“We have a crisis”
It is time to tell the truth – we have a crisis, new Murmansk Governor Marina Kovtun said in her speech to the regional parliament. New investment policies and a diversification of the economy are among her prescribed medicines.
“We are entering a period of tense joint work on providing the population with welfare and a decent level of life”, the governor told the members of the legislative assembly. “It will be tense, because the magnitude of the problems can be called nothing but a crisis”, she added.
Kovtun listed a number of negative economic trends, among them a decline in industrial production and a stagnating gross regional product. She also expressed serious concern with a stagnating salary level in the region, which threatens to reduce the region’s competitiveness.
As outlined in the Barents Monitoring report for the region, also consumer growth in the region is dropping.
Critic of Dmitriyenko
The speech included serious criticism of Kovtun’s predecessor Dmitry Dmitriyenko, who had been in office since 2009 when he was dismissed in April this year. Kovtun said the “grand statements and populism” which had been included in regional plans for the year 2011 had created “false expectations” and spurred disappointment and disconfidence among the population to the authorities.
“Now, finally, it is time we learn to tell the truth, it is time to stop building castles in the sky”, Kovtun stressed.
The governor underlined that her priorities for the economic policies now will focus on improving the region’s investment climate with the introduction of a new “investment standard”. She also said that new measures would be taken to stimulate enhanced economic diversification and the creation of new areas of growth. In addition, several new territorial clusters will be established, among them within the fields of mining and metallurgy, transportation and logistics, petroleum, fisheries and tourism.