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    RUSSIAN ECONOMICS MINISTER ADVOCATES TRANSFER OF CERTAIN STATE POWERS TO PRIVATE BUSINESS

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    MOSCOW, March 19, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Enumerating the key reforms, which Russia will have to tackle in the next 4 years, Economic Development and Trade Minister Gherman Gref said they are designed to promote "a major boost to small businesses," raise Russian companies' competitiveness, ensure the support of hi tech industries, the restructuring of the infrastructure monopolies with the aim of improving their efficiency and performance.

    Mr. Gref addressed a joint meeting of the Finance and Economic Development Ministries' boards on Friday, emphasizing the importance of "raising the efficiency of the state control as part of the administrative reform." The minister also said that some of state authority should be transferred to private business.

    The reforms must promote the differentiation of duties and authority among all levels of power and the determination of specific scopes of responsibility for each level of power and body, said Mr Gref. He believes Russia's natural advantages, i.e. its natural riches, must be used as "a reserve to ensure economic growth."

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