Source Pravda.Ru

Kaliningrad Region's Budget Still Not Transparent

According to the statement made by Leonid Bogdanov, an analyst from the East-West institute during a session of the ongoing forum entitled 'Russia's Northwest: the Kaliningrad Perspective', the budget of the Kaliningrad Region is still not transparent.

Mr. Bogdanov said that the East-West institute and the Agency for the Development of the Kaliningrad Region had been carrying out the programme 'The Transparency of the Regional Budget as the Condition of Improved Investment Climate in the Kaliningrad Region' since early in 2002. 'We will prepare a report concerning the results of our work', Mr. Bogdanov continued to say. 'However, what is clear even now, is that the amount of the region's public debt and the system of tax breaks are behindnot only the requirements of the European Union but also the requirements of Russia's laws'.

Mr. Bogdanov further said that if the region was to resolve the problem of the transparency of its budget, it must join the federal programme for the reforming of regional budgetary systems. 'Several regions of Russia, including St. Petersburg and the Vologda Region, that now receive the money of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development via the federal government', he continued to say, 'have already joined this program. The governors of participating regions sign an agreement with the federal government that money from their budgets will be used according to the declared purposes. That disciplines the leaders of regional committees. Even without joining the programme, the administration of the Kaliningrad Region must declare to the public that the region's budget shall be made transparent and easy to understand for all'.

Mr. Bogdanov concluded his statement by saying that the Kaliningrad Region, being the Russian region closest to the European Union might become a natural place for reforming Russia's budgetary policies, using the best of European experience.