ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM: A LOT REMAINS TO BE DONE

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MOSCOW, November 3 (RIA Novosti) - The federal targeted program, Administrative Reform, will be submitted to the government before December 5, Andrei Sharov, head of the department for state economic regulation, said Wednesday.

"We expect that the government will consider and approve the program before the end of the year, and that it will begin to be implemented from 2005," said Mr. Sharov.

The program is designed for 2005-2010, he specified.

According to Mr. Sharov, the goals of the program, among other things, include raising the quality and improving access to state and municipal services. The most popular and essential services will be provided with quality standards, he noted. These services include passport provision, registration of immovable property rights and cars, provision of various benefits, social aid, etc.

Other goals of the program are to reduce government participation in the economy. "According to expert estimates, the administrative burden for business today amounts to 10% of the earning," he said. "Our goal is to reduce this burden at least by about 67%."

According to Mr. Sharov, the program also envisages such goals as increasing public confidence in the state and reducing corruption.

At the same time, Mikhail Dmitriyev, senior researcher at the Center for Strategic Studies, believes the administrative reform in Russia has been implemented by merely 10-15%.

"Only a small part of practical measures has been put into effect, and it mainly relates to changes in the structure and functions of state executive bodies," Mr. Dmitriyev said at a seminar of the Center, devoted to the prospects of the administrative reform.

Only measures to form the three-level structure of the government are being implemented or have already been implemented so far, he stated.

In particular, he argues that the reform has not yet reached the level of constituent federation members and municipal authorities.

"When 85-90% of measures are not realized, this three-level structure [the government] will clearly not function properly either," stressed Mr. Dmitriyev.

In his words, after the government reform, the government's main problem is its inability to implement adopted decisions. As an example, Mr. Dmitriyev cited the law on technical regulations that was adopted nearly two years ago but none of the regulations has so far been put into life.

"The paralysis of the executive power and its inability to implement adopted decisions has acquired enormous dimensions," the expert believes.

In this connection, he stated the need for further steps to implement the administrative reform, in particular, as regards the development of a relevant federal targeted program.

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