Russia Doesn't Approve Budget
Nov. 21, 1998
MOSCOW (AP) _ The Russian government today failed to approve any of three proposed versions of a draft budget for next year and called for more revisions, including tax reform and foreign debt payments.
The government hopes to complete drafting its 1999 budget by Dec. 1, but it will require more details on the planned tax reform, Economics Minister Andrei Shapovalyants said after a four-hour meeting of key government ministers.
``We have to finalize volumes of (expected) tax collections and set new tax brackets,'' he said.
Russia has been trying to persuade foreign creditors to restructure at least a portion of about $17 billion payments due in 1999.
``Only when we know how much we will have to pay on our external debts (next year), we will be able to set our fiscal policy,'' Shapovalyants said.
The government considered three versions of a budget draft, which put the disparity between revenues and spending at either $9 billion, $16 billion, or $21 billion, according to one senior government official, who spoke Friday on the condition of anonymity.
Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov met today with an International Monetary Fund delegation after the meeting to discuss the country's economic situation, the Interfax news agency said.
First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov said on Friday that Russia will ask the IMF for new terms on repaying the $4.6 billion due to the lending organization next year.
New IMF loans to Russia have been on hold since August. The IMF has insisted it will not release any more money until the government comes up with a comprehensive plan to combat the economic crisis and starts implementing it.