Head of Karelia in the Legislative Assembly of the republic
By 2015 total regional product of Karelia should increase by almost one third (26.5%), incomes of the population – by one fifth (18%), and republican budgeted deficit will reduce up to 5 percent. Such goals are set in the Concept of Social and Economic Development of Karelia approved on February 24 by deputies of the Legislative Assembly of the republic. Head of Karelia Andrei Nelidov has submitted the conctpt for consideration of parliamentarians.
Among the basic spheres Head of the republic has especially pointed out modernization of public health system. Its purpose is to create conditions when every person living in Karelia can receive any necessary medical treatment, even hi-tech, without going to another region.
Sitting of the Legislative Assembly of Karelia
Another major issue is construction of affordable housing. The task is clear: one square meter should cost no more than 35,000 roubles, and total annual volume of housing construction has to be doubled. Simultaneously, there will be introduced a regional mortgage program at no more than 10 percent of interest at primary contribution of 10 percent. Preliminary arrangement with the Savings Bank is already reached. It will allow to increase the number of people able to solve their housing problems. "It would be perfect if we hand over keys of the first apartments within this program by the end of 2012," – Head of Karelia said.
Sweeping changes in the housing-and-municipal sphere will take more time. Both the problem of tariffs, and the problem of continuity of heat and power service can be solved only if the branch switches to natural gas and local fuel. As Andrei Nelidov said, by the order of Vladimir Putin, Gazprom has included Karelia in the program of development. It is supposed that gas comes from Priozersk to Lahdenpohja and from Lodeinoye Pole – to Sortavala. At the same time, switching of boiler-houses to use of wood chips and peat in other regions will proceed. As a result, by 2015 up to a quarter of thermal energy will be generated by enterprises running on local fuel. More than 100 megawatt of electric power a year Karelia plans to receive from small hydropower stations that currently are under construction and reconstruction within the scope of a special republican program.
In timber industry complex Government of Karelia takes a tough stance: in the forest there should be no so-called "lumberers" owning only office accessories and furniture and engaged in reassignment of the forest fund they lease to forest managers possessing both equipment, and workers. On the contrary, effective enterprises will be given the green light and unstinting support. "If the wood is cut at a loss, then better let it grow, – Head of Karelia has emphasized. – It is necessary to develop the woodcutting area with benefit for the republic."
Among priorities there is transport infrastructure development, first of all, air transportation. Air communications with Moscow has been already renewed. Further, it is expected to introduce flights from Petrozavodsk to Helsinki and local flights to Kostomuksha and Pudozh. The federal center will help to reconstruct the airport of the Karelian capital that will take about 2 years.
Besides, among priorities of development there are tourism, mining, and investment projects. At this Andrei Nelidov has emphasized, that investments should be 'qualitative'. In other words, it is not necessary to open short-lived enterprises running out-of-date equipment. We need such projects as a factory producing oriented strand boards (the second in Russia) or a factory processing fresh berries (the first in Russia), furniture factory of Swedwood Finnish-Swedish concern.
As a whole, by 2015 investment into a fixed capital should grow half as much, there will be created more than 7,000 jobsites, including about 3,000 of them as a result of implementation of complex investment plans for development of single-industry towns.
As Andrei Nelidov said, all expected parameters are based more on pessimistic, conservative forecast of Karelia's development. "We would not like to make mistakes and seem that we look on the bright side of everything," – Andrei Nelidov has explained. However, under condition of harmonious work of all levels of the authority, parameters can be improved. "What we have is not enough for cardinal improvement of people's life, – Head of Karelia said addressing to the deputies. – We'd like to have more. However, I will not be able to do anything alone. With the government we'll make it half-way, together with you we'll make it all, so get involved in this work."
Members of the parliament have responded to the appeal of the Head of the region and have agreed to share responsibility for implementation of the Concept, having supported it both in their speeches, and by voting with no votes against and 38 for it.