PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev, who is a member of the Bureau of the Management Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), took part in the first meeting of the RUIE Coordination Council on combating coronavirus (the “Council”).
The Council includes members of the RUIE Bureau and the Bureau of the RUIE Management Board, as well as the heads of Gazprom Neft, Alrosa, Rosmedprom, Sibur, Russian Railways, TMK and others. At the meeting, members discussed a plan for both top-priority and long-term measures to counter the spread of COVID-19.
The President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and the Chairman of the Council, Aleksandr Shokhin, stressed that the RUIE would work closely with the Coordinating Council in the Fight against Coronavirus, headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and with the Working Group of the State Council for Combating Coronavirus, led by Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin.
“Our short-term goal is to stop the spread of coronavirus and to introduce a testing system; our long-term goal is to create a vaccine and develop effective methods to treat infection. Under any scenario, the business community must play a role in preventing the spread of the virus,” said Mr Shokhin, noting that it would be necessary to use innovative medical and pharmaceutical technologies and draw on the experience of both domestic and foreign companies and organisations in order to achieve these goals.
Commenting on the results of the Council meeting, its co-chair on behalf of major industries, PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev, who is also a member of the Bureau of the RUIE Management Board and President of the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association, noted the importance of creating an RUIE Coordinating Council involving major strategically important companies, whose actions will have an impact on the social and economic stability of various regions of Russia and the country as a whole.
“Our shared priority in this challenging epidemiological situation is to protect the health of workers and to ensure the stable operation of companies, as well as transport and energy infrastructure.
“A key factor in the sustainable operation of any business is the preservation of all links in established supply chains. To achieve this goal, it is important to exchange best practices within the Council in terms of disease prevention, remote working and the epidemiological safety of employees in the workplace.
“Special attention should be paid to ensuring the energy security of production facilities and, first and foremost, of all medical and healthcare facilities. The public and employees need to be informed in full and as quickly as possible about the preventive measures being taken in order to coordinate efforts both among members of the RUIE and with the authorities.
“It is important that leading Russian companies that are members of global associations cooperate in maintaining global supply chains and exchange best practices in terms of prevention through international platforms such as the World Economic Forum. UN platforms, in particular the WHO, are being widely used. Members of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs have access to international expertise and response protocols in the face of epidemics, primarily the successful experience of China, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong, which will enable us to use best practices in terms of epidemic response measures in Russia.
“Cooperation with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) as a whole is one of the key areas of the Council’s work. The first outcome of this cooperation will be the rapid launch of pilot coronavirus testing for all employees of RUIE member companies, testing that was developed with the support of the RDIF. The next stage will be to test as much of the population as possible, which, as international experience has shown, is a key factor in preventing the spread of the virus.
“At the same time, we intend to go further and, as part of our efforts to fight the pandemic, to develop, under the auspices of the RUIE, new forms of long-term interaction between the RDIF and big business, first of all in terms of support from big business and the RDIF for fundamental and applied medical and health research.
“In overcoming this crisis, we must develop tools that will protect society against a recurrence. We need to create a system that can quickly develop safe and effective vaccines and antiviral drugs, get their approval and produce millions of doses within a few months after a pathogen is discovered. A major issue is the streamlining of regulatory policy, which will allow us to quickly adapt foreign experience and facilitate the import of drugs and medical technologies.
“This is a difficult challenge; overcoming it will require close cooperation between big business and the state. And we are prepared for this cooperation,” stressed Mr Guryev.