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Russian efforts to double the gross domestic product
Russian efforts to double the gross domestic product base on a natural monopoly reform and foolproof competition policies, German Gref, federal Minister of Economic Development and Trade, said to the media in St. Petersburg, yesterday. "As I see it, reformed natural monopolies and healthy competition come as basic prerequisites of the DGP doubled. We shall never hit the target unless we reform the monopolies and are wise in our competition policies. Healthy competition is the only way to cut lump natural monopoly expenditures," he pointed out. Mr. Gref is sure the reforms will go on and eventually acquire a priority status. A reporter asked him whether this country may double the GDP if the state enhances its role in economic developments. "That's possible, in principle-but I don't think that is the case in Russia," replied the minister. Russia is facing just the contrary task, to remove state presence from the economy-government property holding is inefficient worldwide, and all the more so in Russia, he emphatically remarked. The state must leave whatever economic fields able to bring even small profit. "The state should not make profits. It has a different duty-to create prerequisites for profit making, and that point is to be brought home to everyone." German Gref does not think there is even a slight chance to increase rents in the raw material sector. "I don't see any strategic prospect to raise such rents any seriously-we have reached a ceiling here. There are only long-term prospects, to come up in three years or even later, to differentiate such rents. Present-day fiscal rates are the best, I think. It is essential not to overdo the thing. If we bloat taxes, our losses will outweigh our gains," warned the minister. He dwelt upon another burning problem: "Investment accounts for a far smaller part of Russian petroleum revenues than in the developed countries. That is a problem of the infrastructure and the investment climate, apart from its other aspects," he said with emphasis.
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