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Putin orders to mitigate socioeconomic losses from coronavirus

Promises to support the economy and citizens in the context of the spread of the coronavirus should not remain abstract, the president stated

NOVO-OGARYOVO, April 23. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted the need to mitigate inevitable socioeconomic losses that may be brought by the novel coronavirus.

"The coronavirus epidemic, challenging the whole world, threatens the lives and health of people first and foremost, but it also impacts the economy, and the condition of entire industries, which is no less dangerous," the head of state said on Thursday. "Our common crucial task is to mitigate such adverse effects and reduce inevitable socioeconomic losses," Putin emphasized.

This is exactly why authorities made a whole range of decisions to support Russian families, employment and households’ revenues, sole entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises and systemic companies along with steps of disease prevention and buildup of healthcare capabilities, the president informed. "An important role in implementing many such steps belongs to the banking community," Putin added.

Meanwhile promises to support the economy and citizens in the context of the spread of the coronavirus should not remain abstract, the president stated at a meeting on bank lending. "Nobody needs abstract promises that don’t affect people's lives, and the effect of such decisions and allocated resources will be low," President Putin said, asking the government and the Central Bank to promptly make the necessary changes to the regulatory framework.

He noted that so far there are obvious problems and difficulties with the implementation of support measures, "when citizens cannot get credit holidays, and entrepreneurs — soft loans." "It’s not enough to announce that decisions have been made, dear colleagues. We need to work through all the stages of their implementation so that the help arrives on time so that those who really need it can take advantage of it," Putin underscored.

The president called on banks to ensure stability of the banking system and to prevent a critical accumulation of "bad debts." 

"Of course, it is necessary to ensure the stability of the banking system itself, we must not allow the critical accumulation of the so-called bad debts, disruptions and malfunctions in banks operation," the president ordered.

Putin recalled that in order to reduce the banking sector’s risks on lending, the authorities had already envisaged a number of instruments, in particular guarantees of the Finance Ministry and VEB.RF on soft loans and other banking products.

"I am asking the government, the Central Bank, the banking community as a whole to think about what else can be done to ensure the reliability of the loan portfolio, without increasing the burden on borrowers," the president addressed the meeting.