Jan 27, 2021
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Bakers – Mishustin: “If you distract yourself – the rolls are burning!”

Bakers - Mishustin:

Photo: Kirill Kukhmar / TASS

The authorities expect to keep the prices for bread by sending more than 4.5 billion rubles to the regions. The Prime Minister of Russia has announced this for the umpteenth time within a month and a half. Mikhail Mishustin

“The government will continue to support food industry enterprises. We will direct more than 4.5 billion rubles to the regions in order to prevent price increases due to higher prices for cereals. We expect that these transfers will allow flour producers to compensate part of the cost of purchasing wheat, and bakery enterprises will reduce the cost of selling their products, ”he said at a government meeting on January 21.

According to the Prime Minister, “such a balanced decision will not only help the food industry, but above all, will keep prices down”. And he demanded from the Ministry of Agriculture “to conclude agreements with the regions on the provision of transfers as soon as possible.”

But what does it mean “as quickly as possible”? On December 9, the program “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin“On the TV channel” Russia 1 “it was shown how the head of state scolds the ministers at a meeting on the rise in prices for food, including bread:

“You said to me:“ I hope it will stabilize next week, ”the president said after listening to the speech of the Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikova and heads of the Ministry of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev. – In this case, such a wording does not suit me! Not “I hope”, but tell me that from next week it will be stabilized. Decide within a week! ” – ordered, but in fact – ordered Putin.

And just five days later, on December 14, the head of the Cabinet of Ministers Mikhail Mishustin signed a number of resolutions to stabilize the situation on the food market, including subsidies to support flour and bread producers, indicating the mechanism for distributing these funds.

But it took two more weeks to sign (December 28) the prime minister’s decree on the decision to allocate 4.7 billion rubles to support the millers and bakers. Of these, 2.9 billion rubles for the purchase of food wheat and 1.8 billion rubles for the payment of compensation to bakery enterprises. With a seemingly exhaustive wording: “The funds will go to regional budgets and will help keep prices for bread and bakery products at an acceptable level.”

And now, almost a month and a half have passed since the presidential “Decide within a week!”, And at a meeting on economic issues, the head of state is again dissatisfied with the rise in food prices, and suggests “to return to this topic soon and consider it in detail, taking into account the results of January “.

Meanwhile, millers and bakers cannot find the funds allocated to support them. Last week, the Russian Union of Milling and Groats Enterprises (RSMKP) made an inquiry to a number of enterprises asking for these funds. “We applied to the regions of the Central Federal District and none of the enterprises received this money,” said the vice president of the RSMKP Igor Sviridenko specialized edition “Agroinvestor”. “It was said that the regional agricultural departments are still considering the mechanism.”

Naturally, millers and bakers are also not satisfied with this wording. In such a situation, they, of course, will not give up money. But they believe that a much effective solution to the problem could be the allocation of “grain” subsidies to the poor.

According to the vice-president of the RSMKP, the allocated amount is very small and it is not yet clear on what conditions it will be issued. In his opinion, support is needed not by bakers, but by the end consumer, or rather, socially unprotected segments of the population. “Then this money will come back to us,” he is sure. systemic transformations in the industry. For example, stimulate the creation of new industries, create a more favorable tax environment, improve the investment climate, and continue the process of import substitution started in the industry.

“Since farmers are highly dependent on the exchange rate, a significant part of seeds, chemicals, spare parts for agricultural machinery are imported from abroad. It hits the pocket very hard, ”said the general director of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) Dmitry Rylko.

In order not to depend on any whiff of global financial markets, a consistent government policy is needed, believes President of the Russian-Asian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Vitaly Mankevich:

– State regulation of prices, which has been used in one way or another in Russia since 2008, only leads to the replacement of cheese on the shelves with cheese products, as well as the replacement of liter bottles of milk by 900 ml, and then by 830 ml. Bread price regulation can lead to the reincarnation of “blockade” bread, when only this option will be available to the poorest strata. In peacetime, this is unacceptable, but we are moving towards it.

