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State Duma discusses draft 2003 budget in first reading - 25 September, 2002

On Wednesday, the Russian State Duma will consider the draft federal budget for 2003, worked out by the government.

Vice-premier and finance minister Alexei Kudrin will make the main report at a plenary session of the lower house. Premier Mikhail Kasyanov is expected to take part in the session.

The draft 2003 federal budget has already been coordinated by the tripartite commission, which includes representatives of the government, the State Duma, and the Federation Council (the upper house), and went through the so-called zero reading.

The draft budget is to be considered in the State Duma in four readings. During the first reading the deputies approve the main parameters and macroeconomic indices of the budget. The government proposes that the deputies approve the incomes at the level of 2,417,791,800,000 roubles, and expenditures - 2,345,641,400,000 roubles. Thus, the surplus will make up 72,150,400,000 roubles. Of them 51,415,200,000 roubles are planned to be used for paying the foreign debt, the rest - 20,735,200,000 -- for replenishing the financial reserve.

The volume of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the government's forecasts, will amount to 13.5 billion roubles next year. The rouble-dollar exchange rate is expected to be 33.7 roubles for one US dollar. Inflation in 2003 is forecast at the level of 10-12 percent, and the oil price -- 21.5 dollars per barrel of the Urals brand.

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