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The predicted rates of strengthening of both real effective exchange rate of the ruble and real RUR/USD exchange rate in 2004 will amount to nearly 8%. In 2005, according to the given scenarios, the rates of strengthening of the real effective exchange rate of the ruble will be from 5.9 to 7.8%.

The ruble will strengthen at a slightly lower rate against to the US dollar, with only the 0.5% in according to Scenario 3 ( with the strongest US dollar rates against the Euro ).

Export volume in 2004 will reach 165 bln US dollars, while in 2005 this indicator will remain unchanged according to Scenario 1. With oil prices remaining at the previous year level ( Scenario 2 ) in 2005, export volume will increase up to 174 bln US dollars, while with decrease in oil prices to $by the end of 2005, export volume will amount to nearly 158 bln US dollars. In each of the given scenarios the predicted import volume in 2005 will be found bigger than in 2004 by 13 bln US dollars according to Scenario 1; 17 bln US dollars according to Scenario 2; and 9 bln US dollars according to Scenario 3. The forecast of import volume in 2004 shows nearly 90 bln US dollars. Thus, the forecasts demonstrate that export surplus in 2005 will be found lower by more than 8 bln US dollars on the average as compared to the previous year according to each scenario.

The predicted retail turnover growth rates, industrial production index and real value of cash incomes are generally in line with the forecast of GDP growth rates. In the medium-term period, the retail turnover growth rates are comparable by value with growth rates of real available incomes and The presented predicted estimates of the volume of gold and foreign exchange reserves at the RF Central Bank do not take into account foreign debt repayment.

higher than the GDP growth rates by more than 2 percentage points. On the contrary, growth rates of the industrial production index are lower than the GDP growth rates by 0,4 percentage points on the average.

The predicted the share of unemployed in total number of gainfully occupied population is 7.8% in 2004. In 2005, the share of unemployed will be reduced as compared to the previous year by up to 7.2% according to Scenario 1, up to 7.1% according to the most optimistic Scenario, and up to 7.4% according to the pessimistic Scenario.

Also, it should be noted that our forecast of macro indicators for 2005 ( Scenario 1 ) are generally in line with the comparable forecast made by the RF Ministry of Economic Development and Trading under the similar reference conditions. The largest difference was found for the RUR/USD real exchange rate and inflation. According to the forecast of the RF Ministry of Economic Development and Trading, the real effective exchange rate of the ruble in 2005 was found to be below our forecast by percentage points. Correspondingly, the RF MEDTs predicted growth rates of the consumer price index were found to be below by 1.6 percentage points.

FIGURE Real GDP growth rate 15% scenario scenario 10% outcome 5% 0% -5% -10% FIGURE CPI growth rate 40% 35% scenario scenario 30% outcome 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q FIGURE Consolidated budget tax revenue (% to 1 Q. 1996) 250,0% 230,0% 210,0% 190,0% 170,0% 150,0% 130,0% scenario 110,0% scenario 90,0% outcome 70,0% 50,0% FIGURE Gold and foreign exchange reserves (bln rubles.) 120000 scenario scenario outcome I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q FIGURE Nominal exchange rate ( RUR/USD ) scenario scenario outcome FIGURE Real effective exchange rate ( index number ) scenario scenario outcome 9 9 9 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 IQ1 IQ1 IQ1 IQ1 IQ2 IQ2 IQ2 IQ2 IQ2 IQ2 I 9 I 9 I 9 I 9 I 0 I 0 I 0 I 0 I 0 I 0 IIQ1 IIQ1 IIQ1 IIQ1 IIQ2 IIQ2 IIQ2 IIQ2 IIQ2 IIQ2 I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q FIGURE Export ( ml USD ) scenario scenario outcome FIGURE Import ( ml USD ) scenario scenario outcome I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q FIGURE Real retail turnover growth rates 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% -5% scenario -10% scenario -15% outcome -20% FIGURE Industrial production index growth rates 30,0% 25,0% scenario scenario 20,0% outcome 15,0% 10,0% 5,0% 0,0% I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q FIGURE Number of unemployed against gainfully occupied population ( in %) scenario scenario outcome FIGURE Growth rates in real income of the population 20,0% 15,0% 10,0% 5,0% 0,0% -5,0% -10,0% -15,0% scenario -20,0% scenario -25,0% outcome -30,0% Drobyshevsky S., Ponomarenko S.

Issues discussed at the meetings held by the Government of the Russian Federation on September 9 and 22 of Among the all issues discussed at the meetings held by the Government of the Russian Federation in September, the most interesting ones were the following: at the meeting of the RF Government held on September 9, I. Ye. Levitin, the RF Minister of Transport presented his report On the measures aimed at the implementation of the structural reform of the railroad transport describing the results of the first stage of the reform. At the meeting of the Government of the Russian Federation held on September 22, 2004, there was discussed the report presented by G. O. Gref, the RF Minster of Economic Development and Trade, On the procedures governing the financing of payments relating to the cumulative component of the labor pension and the specifics of investment of pension savings of citizens of pre-pension and pension age describing the draft federal law. Besides, at the same meeting, there was discussed the issues of informing citizens about the state of personal accounts of the cumulative I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q I Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q III Q component of the labor pension (the report On the progress of informing citizens about the state of their personal accounts presented by M. Yu. Zurabov, the RF Minister of Health Care and Social Development).