Let’s look at the reasons for the rise in the price of bread. Raw materials have risen in price on the world market – this is an unpredictable thing, but the rise in dollar prices in Russia was accompanied by a fall in the ruble exchange rate, and this second shock was almost entirely man-made.

Monetary authorities carried out controlled devaluation in the interests of budget execution, while the interests of the population were in the background. As a result, all Russians paid with more expensive bread, sunflower oil and sugar to ensure that our budget was not very deficit, probably, most Russians are pleased to realize their contribution to such an important cause.

Another reason is the rise in gasoline prices. The state has changed the model of state regulation to a damper price, which, in short, boils down to the fact that fuel will now always rise in price, but gradually.

The third reason is the constant increase in taxes, especially VAT. The rise in prices for bread and food is a direct consequence of the government policy and decisions made. We see that despite the policy of “self-isolation” of Russia, any fluctuation in the global financial markets immediately hits the standard of living of pensioners. Reducing taxes, improving the investment environment, increasing domestic value added and developing industry can reduce the spending of retirees on essential products.

In recent years, certain successes have been achieved: the share of Russian-made agricultural machinery has grown from 40 to 60%, but you need to understand that this was partly due to the “screwdriver” assembly of Western or Chinese models – that is, the contribution of Russian added value is not high everywhere, components often imported, and the share of exports in the sales structure of Russian agricultural machinery manufacturers does not exceed 6%.

In order not to depend on any whiff of global financial markets, it is necessary that government policy is consistent, taxes do not increase, the rise in prices for tariffs and gasoline was at the level of Western inflation of 2%, and the share of oil exports did not exceed 30% in the structure of export earnings.

The United States, for example, produces as much oil as Russia, but does not collapse its currency every 3 years by 20% because the United States produces and exports something other than oil, and the share of oil in their economy is not so significant. If we not only collect other people’s equipment, but also develop it ourselves, produce it and sell it all over the world, then we will become less dependent on external conditions, and there will be no need to regulate the prices of bread.

The food industry in Russia has a very large share of imported equipment, noted Alexey Korenev, analyst at FINAM Group:

– The problem of the food industry, as well as of the manufacturing industry in our country in general, is an acute problem. We are too firmly entrenched on the resource needle – the sale of oil, gas, metal. At the same time, Russia even has to import grain, because we produce mainly feed grain, which is not suitable for bread production. We have to add wheat of the 1st, 2nd categories. Plus, we have to add enhancers that we do not produce.

Unfortunately, in the food industry in Russia there is a very large share of imported equipment, which greatly constrains us in this regard. As soon as the ruble exchange rate begins to decline, food industry workers suffer from an increasing currency component. And of course, it is necessary to carry out a large-scale modernization with an emphasis on real import substitution and introduce the latest technologies.

This should be one of the priority programs, because since we were able to quickly restore agriculture, the next step should be the production of agricultural raw materials, competitive and high-quality food products. And this process is stalled, because we have few enterprises for deep processing, and there should be much more of them, and then we will be able to become not just agricultural producers, but also food producers capable of feeding, if not the whole world, then the whole of Europe. that was.

State regulation of prices is extinguishing a social fire, I’m sure Denis Mikhienkov, head of the charitable organization for helping people who find themselves in difficult life situations, ANO Doverie:

– State regulation of prices is the last measure that should be applied in emergency situations, but not in our case. In Russia, price regulation is being introduced in order to reduce social tensions that have arisen as a result of numerous erroneous decisions by the leadership of our country. What is price regulation in this situation? Dust in the eyes, PR move, and nothing more. The increase in VAT, the introduction of the Platon system, the transfer of federal highways into private hands and the introduction of toll travel on them, the introduction of product labeling and much more … These additional fees did not fall on the business – they fell on the shoulders of consumers. The business reduced profitability to a minimum, and, accordingly, included all additional costs in the cost of goods and services.

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