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    PRESIDENT DEMANDS TO STOP SQUANDERING NATIONAL RESOURCES

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    MOSCOW, February 12, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged an end to squandering national natural resources and demanded to streamline the use of nature arrangements.

    As addressing his confidants on Thursday, President Putin said it must be done through amended water and forestry codes and laws on the use of mineral resources.

    "What we need are transparent terms of access to mineral resources and a fair charge for using them," he said.

    The president said the current tenders, at which the right connections to authorities were instrumental for obtaining a contract, must be replaced by auctions.

    "The permissive-administrative system must be replaced by appropriate civil agreements, which would stipulate the rights and duties of the state and business," said the president.

    President Putin also noted the importance of carrying through the modernisation of rail transport, power grids and the utilities sector.

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