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    RUSSIA TO RAISE OIL AND GAS TAXES, BLUEPRINTS TO REACH CABINET WITHIN WEEK

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    MOSCOW, February 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade intends to offer to the federal Cabinet its calculations within this week to increase petroleum and gas taxation, minister Hermann Gref said to the media in Moscow, late this afternoon.

    Petroleum fiscal revenues will not increase more than two or three billion US dollars, he said. The practical patterns of increasing taxation stay under debate-in particular, whether to differentiate the mining tax or not.

    Petroleum export duties will also go up if prices exceed $25 a barrel.

    Disputes are underway on other taxes, as well. Thus, the government is debating administrative measures to reduce value-added taxation and the unified social tax, said Mr. Gref.

    The Cabinet intends to analyse the fiscal package, February 26. However, Andrei Loginov, governmental envoy plenipotentiary to the State Duma, parliament's lower house, does not rule out the matter put off as related bills will reach the government later than previously scheduled, as he announced today.

    Though the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and the Ministry of Finance had both intended to offer their blueprints before Thursday, February 12, the latter's spokesman warned yesterday that his ministry would not be ready with its calculations before February 18.

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