Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced a ban on wheat and grain exports outside of Russia at a recent government presidium meeting. Although the country has sufficient reserves, Putin believes that agricultural producers’ exports may raise prices in the domestic market.
According to Putin, the ban will be in effect from August 15 through December 31, 2010. “The forest fires are only one of the problems, there are other problems too, like the drought,” Putin said and explained how assistance to farmers would be organized. First, the government will distribute grain from the Reserve Fund not according to auction sales, but according to direct requests from the regions. In these requisition applications, regional authorities should describe in detail the financial and economic situation that their region’s farms are in. Secondly, agricultural producers will receive 35 billion rubles in two stages – the first in August and the second in October or November. Ten billion of these rubles will be given in the form of grants, essentially as free aid. The remaining 25 billion rubles will be allocated as preferential loans for three-year terms.
Aside from agriculture, the government has another concern – young students. The government has given awards of 500,000 rubles to seven students working in the fields of science and technology. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov added that the awards will not be subject to taxation.
The Cabinet of Ministers also discussed the problem of creating an International Financial Center in Russia. The Federal Financial Markets Service has proposed eliminating the double-checking procedure on issuing securities: if this happens, it may soon be possible for a company to go without government registration if it has already issued securities on the market. “This will considerably improve the securities market infrastructure,” Putin announced at the government presidium which approved the amendments.