Russian Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin reported that the main task of the Finance Ministry for 2003 would be to carry out a budget policy that would allow for speeding up economic growth and improving the well-being of citizens, the department of government information reported. "The year 2002 can be estimated as successful in terms of the social and economic development of Russia. The federal budget had a surplus, GDP growth amounted to 4 percent and real revenues of citizens went up 8.5 percent. Gold and currency reserves surpassed $48bn, and the outflow of capital from the country continued to reduce: it dropped three fold over the past year. All these positive results are a base for economic stability this year," Kudrin was quoted as saying.
One of the main priorities for 2003 is to fulfill state obligations envisaged by the federal budget regardless of the foreign economic situation. The Finance Minister stressed that the budget would be implemented under any circumstances. He also recalled the tendency of a reduction in the tax burden in Russia. According to Kudrin, as a result of tax initiatives, the tax burden will drop to 0.7 percent of GDP. In addition, taxes on small businesses will be reduced by 2.2.5-fold, which will push the development of this economic sector.
Commenting on the repayment of foreign debts, the minister stressed that "payments will be made according to the schedule."
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