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    RUSSIAN ENERGY MINISTER FAVORS REFORM OF TAXATION IN OIL INDUSTRY

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    MOSCOW, February 4. /RIA Novosti corespondent/. Russian energy minister Igor Yusufov considers that the oil business should invest in the development of other sectors of the Russian economy.

    The turnover of the Russia oil industry in 2003 exceeded $70 billion, Yusufov told the press in Wednesday. Of them, $24 billion were invested by oil enterprises in their own production and $17 billion - were directed to dividends," he noted. "If they had invested at least half of these $17 billion in other sectors of the economy, we would have been happy and no one would have troubled them", stressed the minister.

    In connection with this, he favored the reform of taxation in the oil industry.

    "Last year, the Russian oil industry worked at a profitability rate of 40%," he noted. In other countries, this index is much lower, he stressed. Say, in Norway, it makes up 18%, in Arab countries - 10% and in Britain - a third.

    "We should strive for world standards ," stressed Yusufov.

    In his opinion, the profitability of the oil industry should be lowered "at least to a third, like in the countries whose economies are comparable to the Russian".

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