PUTIN: WITH ITS CURRENT ECONOMIC GROWTH RATES, RUSSIA CAN DOUBLE GDP ALREADY BY 2010

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MOSCOW, May 26 (RIA Novosti) - With the current economic growth rates, the gross domestic product can be doubled already by 2010, Vladimir Putin said in his state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly.

"If we keep economic growth at the level of the first quarter of this year, we could double the gross domestic product by 2010 rather than in ten years," the President said.

This statement was met with applause in the hall.

"The government members are also applauding at that. This means that they agree with this statement," the head of state noted.

Last year economic growth equaled 7.3% and in the first four months of this year the respective figure is 8%," the head of state said.

Vladimir Putin also believes that the government is able to bring inflation down to 3% per annum in Russia.

"I believe that the government can achieve the inflation figure of 3% per annum," the head of state said in his state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly.

After that, Vladimir Putin believes, the ruble's full convertibility can be achieved within two years.

According to him, the efforts of the government and business must be aimed at raising the level of employment of the population. Vladimir Putin also noted that it was necessary to use selective social support measures.

In the President's opinion, today there are all grounds for the long-term solution of social problems and the fight against poverty. "Today about 30 million citizens have incomes below the subsistence level. This is a large figure. These are mostly able-bodied people," the President said.

At the same time, the Russian President noted that real incomes of the population have increased by 50% in the past four years while the number of people with incomes below the subsistence level has dropped by one-third.

Speaking about social problems, Vladimir Putin also stressed the need to stimulate the work of citizens over their future pension provision.

The President of Russia noted that "the government has raised on many occasions the issue of the need to reduce the uniform social tax." "We must bring a considerable part of wages out of the shadow, protect the social rights of employees, stimulate the work of citizens over their future pension provision and reduce the burden on business," the President of Russia said.

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