RICH AND POOR RUSSIANS' INCOME GAP WIDENS - ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY

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MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti) - According to the Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry, the level of incomes between the well-off and worst-off Russians differs more than 15 times and is further deepening.

"In the first quarter of this year, the income-level difference (the ratio between 10 percent of the most and 10 percent of the least well-to-do people) increased, in preliminary estimates, to 15 from 14.5 times in the 2003 first quarter", says the ministerial report, posted on Friday on the official site of the ministry.

In the first quarter of 2004, in preliminary estimates, 10 percent of the most well-to-do Russians accounted for 30 percent of the population's monetary incomes, while 10 percent of the worst-off for only 2 percent, the report says.

The volume of the population's monetary incomes increased, in the 2004 first quarter, by 26.5 percent in comparison with the corresponding period in 2003.

In preliminary information, in the population's monetary-incomes structure (2004 first quarter compared with 2003 January-March) the share of incomes from property increased (6.1 from 4.6 percent) at a lowering share of remuneration for labour (67 from 67.4 percent), social payments (13.1 from 14.4 percent) and the stable share of incomes from entrepreneurial activities (11.5 percent).

In March 2004, the average implicit wage was, in preliminary estimate, 6,571 roubles (1 dollar approximately equals 29 roubles), increasing by 30.4 percent from March 2003.

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