08:26 GMT +320 October 2017

    Bill raising monthly pension by $12 goes to Russian parliament

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    MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) - A draft law raising the base monthly pension as of December 1 by around $12 has been submitted to the lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma speaker said on Saturday.

    Boris Gryzlov said the bill had been drafted by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, in response to President Vladimir Putin's earlier proposal.

    Social Development and Health Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the base pension will be raised by an average of 300 rubles ($12).

    With inflation continuing unabated, many pensioners in Russia have been left struggling to afford basic goods. On Tuesday, the Duma urged Cabinet ministers to work out an array of measures to check soaring food prices and stabilize the situation on the food market. Food prices have driven up inflation as a whole, and inflation is expected to round off at around 9% by the end of this year.

    Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said the base pension increase would cost the treasury 166 billion rubles ($6.6 billion) in 2007-08, including 28 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) in December 2007 and 138 billion ($5.5 billion) in 2008.

    He said the extra spending would come from the federal budget and the Pension Fund.

    The average state pension in Russia rose 15.3% year-on-year in 2006 to 2,726 rubles ($109 at the current exchange rate) per month. In 2005, the average monthly pension was 2,364 rubles ($95).

    In mid-July, Putin signed the country's first three-year budget, seen as a transition to longer-term financial planning, and designed to streamline finances and expenditure.

    The budget envisions a rise in the minimum wage from 2,300 rubles ($92) per month to the official subsistence level, which currently stands at 5,120 rubles (about $205) per month, by early 2011, and the use of Stabilization Fund money to offset the pension fund deficit. Average pensions are expected to increase to 5,105 rubles (about $205) by 2010, or 70% from the current levels.

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