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1. The recommended parameters of the increase in prices (tariffs) of products (services) of natural monopolies do not result in significant increase in the amount of costs borne by consumers and do not have any significant impact on inflation rates. The estimates demonstrate that in 2005 inflation should decline to 6.per cent 8.5 per cent (as compared with 10 per cent registered in 2004), while by 2007 it should make 4 per cent to 6 per cent. The contribution of the increase in regulated prices and tariffs in inflation should be below 2.6 to 2.7 p. p. in 2005, and in 2006 make 1.9 to 2 p. p. respectively.

2. The estimated rates of growth in prices (tariffs) of products (services) of natural monopolies significantly reduce the share of costs relating to the use of products and services of natural monopolies in the structure of costs of industrial products, what has a significant positive impact on the competitive capacity of domestic products on the internal and external markets.

3. The proposed program of changes in prices (tariffs) of electrical power reduces the gap between the prices paid by different categories of consumers, what permits to settle a key problem of the reform of the electrical power engineering the reduction of cross subsidizing of electrical power tariffs on the part of specific categories of consumers of electrical power (households, budget and agricultural consumers) at the expense of a lesser imbalance of increase in tariffs for industrial consumers, as well as reduction of subsidizing of production and transportation of heat energy at the expense of electrical power.

As concerns the natural gas industry, the amount of cross subsidizing in certain regions is not reduced and corresponds to the existing proportions, while in other regions it should be reduced at the expense of a more rapid rates of growth in natural gas prices for households than industrial consumers. The decision concerning the implementation of the territorial differentiation (i.e. the increase in the number of price zones from 7 to 11) will permit to significantly reduce the amount of cross subsidizing among price zones.

4. Implementation of the key principles of reform of the electrical power engineering, i.e. the separation of the types of operations (generation, transportation, and marketing) has already permitted to eliminate the internal cross subsidizing within the industry and increase the investment attractiveness and economic efficiency of production. This approach to the conduct of financial and economic operations should create incentives for other natural monopolies (OAO Gazprom, OAO RZhD) to introduce similar programs taking into account the specifics of their activities.

5. The approval of the program regulating the changes in prices (tariffs) of the products (services) of natural monopolies by the RF Government will permit the natural monopolies and consumers of their products to have more clear benchmarks for the planning of their own production and investment, at the same time creating the incentives for natural monopolies to reduce their costs.

E. A. Bolshakova Review of economic legislation: May of In May, there were introduced the following changes in the legislation currently in force: there were changed the procedures governing the calculation of the tax rates on oil extraction and the procedures governing the calculation of the export customs duty on crude oil; there was changed the procedure governing the determination of the amount of long service pension provided to federal state officials; there was increased the amount of the average monthly salary basing on which there are calculated the amounts of the long service pensions due to federal state officials (from 1.8 salary to 2.3 salary). The RF Government took the decision to repurchase the USSR state treasury debentures and certificates of the USSR Sberbank (placed in the territory of the Russian Federation before January of 1992) owned by RF citizens.

I. FEDERAL LAWS of the Russian Federation 1. ON AMENDMENTS TO ARTICLE 3 OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION LAW 'ON CUSTOMS TARIFF' AND ARTICLE 5 OF THE FEDERAL LAW ON AMENDMENTS TO SECTION 2 OF THE RF TAX CODE AND CERTAIN OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, AND ON ABOLISHMENT OF CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE ACTS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION Enters into force in one month since the day of promulgation, with the exception of Article 2, which enters into force on January 1, 2005..

The law changes the procedure governing the calculation of the maximal rate of the export customs duty on crude oil established by the RF law On the customs tariff No. 5003-1 of May 21, 1993.

The rates of the export duty on crude oil set forth by the RF Government should not exceed the maximal amount of the duty rate calculated as follows:

In the case the average crude Urals oil prices on the world markets of crude oil (the Mediterranean and Rotterdam markets) in the period of monitoring are at or below US $ 109.5 per 1 metric ton the rate of duty should be at 0 per cent;

In the case the average crude Urals oil prices on the world markets of crude oil (the Mediterranean and Rotterdam markets) in the period of monitoring exceed US $ 109.5 per 1 metric ton, but is at or below US $ 146 per 1 metric ton the rate of duty should be at or below 35 per cent of the difference between the average US $ denominated price of 1 metric ton of this oil during the monitoring period and US $ 109.5;

In the case the average crude Urals oil prices on the world markets of crude oil (the Mediterranean and Rotterdam markets) in the period of monitoring exceed US $ 146 per 1 metric ton, but is at or below US $ 182.5 per 1 metric ton the rate of duty should be at or below US $ 12.78 per 1 metric ton and 45 per cent of the difference between the average US $ denominated price of 1 metric ton of this oil during the monitoring period and US $ 146;

In the case the average crude Urals oil prices on the world markets of crude oil (the Mediterranean and Rotterdam markets) in the period of monitoring exceed US $ 182.5 per 1 metric ton, the rate of duty should be at or below US $ 29.2 per 1 metric ton and 65 per cent of the difference between the average US $ denominated price of 1 metric ton of this oil during the monitoring period and US $ 182.5;

According to the amendments to the federal law No. 126 FZ of August 8, 2001, the tax rate on the extraction of oil should be increased from Rub. 347 to Rub. 400 per metric ton. The law introduces the changes in the formula determining the coefficient characterizing the dynamics of the world oil prices relating to the said tax rate: the formula Kts = (Ts 8) x R/252 should be replaced with the formula Kts = (Ts 9) x R/261.

2. ON AMENDMENTS TO ARTICLES 14, 21, AND 25 OF THE FEDERAL LAW ON STATE PENSIONS IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION No. 34 FZ of May 8, 2004.

