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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Committee Nixes Draft '97 Budget

COMBINED REPORTS


The Duma State Budget Committee on Monday decided to recommend that the full chamber reject the reworked 1997 draft budget in its first reading expected Friday, Interfax reported.


Committee chairman Mikhail Zadornov told the news agency that weeks of revisions by a parliamentary-government conciliation commission had not fundamentally altered the bill, which has been attacked by critics for rosy revenue projections and skewed spending priorities.


"The Duma will have the final say," the respected Yabloko deputy said. "It is clear that the 1997 budget will not be passed this year and the first quarter will be financed according to the figures for the last quarter of 1996."


Meanwhile, privatization will bring in only about 15 percent of the projected 12.3 trillion rubles ($2.23 billion) in revenue in 1996, a State Property Committee official told Interfax.


The official, speaking anonymously, said income from privatization amounted to 1 trillion rubles for the year's first 10 months, and at best an additional trillion rubles might be collected by the end of the year.


The sharp shortfall is due to the delay in the sale of 25 percent of the shares in telephone company Svyazinvest, which was supposed to bring in 4 trillion rubles. In addition, the official said there might be a delay in selling off part of the shares in utility giant Unified Energy Systems.


Separately, Finance Minister Alexander Livshits on Monday announced the release of a special loan of 3 trillion rubles to the National Retirement Benefits Fund to cover payouts delayed for months. Livshits told Interfax the move had been requested by President Boris Yeltsin at their meeting Monday.


Livshits refused to say whether Yeltsin and he had discussed rumors in the Russian media to the effect that he would soon be fired. But Interfax said it had learned from an unspecified source that Yeltsin had confirmed his support for Livshits. ()