Gov't And Centrist Faction Reach Consensus On Budget Draft

The government and Fatherland-All Russia do not have disagreements over the second reading of the draft budget for 2002, said Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin following a meeting the members of this faction. "The Fatherland-All Russia faction is still making up its mind. It is expected to make a final decision on the budget on October 19, but I hope that it will be a positive decision," the minister added. He stressed that the deputies agreed with the government's proposal to increase expenditures on agriculture by RUR4.5bn (about $152.6m) and on road construction by RUR14bn (about $474.7m). Financial aid to regions will be increased by 16.5bn (about $559.5m). According to Kudrin, faction members still have some questions about regional programs, the distribution of funds between the federal and regional budgets and the indexation of the land tax. Kudrin hopes that the government and the State Duma will jointly find solutions to these questions.

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