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MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday real incomes in Russia would fall around 3% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and he vowed separately to reduce poverty by the end of the decade.
For years, Putin has promised to raise real disposable incomes, one of Russia’s most socially sensitive issues. Yet the pandemic coupled with low oil prices saw incomes fall 8.4% in the second quarter, year-on-year, in what became the deepest quarterly decline since 1999.
Addressing his annual press conference, Putin said a fall in the income of private businesses was behind an expected overall contraction in real disposable incomes this year by around 3%.
As a result of the economic fallout from the pandemic, the poverty rate in Russia has increased to 13.5%, Putin added, comprising around 20 million people.
“The plan is the following - to move away from 13.5% to 6.5% by 2030. (It) is bad that 6.5% will remain, but we should be realists,” he said.
Right after his re-election to the fourth presidential term in 2018, Putin pledged to increase real disposable incomes by 2.4% and lower the poverty rate to 6.5-6.6% by 2024.
These goals, known as national projects and covering 13 sectors from healthcare to infrastructure, were postponed by six years to 2030 earlier this year in what officials said was a response to the pandemic.
Putin also said Russian banks were on course to making 1.3 trillion roubles ($18 billion) in profit this year. ($1 = 72.7650 roubles) (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh, Vladimir Soldatkin and Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Alexander Marrow/Katya Golubkova; Editing by Mark Heinrich)