list, as the Administration estimated 20bn rubles for these needs, and we can afford only 6.2bn rubles.

Proposals introduced into draft budget:
- 1.3bn rubles — for agricultural development
- 3.6bn rubles — investments to all areas
- and almost a billion — for road construction

A significant portion of standard social expenditures is investments as well but to the human resources!

No less important is that the role and responsibility of the regions to create the most congenial investment climate is significantly growing. The Regional Investment Standard has been available for two years already. Our next level is the Standard for Competition Promotion. The Government believes that the Standard will make the regional markets of goods and services more transparent for investors.

Innovations are a separate matter. Considering the changes in the academic area and town-planning development of the city, we need to turn back to InoTomsk 2020 Project. The Administration is working with the Government of the Russian Federation to secure financial support for it. Yet mobilization of the federal resources requires propostional co-funding from Tomsk Oblast. This item has not been included in 2014 budget yet.

By the way, Russia has climbed to finish 92nd in the Doing Business ranking by improving the country’s business climate. The target for the following years is to be in top 20.

In recent years Tomsk Oblast has traditionally been in the middle of the rating of investment attractiveness of the regions. As per the Expert rating agency, our principal risks in 2013 are financial and social ones!!! Reasons: high unemployment, insufficient money income growth of the population.

Why to raise these questions? One of the questions on the agenda is the Strategy of the Social Sphere Development for 2020 which stipulates that further development is impossible without business involvement. The budget ensures minimum standards and quality of social services, business provides comfortable conditions for their rendering and the right of choice. And the authorities shall give an impetus by setting out the priorities and measures of government support for business in the social sphere.

Education and health care are marked as top-priorities in the social sphere strategy. They are also the most capital intensive areas.

About the agenda
44 items on the list.

1. Main subject is obviously the budget. Before we pass it we shall update thirty Oblast social laws. The deputies extended some laws at the September Duma Session. Today we are going to review seven of them. The rest shall be adopted in November.

2. We will take decisions on two Oblast laws which directly affect the consolidated budget revenues.

3. Significant amendments were proposed into 2013 budget. The Oblast budget revenues will grow by 513m rubles (due to the inflows from the federal budget and the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation).

4. Under the deputies’ initiative we continue reviewing the information from the Oblast Administration as regards the pointed questions of Tomsk citizens. This time we are reviewing information on the work and development prospects of rural health posts, their equipment and staffing issues.

5. The Committees have actively discussed the establishment of the institute of Business Ombudsman. Many regions have already adopted this initiative. The Administration suggests granting significant rights to the Ombudsman considering the role and significance of business for development of the economy.

The law will be reviewed in first reading today. By its second reading the deputies will set up a candidate specification and scope of responsibilities.

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