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  Saturday, October 19, 2019
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Russia is to double its gross domestic product within ten years
If Russia is to double its gross domestic product within ten years, next year's federal budget, the way it has been drafted, will undermine the efforts, Sergei Stepashin, Auditing Chamber president, said to the budget committee of the State Duma, parliament's lower house. The draft leaves much to be desired, found an expert team of the Auditing Chamber, top federal inspecting body. First, economic growth rates earmarked in the draft will not allow to duly build up the GDP. Second, whatever growth rates the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade may be forecasting for the population's real monetary incomes, the government-proposed financial policies will not help to diminish the income scissors between the haves and the have-nots. The task demands practical efforts to improve the living standards of the most vulnerable population groups, stressed Mr. Stepashin. Last but not least, the draft is much less transparent and open to control from the outside than the federal budgets of the previous years. That point specially concerns military expenditures, Mr. Stepashin emphatically added. Despite all that, the budget and taxation committee called the Duma to approve the draft in its initial reading. As the committee says in a related statement, the draft has many pioneer aspects as Russia is introducing a new budgetary classification, changing interbudgetary relations, and reforming social welfare. Next year's social and economic forecasts are earmarking the GDP increasing by an annual 6.1-6.3 per cent in 2005-06. Here, the committee agrees with Sergei Stepashin-that is not enough to double the gross domestic product by 2010, as President Vladimir Putin called the nation. If Russia is to hit the target, it is to boost its economy by an annual 10 per cent or more, starting in 2007. The Duma is expected to debate the budget draft, September 29.
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