State Duma passes 2003 budget

The lower house of the Russian parliament has adopted the budget draft for 2003 on the fourth and final reading. Deputies approved the distribution of the budget's expenses on all levels. The bill was supported by 283 deputies with 119 against and no abstentions.

The 2003 budget expenses amount to 2.346 trillion rubles ($73.66bn); revenues total 2.418 trillion rubles ($75.92bn). The forecasted GDP is 13.5 trillion rubles ($424bn); the expected inflation rate for 2003 is 10-12 percent; the dollar rate is 33.7 RUR/USD and the average world oil prices are expected to be $21.5 per barrel.

According to preliminary information, the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, may consider the 2003 budget on December 18.

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