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    STABILIZATION FUND TO ACCUMULATE 420 BILLION RUBLES BY END OF 2005

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    MOSCOW, March 19, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - The stabilization fund will be 420 billion rubles in 2005, said Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin.

    On Friday at the joint session of the boards of the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Mr. Kudrin said that by the end of 2004 the stabilization fund would accumulate 280 billion rubles.

    "At the beginning of the year, the stabilization fund amounted to 106.3 billion rubles," the minister said.

    The draft concept of the stabilization fund was discussed in February at Alexei Kudrin's conference. The draft concept envisages that the stabilization fund will be formed from the additional money received from the favorable economic situation during the Russian economy's most successful years, and not only from high energy prices. In this regard, a proposal to form a stabilization fund from export duties of oil and petroleum products (taking into consideration that when the world oil prices are low, the export duty is not collected) and from taxes on the production of minerals (when the price of oil is higher than the rated price for the expenditure part of the budget, in 2003 - $18.5 per barrel of the Urals crude) was put forward. The third source for the stabilization fund will be the balance of the surplus after the execution of all expenditures of the budget, including interest payments from debt and payments of the main part of the debt at the expense of the surplus, i.e., under the median annual oil price which is higher than that which was used for calculating the revenues in 2003 ($23.5 per barrel). This mechanism, said Mr. Kudrin, will make it possible to ensure the maximum stability of the budgetary and monetary credit policy both in more favorable and in less favorable years for the Russian economy.

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