Duma official comments on 2003 budget adoption

Deputy chairman of the State Duma budget committee Vitaly Shuba accepts thepossibility that the 2003 budget draft will be corrected in the lowerhouse. He voiced his opinion in an interview with RBC today and pointed outthat "the budget is a complicated bill, which requires careful and publicdiscussion, particularly if one takes into account the fact that social andeconomic forecasts of the government are not always precise".Shuba mentioned that the budget draft was to be discussed on the firstreading in the State Duma on September 26. This is when deputies are toadopt revenues, expenditures, the surplus and the distribution of fundsbetween the center and the regions. In the opinion of the deputy, thelatter issue will be the most painful, as there could be "problems" in anumber of regions regarding an increase in salaries of state andlaw-enforcement employees. "We are to analyze how adequate the distributionof funds among regions is in the current situation", Shuba pointed out. Hebelieves that this year, there will be fewer amendments to the budget thanthere used to be in the past..

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