Government and Central Bank of Russia to publish joint statement early next week

The text of a joint statement of the government and the Central Bank of Russia, discussed at an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday, will be published early next week, Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told journalists on Saturday. According to him, the document outlines the main steps the government is going to take in the economy. It spells out what will be done in the tax and budget area, monetary policy, and banking. Special attention is paid to settlements in the economy and phasing out of non-cash payments. Last year saw very good results in this sphere, the premier noted, and currently their proportion does not exceed 20 per cent. Meanwhile, the premier recalled, non-cash payments three years ago made up more than half of all transactions in the economy. Kasyanov said that although all relevant figures exist, the government is not going to reveal them, because they are commercial in character. The statement, the premier believes, will help the government to overview its policy every month and ultimately to achieve the macro-economic targets set earlier in the year. Kasyanov emphasised that the text was agreed with the International Monetary Fund /IMF/, but Russia is not asking the IMF board of directors to endorse it as a programme. Replying to RIA Novosti, Kasyanov explained what is meant by a suspended financing of state obligations, which are mentioned in the text and which Russia may not be able to meet in the future. This, he said, concerns a new system of providing budget consumers with financial resources needed in the housing and communal economy. He said it is necessary to polish a mechanism whereby enterprises will learn to consume as much thermal and electric power as they can afford to. Moreover, if figures are accurate, the state will finance these requirements in full. This is going to be a "contractual system" able to signal to appropriate departments irregularities or disbalance in the given area. Enterprises must know how much they can consume, and their suppliers what funds are available to the enterprise concerned, Kasyanov stressed.

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