Vladimir Putin to hold video chat with business leaders this week

Russian President plans to have a video conference with the country’s leading business lobby group as executives seek to discuss the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and possible tax increases.

The president will meet members of the bureau of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. The organization unites the biggest companies in the country and their owners.

The business leaders expect that they will have an opportunity to talk about recent tax changes as well as about Russia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, two people from companies whose leaders are due to attend the video conference said. The meeting is tentatively planned for October 21, they said.

Putin usually meets with top executives and tycoons every spring during the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs business week. That event was cancelled this year due to pandemic.

Russia plans to more than triple mineral extraction taxes next year to help to cover the budget gap opened by the pandemic. The tax increase covers most metals and fertilizers. Coal, gold and silver will be excluded from the measure, while the government plans a separate diamond-mining tax linked to the sales price of gems. Taxes and regulations for oil companies are also changing.

Virus infections in Russia have surged in recent weeks, with daily tallies surpassing peak levels reached in the spring. Fallout from the pandemic contributed to a deep slump in the second quarter, though the Russian economy bounced back over the summer after many virus lockdown restrictions were lifted. Industrial production will probably only shrink 4.5% for the full year, while manufacturing will contract 2%, according to Industry Ministry.

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