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    ECONOMICS MINISTER FINDS LICENSING ARRANGEMENTS INEFFECTIVE

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    MOSCOW, February 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - When speaking at the Plekhanov Economic Academy on Wednesday, Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Russia's licensing arrangements were ineffective.

    "It is time to drop outdated and irrelevant tools of state regulation," said Mr Gref.

    He said the construction industry was a vivid example of the inefficiency of the Russian licensing system. "Entities dealing in this industry have to obtain more licenses and permits of all sorts than those dealing in other spheres. Today we are facing the result," Mr Gref said meaning the weekend tragedy in Moscow's aqua park. The massive glass roof of the park caved in killing at least 26 and injuring more than 100 people.

    Mr Gref warned the state construction committee, Gosstroi, against increasing the required number of licenses after the accident.

    The minister believes the approach to state regulation should be changed. He suggested sticking to "the presumption of no state regulation in the economy." The market players themselves must determine in which spheres state regulation must be applied, added Mr Gref.

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