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Russian State Duma to consider draft federal budget in second reading

November 16, 2012, 3:26 UTC+3
While the document was elaborated, the Duma budget and taxes committee held several meetings
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MOSCOW, November 16 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian State Duma lower parliament house on Friday will hold the second reading of the draft federal budget for 2013 and for a longer period of 2014 and 2015.

It looks like the draft budget will be passed smoothly, since the factions of the ruling United Russia party and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) have enough votes. Despite active participation in debates of amendments to the draft budget, the factions of the Communist Party (CPRF) and the A Just Russia party are unlikely to change their positions and it seems improbable that they vote for the budget.

While the document was elaborated, the Duma budget and taxes committee held several meetings. Apart from that the mediation commission invited top official from the Russian Ministry of Finance to settle difference over amendments to the draft budget. Almost all issues where the government and lawmakers had different opinions were settled, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said then. “We think we have worked good to have the budget 2013-2015 passed in the second reading,” he said. Duma’s first deputy speaker Alexander Zhukov confirmed that solutions to practically all disputable problems had been found.

As a result, the Duma budgetary committee recommended to adopt as many as 163 amendments, while 205 amendments were turned down. According to Zhukov, the tasks set in the first reading have been solved. Thus, in his words, budgetary allocations to subsidies to public organizations of disabled persons and other non-profit associations have been increased by 135 million roubles. Allocations for subsidies to non-profit organizations [except subsidies to state and municipal establishments] on projects in the sphere of culture have been fixed at 857.3 million roubles.

A total of 1.7 billion roubles will be allocated to subsidies to regions to buy equipment for quick-to-built sports and health improvement facilities. A total of 300 million roubles will be allocated to build swimming pools at higher education establishments of the Russian Ministry of Health, and one billion roubles – to built swimming pools at higher education establishments of the Russian Ministry of Education. Apart from that, allocations to develop and launch the system of legal statistics of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office have been increased by 1.2 billion roubles.

Eight billion roubles will be allocated to state loans on comprehensive programs of support of pre-school educational establishments in Russian regions.

The draft distributes five billion roubles of state support to some economic sectors after Russia’s accession of the World Trade Organization (WTO). A total of 675 million roubles are planned to be allocated to organizations of the light and textiles industries, 800 million roubles – to companies of the timber sector, and 200 million – to fisheries. One billion roubles will come to support the production of composite materials, and another billion – to support the production of rare earth metals. As many as 825 million roubles will go to support hi tech exports, 300 million roubles – to support farmers, and 200 million roubles – to support research works in the fishing sector.

The Duma’s budgetary committee recommended the Russian government to look at allocating extra budgetary funds in such areas, as expanding the network of Russian centres of science and culture abroad, to finance the activities of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), financial aid to regions to provide housing to orphan children, to finance the activities of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, to mark the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage Museum, to commission the second stage of the State Mariinsky Theatre, and to the Khakassian national local lore museum. In case some funds are saved during the 2013 budget execution, the committee recommended to increase allocations to social development of rural areas and technological basis of the agrarian sector.

The forecasted federal budgetary revenues in 2013 are fixed at 12,865.9 billion roubles, budgetary spending – at 13,387.3 billion roubles, thus, the budget deficit is set at 521.4 billion roubles. In 2014, these indices will be 14,063.4 billion roubles, 14,207 billiob roubles, and 143.6 billion roubles, respectively; and in 2015 – 15,615.5 billion roubles, 15,626 billion roubles, and 10.8 billiob roubles.

The federal budget for 2013 is based on a forecasted GDP of 66.515 trillion roubles, inflation rates of 5.5 percent, and the rouble exchange rate against the U.S. dollar of 32.4 roubles per one U.S. dollar. The figures for 2014 are as follows: GDP of 73.993 trillion roubles, inflations rate of five percent, the rouble exchange rate of 33 roubles per U.S dollar. The figures for 2015 are: GDP of 82.937 trillion roubles, inflations rate of five percent, the rouble exchange rate of 33.7 roubles per U.S dollar.

For the first time, the draft budget was elaborated not on the forecasted oil price but a basic oil price calculated under the budgetary rule for several years. Macroeconomic forecasts for 2013, 2014 and 2015 are based on an oil price of 97, 101, and 104 U.S. dollars per barrel, respectively. Under the budgetary rule, oil prices are fixed at 91, 92 and 93 U.S. dollars per barrel, respectively. The budgetary rule makes it possible to reduce budgetary risks and its dependence on oil and gas prices.

The Reserve Fund is fixed at 3,173.8 billion roubles in 2013; 3,882.3 billion roubles in 2014; 4,722.7 billion roubles in 2015. The National Welfare Fund is fixed at 2,769.8 billion roubles in 2013; 2,843.2 billion roubles in 2014, and 2,847.7 billion roubles in 2015.

The upper limit of the state domestic debt is set at 6.6 trillion rubles as of January 1, 2014; 7.59 trillion rubles as of January 1, 2015, and 8.3 trillion roubles as of January 1, 2016. The upper limit of the state external debt is set at 66.2 billion U.S. dollars or 53 billion euro as of January 1, 2014; 75.8 billion U.S. dollars or 60.6 billion euro as of January 1, 2015, and 83.8 billion U.S. dollars or 67 billion euro as of January 1, 2016. The state will be authorized to make foreign debts not exceeding seven billion U.S. dollars though issuing and placing in 2013 external bonds.

The third and final reading of the draft budget is scheduled for November 23.

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