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    BILL ON OIL INDUSTRY TAXATION TO BE SUBMITTED IN MARCH

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    ZURICH (Switzerland), February 1, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Yekaterina Andrianova) - A bill on increasing taxation of the Russian oil sector can be submitted for the consideration of the State Duma (Lower House of Parliament) in March 2004, said on Sunday Russian First Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov, who took part in the Russian Economic and Financial Forum in Zurich.

    The additional taxation of the Russian oil industry will amount approximately by 1 - 1.5 billion dollars. In case the State Duma approves of the bill, it will come into force on January 1, 2005.

    The question of the taxation of the oil sector will be discussed on February 26 at the session of the Russian government, said the Deputy Finance Minister.

    In his opinion, only in 2003 the tax burden on the Russian oil industry dropped by 12-13 percent as a result of the rouble strengthening against dollar. For this reason, the Russian Finance Ministry proposes to make technical amendments to the tax rates.

    "We can preserve the existing formula when taxation is bound to oil prices, but then we must correct the coefficient of the correlation of the currencies," noted Shatalov.

    As to the oil export customs, it can rise already this year, added the Deputy Minister. However, he underscored that the export customs duties could be increased only in case of high oil prices on the world market.

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