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    MOSCOW, April 5, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - On Thursday, the Russian government will consider draft laws on the tax reform, including the reduction of the single social tax, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said on Monday at the president's conference with the cabinet.

    "I'm pleased to note a certain progress after the medium-term economic development plans were discussed at the joint board of the finance ministry and the ministry of economic development and trade. Our plans that we discussed at the board are reflected in the government-drafted documents, and are now under consideration by Duma deputies," said President Putin. He asked the deputy prime minister to elaborate on this work.

    "The first package of draft laws on taxation, including the reduction of the single social tax, has been prepared with the same figures we talked about the board," said Mr. Zhukov.

    He continued that these draft laws and proposals on the pension system were discussed by the Duma parliamentary majority and were supported on the whole.

    "Now we have the opportunity of discussing the wording of the draft laws," said the deputy prime minister.

    "On Thursday, the government session will consider these draft laws," said Mr. Zhukov.

    The president asked Mr. Zhukov when the package of draft laws would be submitted to the State Duma. "I think at the end of this week," said the deputy prime minister.

    In turn, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said he was going to meet with big business representatives, including the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs later this week to discuss this issue.

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