17 Apr 2020 11:53

Russia's 2020 budget might lose over 1 trln rubles in non-oil, gas revenue - minister

MOSCOW. April 17 (Interfax) - Russia's federal budget might lose over 1 trillion rubles in non-oil and gas revenues in 2020, but there are plans to inject about 2 trillion rubles into the economy from the National Welfare Fund (NWF), Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters.

"The global spread of the coronavirus is having a negative impact on the level of economic activity in virtually all sectors of the economy, not just oil and gas. There are risks of a substantial shortfall in taxes and other non-oil and gas budget revenues. We're talking about amounts in excess of a trillion. We will compensate for this with other sources," Siluanov said.

Speaking about channelling additional resources into financing expenditure obligations, he said that this year the country will use the resources of the NWF. With "current prices for oil [at $20 per barrel], we will direct about 2 trillion rubles into the economy," Siluanov said.

"Channelling additional resources, despite such a massive drop in revenues, is a substantial support for the economy. Thus, budget policy provides a countercyclical push. [...] We have provided support measures for the population and individual sectors and areas of business that are unprecedented in scale. The overall amount of fiscal support can be estimated at more than 6.5% of GDP," Siluanov said.

He also said that the amount of budget allocations for 2020 will be increased by more than 1 trillion rubles compared to the funds factored into the budget law through a consolidated budget allocation statement. "These are unspent funds of previous years," Siluanov said.

He also recalled that the government will allocate more than 500 billion rubles from its reserve fund for the construction of new infectious disease centers, the addition and re-equipment of hospital beds, and the purchase of ambulances, medical equipment, including ventilators and thermal imagers.

The government has also allocated more than 45 billion rubles for payments to health workers who are working directly with Covid-19 patients (80,000 rubles for doctors, 50,000 rubles for mid-level health workers and 25,000 rubles for junior health workers).

About another 80 billion rubles has been allocated for financial support for small and medium businesses hit by the crisis, in the amount of 1 minimum wage per employee to cover current needs, including payment of wages.

The federal budget also plans to provide 70 billion rubles in deferrals on payments or restructuring of budget loans to help the country's regions, and more than 200 billion rubles to help balance regional budgets.