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Russian finance minister considers it necessary to "skim cream" from oil industry

October 02, 2015, 11:03 UTC+3 SOCHI

In response, the Sberbank CEO German Gref suggested "not to shear the wool" from oil industry companies

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© Yegor Aleyev/TASS

SOCHI, October 2. /TASS/. The Russian Finance Ministry considers it necessary to "skim the cream" from the oil industry through higher taxes, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Friday at the International Investment Forum in Sochi 2015.

"We are talking about the oil industry, imposing additional taxes. We are just skimming the cream, which they [companies - TASS] received through the changes in the ruble exchange rate. In the government we are considering an absolutely right proposition for an additional redistribution of a margin in the economy," he said.

According to Siluanov, in overcoming "the Dutch disease" commodity exporters in Russia "should have different advantages from the recent years." He also noted the need to reduce the share of public sector in the economy.

"Dutch disease" is the negative impact on an economy of anything that gives rise to a sharp inflow of foreign currency. The currency inflows lead to currency appreciation, making the country's other products less price competitive on the export market.

In response, the Sberbank CEO German Gref suggested "not to shear the wool" from oil industry companies. According to him, it is necessary to preserve the source for the domestic investment and upgrading the fuel and energy complex.

"Oil industry is what feeds us all, so it is necessary to take care of it, and yet try imposing taxes very "carefully". God forbid, it doesn’t sustain," Gref said.

Sberbank CEO added that the oil and gas industry is one of the few points of growth and opportunities for the diversification of the Russian economy. "In my opinion we do not have a lot of growth points, where we could diversify our economy. Oil and gas industry are serious points of growth that allow us to diversify the economy. And we should help oil companies, and "not to shear the last wool", and maybe even push them into the petrochemistry and chemical utilization of natural gas, processing," Gref said.

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