22 Apr 2020 09:30

Russian minister sees gradual, not V-shaped recovery from crisis

MOSCOW. April 22 (Interfax) - The Russian economy's recovery after the current drop will be gradual, one should not expect a V-shaped exit from the crisis, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said.

"We are calculating very different scenarios and, indeed, there are many possibilities, all are determined by the pandemic, how the healthcare system manages. It, thank God, is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Nonetheless, we must understand that the exit will not be what's called a rebound. Everyone's saying a V-shaped curve - we fell and everything's back. Unfortunately, no, this will be a gradual recovery. And lockdown measures, like very many experts are now saying, should be lifted gradually. This means that for some time businesses will have to start functioning amid restrictions," Reshetnikov said on the Pravo na Spravedlivost show on Channel One.

Commenting on measures to support individuals and businesses, he said that the government is "absolutely ready" to meet socially obligations and "there were not, are not and will not be any questions here about how to pay pensions, benefits, wages to public sector works and so on."

"It's another matter how to help businesses, what amount of costs in this time when the economy is not working. We've essentially stopped the economy, but expenses can't be stopped; revenues can be stopped, but it's very difficult to stop expenses," Reshetnikov said.

"We've pushed everything back as much as possible, introduced all kinds of deferrals and so on. We've lowered some things, taken away all these inspections, reduced social contributions - a big, systemic, global decision. But still, expenses are generated, as they say," he said.

"So we understand that even the tax deferrals that we've given, we will have to return to them. So we're preparing and developing measures for the economy's exit from the crisis... We, of course, are also preparing a third and a fourth support package. We are now working with sectors already in a targeted manner," Reshetnikov said, commenting on efforts to support businesses.