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Alexei Kudrin believes Russian financial policy became weaker in 2004
Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin believes Russian financial policy became weaker in 2004. Addressing a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mr. Kudrin said monetary inflation was over 7.7% last year, which prompted adopting a more effective credit and monetary policy. "The conclusion that can be drawn [from the report prepared by the Economic Development and Trade Ministry] is that we pursued a weaker financial policy in 2004," said the minister. He added that a gap between budgetary revenues and spending, which amounted to 1% of GDP, testified to that and had told upon inflation. Mr. Kudrin said base inflation could be reduced in 2005 and the planned consumer prices growth parameters could be achieved as the government got additional tools for pursuing its credit and monetary policy last year, i.e. extraction tax and oil export tax. Mr. Kudrin believes it necessary to enhance the banking sector's reliability and thereby curb inflation. Alexei Kudrin also said tax administration had to be improved. He said an action plan had been prepared, which would alleviate tensions and improve Russia's investment climate. Mr. Kudrin warned against repressive measures against taxpayers. Mr. Kudrin's warning came when the ministers discussed the order of the Federal Tax Service and the Federal Customs Service to increase 1.5-2-fold the budget's receipts from tax and customs duties. "This instruction needs to be clearly and delicately formulated as it can lead to repressive measures against taxpayers," said the Finance Minister. "We are not talking about any repressive measures," protested Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. The premier noted the importance of ensuring tax payment and its transparency.
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