ROSTOV-ON-DON, November 21 (Itar-Tass) —— President Dmitry Medvedev promised that the programme of relocation of people from dilapidated housing would be completed.
“The authorities must bring this programme to a logical end,” Medvedev said at a meeting with mass media in the Southern and North Caucasian Federal Districts on Monday, November 21.
“Much has been done lately, but there is a lot of dilapidated housing. However we can do it,” the president said.
In his opinion, the resolution of this problem will be helped by further operation of the Housing and Utilities Reform Fund, which was supposed to cease to exist in 2013. Now its operation has been extended until 2015.
The Russian government will provide an additional 20 billion roubles for the Housing and Utilities Reform Fund this autumn, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier.
Putin said it would take some 10 trillion roubles to repair housing and upgrade the housing and utilities sector.
“According to preliminary estimates, it will cost more than 3.5 trillion roubles to repair existing housing and more than 6 trillion to repair all infrastructure,” he said.
“Everything related to the housing and utilities sector reform aims to create the best possible conditions for this work” and to ensure that “the money, and this is very big money, that is pumped into this sector does not disappear without a trace but works effectively, it is necessary to understand where it has been invested, who spends it and how, and how much a certain service costs”.
Putin stressed that infrastructure should be upgraded within ten years. “It must be put in shape and turned from a permanent headache into an efficient industry,” he said, adding, “The main source [of funding] for modernisation of the housing and utilities sector should be private investments.”
He warned against shifting the cost of reform to the population. “The problem must not be solved by raising tariffs sharply. The set rate of 15 percent should be kept this year and subsequently reduced to the rate of inflation,” the prime minister said.
The Housing and Utility Reform Fund plans to disburse 20 billion roubles to regions to this end in 2011.
Sixty-five regions joined the programme in 2008. The Fund provided 30 billion roubles to them for their housing needs to improve the living conditions of more than 20 million people and provide tends of thousands of families with new flats.
Over two million people in Russia had improved their living conditions in 2008.
In 2009, 81 of Russia's 83 regions received financing from the fund, which helped almost 11 million people improve their living conditions.
Over 55,000 apartment blocks with a total area of 141 million square metres were repaired in 2009 using financing from the fund.
The fund was created to finance housing repairs and to provide the residents of dilapidated buildings with new housing.
The implementation of projects financed out of the Housing and Utility Reform Fund continued in 2010, with overall financing reaching 65 billion roubles.
Together with the funds provided by regions, overall financing amounted to about 80 billion roubles.
The government will “come much closer to achieving the goal of providing all people living in dilapidated houses with new flats as announced in the main guidelines for the government up to 2012,” Putin said.
“The intensification of the work to provide people living in dilapidated houses with new flats and to repair houses has necessitated the creation of a more than a million new jobs in the construction and related sectors,” he said.
“This is a significant anti-crisis measure aimed at fighting unemployment,” the prime minister said.
The Russian government has mapped out a set of measures aimed at improving the economic situation in the housing and utility sector, Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said earlier.
“The housing and utility sector makes up one-fourth of the national economy - 26 percent,” the minister said. “This is the biggest sector and the most unreformed one. Its overhauling is extremely important for both the citizens and the economy of our country.”
Several decisions have been made over the past several years in order to introduce new forms of business in this sector. As a result, the number of loss-making enterprises in the housing and utility sector has decreased dramatically.
Kozak said the Housing and Utilities Reform Fund's budget had exceeded 240 billion roubles. This money will go to regions according to their requests within four years.