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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Boasts Budget Boost for IMF

Russia has worked out ways of boosting budget revenues by more than 60 billion rubles ($2.4 billion) to satisfy International Monetary Fund demands, a senior government finance official said Friday.

"Already more than 60 billion rubles in extra revenues have been uncovered and talks are still going on," Alexander Pochinok, head of the government's department of monetary and credit policy, said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

An IMF mission held talks Friday with Russian Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov and described progress as satisfactory, Prime-Tass reported.

"I am satisfied with the progress made at talks in the finance ministry," IMF mission leader Gerard Belanger was quoted as saying. He said budget issues were discussed, but gave no details.

Interfax news agency earlier quoted Deputy Finance Minister Oleg Vyugin as saying there were only slight differences on budget figures.

The IMF mission arrived in Moscow earlier this week, with Russia hoping to wrap up a final agreement on how to meet various economic targets and unlock more IMF loans.

Pochinok outlined some of the measures that the government hopes will satisfy the fund.

"We have not been standing still. The postponement of a planned cut in value added tax from July 1 to January 1 (2000) will give more than 30 billion rubles," he said.

He said the Tax Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the State Customs Committee had been called on to collect extra revenues.

Russia is hoping that the IMF will lend it at least $4.8 billion, enough to repay what it owes the Fund itself.

IMF approval for an economic program would also ease talks with a range of creditors, as Russia seeks to ease its $140 billion debt burden.

On Friday, an Israeli official confirmed a report in the Haaretz daily that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged IMF official Stanley Fisher to approve the loan to Russia. Netanyahu acted on a request by Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, the daily said.