Govt. to help companies repurchase their lands - Putin

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"I believe that the state has already sold these companies once, and when they were sold the idea was that they would be sold with the land, and now we are, in essence, making owners pay for their property for a second time," Putin said.

MOSCOW, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin said Monday that the government should find a liberal model to help companies repurchase the land on which they stand.

"I believe that the state has already sold these companies once, and when they were sold the idea was that they would be sold with the land, and now we are, in essence, making owners pay for their property for a second time," Putin said. "We should meet the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs halfway and fix a minimal rate."

The business-friendly association has proposed fixing the land repurchase rate at 2.5% from its cadastre value, while in Moscow and St. Petersburg the rate should be 20%.

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said his ministry had already drafted a law fixing the rate of land repurchase according to the cadastre value. He said in Moscow and St. Petersburg the rate would be 20% and 5% in other cities.

Speaking about the Union's proposal, the minister said, "We discussed this with the government and prime minister and came to the conclusion that 2.5% was also an acceptable solution."

According to Gref, the budget will sustain losses if the rate is lowered, as major companies will take the main burden of the land repurchase instead of using this money to develop production.

Putin said the government should coordinate its decision with the lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma. He said the government should meet the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs halfway because higher rates would leave company owners largely unaffected, but would hit ordinary workers.

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