The pace of the GDP advance planned by the Russian government for the period from 2004 to 2006 is not sufficient to fulfill the task on doubling the GDP in 10 years, Russian State Duma Budget Committee Chairman Alexander Zhukov declared a round table meeting devoted to this issue. He said that it was an ambitious task to double the GDP in the period from 2000 to 2010 and added that a 7-percent annual GDP growth was necessary to achieve this goal. At the same time, the government is planning a 5.2-percent advance in 2004 and about 6 percent in 2005 and 2006, he pointed out. "Probably, in three years we will reach a 7-percent growth in the GDP", he said. The deputy stressed that it was necessary to decrease the tax burden to accelerate the pace of the GDP advance. "We have not started decreasing the tax burden. We have only brought tax rates in accordance with the real level of tax collection", he specified.
In his turn, Valery Mironov, an expert of the economic research foundation Development Center, declared that an 18-percent annual growth in investments should be provided to maintain a 7-percent annual gain in the GDP. At the same time, investments surged only 12 percent in the first half of 2003, compared to the corresponding period of last year, the expert mentioned.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building