Premier Kasyanov: Draft budget for 2003 might be approved by parliament without substantial amendments

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov stated on Saturday during the expanded meeting of the board of the Russian Finance Ministry devoted to the 200th anniversary of that department that, in his opinion, the draft federal budget for 2003 might be approved by the parliament with no substantial amendments.

In his speech Kasyanov pointed out that despite objective difficulties, changes in the tax system, the conducting of a number of structural reforms, and the debt burden, the Finance Ministry managed to prepare a professional draft budget of good quality.

The premier recalled that the Russian President demands from the government to continue comprehensive transformations in the area of state finances. According to him, this work would be greatly facilitated by the administrative reform the concept of which is being presently developed by the government.

According to the premier, the administrative reform has to find financial reflection in a comprehensive revision of budgetary funds. Kasyanov is of the opinion that it is necessary to carry out thorough analysis of state functions and expenditures which it effected to correlate Constitutional responsibilities and obligations of state power. He stated that in doing that one should pay particular attention to delineation of responsibilities and authorities between different power levels.

Among the Finance Ministry's objectives the premier also singled out improvement of the quality of budgetary planning, both mid-term, long-term and within each financial year. In addition to that, according to Kasyanov, the Finance Ministry should improve coordination of its operations with the Central Bank.

The premier congratulated the meeting participants with the jubilee of the Finance Ministry and presented state awards to many officials of the Ministry. He indicated that the Finance Ministry during its history of existence had been playing one of the key roles in the state. Kasyanov was confident that the future role of the Finance Ministry would become even more significant.

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