Russia To Pass Budget on Friday
Feb. 03, 1999
MOSCOW (AP) _ The lower house of Russia's parliament is likely to pass the government's 1999 budget Friday, a lawmaker on the legislature's budget committee said Wednesday.
President Boris Yeltsin and the State Duma sharply disagree over planned cuts in the staffing and budgets of their respective departments. Still, budget committee chairman Vladimir Tarachyov expressed confidence that the budget would pass.
``The budget will be unconditionally supported this Friday,'' Tarachyov told reporters.
He declined to comment on how the Communist-dominated Duma would react to Yeltsin's threat to veto the budget if the lawmakers pass their proposed cuts for Yeltsin's administration.
Yeltsin wants all branches of the government to cut spending by 12 percent, but the Duma insists on slashing allocations to the president's office by 40 percent and cutting parliamentary expenses by less than 4 percent.
The government is anxious to implement the budget so it can court new foreign loans that are desperately needed to fuel the struggling economy. Lenders have said they will not consider giving more loans until Russia has a feasible budget in place.
First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov said Wednesday that a government memorandum on economic policy necessary to move international aid talks forward could take as much as 10 more days to write, the Interfax news agency reported.
A team of officials from the International Monetary Fund has been in Moscow for two weeks studying the government's economic policies to better assess how the IMF can help Russia.
Russia is seeking $16 billion in two equal installments from the IMF to help it meet its loan repayments and budget spending. It has to pay the IMF $4.5 billion this year as previous loan programs become due.
The Russian government faces an overall loan bill of $17.5 billion in 1999.