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    RUSSIA'S SMALL BUSINESS NEEDS 1 TRILLION RUBLES IN LOANS

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    MOSCOW, March 10, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's small businesses need nearly a trillion rubles of financial resources, Yevgeny Primakov, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said at a 5th conference of representatives of Russia's small business community on Wednesday.

    "Small business needs 230 to 580 billion rubles in loans, or up to a trillion rubles considering emerging business entities," said Mr Primakov. ($1 equals 28.57 rubles).

    However, as little as 2% of small enterprises resort to external sources of funds, according to Mr Primakov.

    He said the Chamber was eager to help settle the problem of financing small business. The World Bank and the Chamber worked out a project, envisaging $300 million in loans for Russian small enterprises. Lax credits under the project will be granted for five years.

    "The Russian government has included the project into the list of international projects for the period from 2005 to 2006," said Mr Primakov. He expects Russia's major banks, like the Savings Bank and Vneshtorgbank, to step up crediting small businesses in the near future.

    However, loan rates for small enterprises remain a big problem, noted Mr Primakov.

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