Russian cabinet okays forestry development programme

At a sitting on Tuesday, the Russian cabinet approved the 2002-2010 programme for development of the timber-processing industry, Ilya Klebanov, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, said following the meeting. Twenty billion dollars will have to be invested to implement this programme, he noted. "This ambitious project" will eventually, by four times, increase the wood-processing output, with a different structure, primary materials inputs and a greater output of products of thorough processing, he said. Timber-processing will develop through changes in the legislative base, the customs and tariff policy, and reform of the sector.

Among these steps Klebanov cited an increase in the minimum time of lease of forest ranges from 1-5 to 49 years. A 80-100-year lease is the goal because in this case lease-holders will assume the functions of forestry farms in the restoration of forests and environmental management, he believes.

Also, the Industry, Science and Technology Ministry proposes fixing an easy investment term on lease payment and putting in pledge lease rights. Russian banks think the possibility of replacing lease rights in case lease-holders fail to abide by credit terms attractive, noted Klebanov.

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