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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Finds an Extra $4.6Bln for Budget

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday that an additional 144.4 billion rubles ($4.6 billion) would be raised for the 2010 budget as the government modifies legislation to free up much-needed funds.

The government approved changes in the Budget Code that would see all revenues from natural resources taxes directed to the federal budget, Putin said in comments posted on the government’s web site. Before, about 5 percent of natural resources revenues went to various regional governments.

The change will bring an extra 46 billion rubles to the federal budget next year, Putin said at a government meeting.

A fall in oil prices and a depleted tax base have driven down revenues for this year’s budget by a third. The Finance Ministry is forecasting a deficit this year of 9.4 percent of gross domestic product.

“Naturally, we will compensate the regions for their falling income. … Moving over to the new taxation system in this area should be simple and painless,” he said, adding that regions would receive grants to make up for lost income.

The government will also increase the income it gets from the Central Bank for managing the Reserve Fund and the National Welfare Fund.

“The share of profits the Central Bank is required to pay will increase over a three-year period,” he said. The regulator will now need to hand over 75 percent of its gains from running the funds, up from 50 percent now.

The government also approved its energy strategy through 2030 — a plan that aims to wean the country off fossil fuels and increase the use of power sources such as atomic energy, hydroelectricity and other renewable sources.

The plan calls for the energy sector to increase its reserve capacity to 17 percent of its current total capacity. At least 20 percent of the country’s energy resources should be traded on exchanges by 2030.

The country’s largest hydroelectricity plant was knocked off line last week when an engine room flooded, killing at least 71 and forcing the Siberian power industry to scramble to make up for the lost capacity.

The Sayano-Shushenskaya facility accounts for some 2.5 percent of the country’s overall capacity and regional generators have been straining to compensate for the missing output.

The energy strategy must fully provide for the resources necessary to the Russian economy and bolster its position on the world energy market, Putin said.

“The fact that domestic and foreign demand for energy resources will grow rapidly — no one has any doubt about this,” he said.