Russian Cabinet promises to approve 2006 draft budget in mid-August

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NIZHNY NOVGOROD, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Cabinet is going to approve the 2006 draft budget at its August 18 session, to submit it for consideration to the State Duma, or parliament's lower house, on August 26, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Friday.

He revealed the timeframe for the draft budget's approval at a meeting with the presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District and his staff.

Kudrin said the Cabinet had now adopted a new budget scheme, with the key figures projected for the three years ahead rather than just a year. It will try to meet all of its three-year targets, with cutting inflation being the top priority, the minister said.

In the next three years, about $2.5 billion in budgetary funds is to be allocated annually for investment in infrastructure facilities that could be used by private businesses, Kudrin said. He added that this figure might be increased if early debt settlement brings some extra money into Russia's treasury coffers.

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