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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Customs to Return Tax Seizures

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said Tuesday that equipment worth more than $1 billion that had been seized from enterprises for failure to pay tax was to be returned to its owners.

"Today instructions have been given to the State Customs Committee to unfreeze equipment at [customs] storehouses worth a fantastic sum f more than $1 billion," Primakov said in a televised address.

The equipment has been seized over a period of several years for failure to pay customs duties and value added tax.

The enterprises are unable to make the due payments for objective reasons, Primakov said.

"Taxes must, of course, be paid but at the same time we cannot close our eyes to what is happening to enterprises where human beings are working and from where the state will very soon receive substantial profits as a result of installation of this equipment," Primakov said.

He said the enterprises were to be allowed to pay the overdue taxes at later dates or in installments and on guarantees from banks. "Enterprises are happily accepting this," the prime minister said.

Primakov also urged Russians on Tuesday to remain calm during the country's economic crisis, assuring them there would no shortage of basic foods and that wages and pensions would be paid.

"The populace will be fully provided with vegetables, fruit and potatoes," he said.