Enters into force on the day of promulgation.

Amendments to federal law On state pensions in the Russian Federation No. 166 FZ of December 15, 2001, concern the calculation and indexation of the amounts of the long service pension provided to federal state officials. The amendments envisage that the pensions of citizens residing in the regions of the Far North and regions with the similar status should be increased by the coefficient, for which are entitled employees on non-production sectors. In the case the citizen resettles from the said regions, the amount of pension should not include the respective coefficient. This regulation should be applicable to the legal relations established after January 1, 2002, i.e. before federal law No. 166 FZ entered into force. The amendments made by the law unify the indexation of pensions paid to federal state officials. From now on, the indexation depend not on increases in salaries of individual state officials, but on centralized increase in salaries of federal state officials in accordance with the procedure set forth by the RF Government. There was also increased the amount of the average monthly salary basing on which there are calculated the amounts of the long service pensions due to federal state officials (from 1.8 salary to 2.3 salary). Taking into account these changes, the long service pensions set for federal state officials before the entry in force of this federal law, but after July 1, 2002, should be recalculated.

II. RESOLUTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT of the Russian Federation 1. ON INTRODUCTION OF ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS ON THE INVESTMENT OF PENSION SAVINGS BY MANAGEMENT COMPANIES, WHICH CONCLUDED TRUST AGREEMENTS WITH THE RF PENSION FUND AND NON-STATE PENISON FUNDS ENGAGED IN MANDATORY PENSION INSURANCE, IN RUBLE DENOMINATED DEPOSITS WITH CREDITING ORGANIZATIONS No. 247 of May 21, The resolution sets additional restrictions on the investment of pension savings in Ruble denominated deposits with crediting organizations by management companies, which made trust agreements with the RF Pension fund and non-state pension funds engaged in mandatory pension insurance. The resolution also sets forth the requirements concerning deposits and financial stability of crediting organizations. The former include the determination of the annual interest rates on deposits not less than yield to maturity of RF Ruble denominated state securities maturing on the date closest to the day of expiration of the deposit (in the case several issues of RF Ruble denominated securities mature on the day of expiration of the deposit, the interest rate on the deposit should be at or above the maximal yield of one of such issues), as well as the inclusion in the deposit agreement of a provision setting forth the terms on which the deposit and respective interest (taking into account the restrictions set forth by the resolution) should be returned. The latter include, for instance, the general license of the RF Central Bank for banking operations, positive financial results of operations in the last reporting year and the last reporting period of the current year, as well as the positive audit statement for the last year and absence of sanctions imposed by tax authorities and the RF Central Bank.

Besides, the resolution determines the procedures governing the control over compliance with the additional restrictions, which should be vested with the federal executive authority supervising the sphere of formation and investment of pension savings.

2. ON REPURCHASE OF THE USSR STATE TREASURY DEBENTURES AND CERTIFICATES OF THE USSR SBERBANK (PLACED IN THE TERRITORY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION BEFORE JANUARY OF 1992) OWNED BY RF CITIZENS No. 230 of May 6, This document was worked out in accordance with the federal law On the federal budget for year 2004. Article 137 of the law envisages, in particular, the repurchase of the the USSR state treasury debentures and certificates of the USSR Sberbank (placed in the territory of the Russian Federation before January of 1992) owned by RF citizens, which are guaranteed savings in accordance with the federal law On the restoration and protection of savings of RF citizens No. 73 FZ of May 10, 1995. The resolution of the RF Government approves the Rules pertaining to the repurchase of the USSR state treasury debentures and certificates of the USSR Sberbank (placed in the territory of the Russian Federation before January of 1992) owned by RF citizens in 2004. The resolution also establishes the amounts to be paid to the owners of these debentures and certificates. The rules determine the procedure of repurchase of the securities from the owners on the voluntary basis. The repurchase operations should be carried out by offices of the RF Sberbank on the presentation of the RF passport or other identification card confirming Russian citizenship of the owner. The amount to be paid should be determined proceeding from the face value of the respective security (in USSR Rubles) and include a compensation amounting to 40 per cent of the face value of the security and its yield.

The procedure of calculation of the amount due to be paid for debentures and certificates is determined as follows: for each year after the end of circulation, including 2003, of these securities there should be paid a 10 per cent annual interest basing on the respective face value adjusted for the 40 per cent compensation.

Coupons separated from the debentures should not be repaid. Repurchased debentures and certificates should be redeemed and no further payments related to these securities should be made. The RF Sberbank should present the data on repurchase of debentures and certificates to the RF Finance Ministry on the monthly basis separately for each type of securities. The expenditures of the RF Sberbank relating to the repurchase and redemption of the state treasury debentures and certificates should be compensated from the federal budget item envisaged for the servicing of the state domestic debt of the Russian Federation in 2004. The same funds should be used for the compensation of expenditures relating to the inspection and destruction of repurchased and redeemed debentures and certificates. The resolution sets forth concrete amounts to be paid for USSR state treasury debentures with 16 coupons and 8 coupons, as well as amounts to be paid to the owners of the USSR Sberbank certificates.

3. ON AMENDMENTS OT THE RF GOVERNMENT RESOLUTION ON APPROVAL OF THE RULES GOVERNING SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS RELATING TO THE ACCOUNTS OF CHIEF ADMINISTRATORS, ADMINISTRATORS AND RECIPIENTS OF FEDERAL BUDGET FUNDS OPENED WITH THE FEDERAL TREASURY No. 244 of May 17, The resolution amends item 2 of the Rules. The amendment envisages that the respective operations should be suspended in the case the federal institution failed to close its accounts opened with the RF Central Bank and (or) other crediting operations in order to conduct operations relating to funds derived from entrepreneurial or other types of commercial operations.

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