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    MOSCOW, March 10, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has admitted that the reforms might have to be adjusted.

    "There may be imperfections but we will correct them - the very idea justifies the need for some amendments," Mr. Fradkov said at his first press conference as prime minister.

    Mr. Fradkov explained that according to the reform, ministries are to be stripped of excessive functions to have their hands free for tackling new tasks.

    "There must be just enough ministries to emphasize the work in major areas and exactly enough to organize joint work at the level of the Russian government to have a program that is clearly formulated, politically substantiated and implemented by all structures. This will be the essence of the administrative reform," said the prime minister.

    The key issue in this reform is to urge ministers and ministries to give up excessive functions and address their specific tasks, said Mr. Fradkov.

    The functions of the second and third levels of administration should be passed over to federal agencies and services. Mr. Fradkov noted that the number of agencies and services overlaps the previous number of departments. "This is enough to ensure practical law-enforcement, state property management and provision of state services," said Mr. Fradkov.

    According to the prime minister, the outlined approach to the reform is expected to ensure transparency of officials' efforts, rule out the combination and repetition of functions, and society will be able to track down whether the government understands its tasks correctly and how efficiently it is implementing them.

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