19 Mar 2020 13:56

Coronavirus pandemic impact more serious for Russia's economy than oil-price collapse - Siluanov

MOSCOW. March 19 (Interfax) - The coronavirus pandemic's impact on Russia's economy could be far more serious than the collapse in oil prices, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters.

"Two factors right now are at play: a decrease in oil prices and the consequences of the so-called coronavirus infection. The second factor, I believe, is even more serious for our economy, as it directly affects entire industries," Siluanov said.

"I believe that those measures that have been determined by the government, those resources that we have assembled in the budget, this is the NWF, these are the 300 billion rubles the plan talks about, will allow us to react promptly to the developing situation and help the businesses, people, federal subjects, and of course enterprises in need. So, the situation is not an easy one, we can all see this, but the government has a plan in place in accordance with which we will operate," the minister said.

Support for the industries that are suffering first and foremost (aviation, tourism, small and mid-sized business, and other sectors) is among the measures being adopted by the cabinet of ministers as part of the plan to react to the current developing situation, he said.

Tax payment [relief], subsidized rates, a reduction in administrative burdens, and direct financial aid are also being talked about, the minister said.

"Furthermore, we have made a decision in concert with the Central Bank on joint measures to reduce the burden on our taxpayer enterprises," Siluanov said.