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Russia's govt. approves major points of 2009-2011 budget

The Russian government approved Monday the major points of the federal budget for 2009-2011, a deputy finance minister said.

The government session chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also considered the major elements of the pension fund and the funds of social and compulsory health insurance.

Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Nesterenko said the budget surplus would be 1.5% of GDP in 2009 and 1.1% of GDP in 2010 and 2011.

Putin said the government planned to allocate 4.6 trillion rubles ($196.4 billion) for infrastructure and innovative projects in 2009-2011.

"A great amount has to be done in the next three years to develop infrastructure and modernize the Russian economy," Putin said. "More than 4.6 trillion rubles will be allocated for this purpose as part of federal programs and an investment program."

Putin said the fight against inflation, which has already hit 8.5% in 2008, would be a key task, and warned against unnecessary expenses.

"I would like to stress that the government's major task will be to curb inflation, and therefore all decisions on increasing budgetary expenses should be balanced as much as possible," the prime minister said.

The government's target for 2008 is 10.5%, while last year's final figure was 11.9%, driven by high food and commodity prices, against an 8% target.

Education, another priority on the long-term development agenda, will receive around 1.4 trillion rubles ($59.7 billion) in 2009-2011, the premier said.

The three-year federal budget should be submitted to the State Duma no later than August 26.

Source:  www.

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