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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Securities Bill Backed In Duma

The State Duma's powerful budget committee recommended Monday that the chamber pass a bill in a first reading allowing the Central Bank to issue securities.

The bill to be considered by the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, later this week is one of a package of draft laws that the International Monetary Fund wants to see approved before releasing a new $4.5 billion credit.

The committee, which had last week refused to support the bill, recommended on Monday the Duma pass the Central Bank bill in a version worked out by parliament.

Deputies did not like the government's version because it said the Central Bank would set the volume of debt issues and register the issues itself. The government later withdrew its draft.

The Duma version says that the bank can issue securities according to a procedure set by the government. The issue volume plus commercial banks' obligatory reserves in the Central Bank cannot exceed 20 percent of overall liabilities of all Russian banks.

Budget committee chairman Alexander Zhukov said the Duma was likely to hear the bill Friday.

The Duma last week passed in the first reading two IMF-required bills - on taxing expensive cars and on banking system restructuring. It postponed voting on a bill on taxing gas stations until Wednesday.

In delaying that bill, deputies said the current version would raise not only gasoline prices but prices for all other goods.

Mikhail Zadornov, Russia's special envoy to the IMF, told journalists Friday that if the bill was not passed, prices would rise significantly anyway due to the economic instability that would come from failure to win IMF funds.

All the bills have to be passed by the Duma in three readings, approved by the Federation Council, parliament's upper house, and signed by the president to become law.