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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'97 Budget Headed for More Delay

Russia's parliament will not pass the 1997 budget by the end of this year as the government had hoped, Mikhail Zadornov, chairman of the State Duma's budget committee, said Tuesday.


He told reporters the administration was unwilling to present to the Duma, parliament's lower house, the version of the budget that had been agreed upon in a trilateral reconciliation commission.


"We can already say that the budget as a whole, without doubt, will not pass the Duma by the end of the year," Zadornov said.


"The work of the commission is being drawn out because no one wants to take responsibility for making a decision on the budget -- neither the majority of parliament nor the government."


Russia is trying to keep to a small deficit in 1997 under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, but the Duma is eager to increase spending on a starved economy.


The IMF last month for the second time suspended a monthly disbursement of its $10 billion, three-year loan to Russia because of inadequate tax collection.


An IMF team is due Thursday in Moscow to begin assessing the latest data. Government officials say tax collection improved in October, but they concede that the overall revenue figures do not look promising.


"Talks are definitely difficult," said Finance Minister Alexander Livshits. "They are showing us shortcomings in the fulfillment of our promises for the entire program, and are asking us whether these are incorrect. They are correct."


Conflicting claims on the country's sorely inadequate revenues have once again complicated the federal budget process. The Duma rejected the government's first draft of the budget last month. Since then, the reconciliation commission, in which both houses of parliament and the government are represented, has been working on a new version.