* * * At the meeting held on September 9, the Government of the Russian Federation discussed the report of I. Ye. Levitin, the RF Minister of Transport, On the measures aimed at the implementation of the structural reform of the railroad transport. The Minister noted that at the first stage of the reform of the railroad transport (carried out in accordance with the Program of structural reform of the railroad transport approved by the RF Government resolution No. 384 of May 18, 2001), there had been formed the necessary legislative framework of the operation of the railroad transport in the new situation and divided the functions of state and economic management.

The functions relating to the state regulation in the sphere of railroad transport, earlier carried out by the Ministry of Railroad Transport of Russia had been transferred to the Ministry of Transport of Russia and the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Transport and the Federal Agency for Railroad Transport in its jurisdiction.

In the framework of the reform of the system of railroad transport, in accordance with the RF Government resolution No. 585 of September 18, 2003, there was created the open joint stock company Russian Railways (Rossiyskiye Zheleznye Dorogi). There were elaborated criteria and basic indicators necessary for implementation of the monitoring of the structural reform of the railroad transport permitting to carry out an analysis of intermediate results of the reforming. The obtained results of the analysis indicated the trends towards demonopolization of the market in certain segments of the transportation process and increase in the volume indicators, as well as the efficiency of implementation of the reform.

At the second stage of the reform, it is necessary to ensure the following:

- intensification of competition as concerns services relating to freight;

- attraction of private investment for modernization of the railroad infrastructure;

- completion of optimization of the management structure of the JSC RZhD (including the enhancement of the role played by the organization of management across types of activities);

- efficient functioning of the systems of accounting formed at the first stage of the reform;

- reduction of cross-subsidizing of passenger traffic with the use of the mechanism of support of passenger traffic created at the first (preliminary) stage of reform;

- creation of independent legal entities in the sphere of suburban passenger traffic, far distance passenger traffic, repairs of equipment for railroad transport, and production of spare parts, transit, intermodal, and refrigerator freight, auxiliary types of activities not related to transportation..

The most important objective of the further development of the reform is to attract private investment in the infrastructure of railroad transport with the use of mechanisms of state-business cooperation. At the same time, it is necessary to clearly determine the procedures relating to the protection of investors interests, the procedures of their interaction with the state and organizations of railroad transport. Concessions might be one of the variants of attraction of private investment.

In order to attain the objectives set by the Program of the structural reform of the railroad transport and to ensure financial stability and efficient functioning of the system, there was elaborated the Strategic program of development of the JSC RZhD until 2010. At the same time, the Program is oriented towards sustained development in the situation of limited growth in tariffs: until 2006, by the rate of inflation, and since 2007 with the coefficient equal to 0.98 per cent of the rate of inflation. The target parameters of the Program are oriented towards the necessity to solve the infrastructure problems relating to the objective of ensuring the rates of growth of the Russian economy until 2010..

The report noted a number of issues, requiring decisions on the part of the RF Government:

1. Completion of elaboration of draft regulating legal acts necessary to implement the structural reform of the railroad transport.

The most serious problem is the issue of amendment of the legislation embracing the licensing of certain types of activities and preparation of respective resolutions of the RF Government.

2. Implementation of measures aimed to solve financial problems..

An important problem is to amend the legislation as concerns the use of the zero rate VAT in the case of export, import, and transit freight by railroad transport in the new operation environment.

3. Improvement of the state tariff regulation and development of competition in the framework of the railroad transport.

The program of structural reform of the railroad transport envisages a gradual transition to free price determination in competitive sectors of the market of railroad freight.

4. Improvement of the procedures governing the management of the property complex of the JSC RZhD.

5. Gradual cessation of cross-subsidizing of passenger traffic at the expense of financial results of the JSC RZhD.

The liquidation of cross-subsidizing of passenger traffic at the expense of financial results of the JSC RZhD is a necessary prerequisite for the creation of the Federal Passenger Company, what is envisaged by the Program of the structural reform of the railroad transport.

6. Introduction of amendments to the Program of the structural reform of the railroad transport approved by the RF Government Resolution No. 384 of May 18, 2001..

In order to attain the objectives of the structural reform of the railroad transport, the RF Ministry of Transport finds it feasible to amend the Program of the structural reform of the railroad transport approved by the RF Government Resolution No. 384 of May 18, 2001, as concerns the creation of affiliates and subsidiaries of the JSC RZhD.

7. Maintenance of higher education and establishments and colleges in the jurisdiction of the Federal agency for railroad transport..

The report also indicated key principles and target parameters of the Strategic program of development of the JSC RZhD.

* * * At the meeting of the Government of the Russian Federation held on September 22, 2004, G.

O. Gref, the RF Minster of Economic Development and Trade, presented his report On the procedures governing the financing of payments relating to the cumulative component of the labor pension and the specifics of investment of pension savings of citizens of pre-pension and pension age concerning the draft federal law On the procedures governing the financing of payments relating to the cumulative component of the labor pension and the specifics of investment of pension savings formed in favor of the citizens of pension age in the Russian Federation. The federal law sets the organizational, legal, financial, and economic principles in the sphere of financing of payments of the cumulative component of the labor pension from the RF Pension Fund. Its main objective is to set the legislative framework determining the procedures pertaining to the financing of the cumulative component of the labor old age pension, to determine the expected period of payment of the cumulative component of the labor old age pension, as well as the specifics of implementation of the right to choose the investment portfolio (management company) and investment of pension savings formed in favor of the insured persons of pension age.

The regulations envisaged by the federal law under observation set the following:

- specifics of formation and control of pension savings formed in favor of the insured persons eligible for the cumulative component of the labor pension taking into account the fact that after granting of the cumulative component of the labor pension, the pension savings formed in favor of such persons, loose their personified nature;

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