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budget means 17,4 19,3 19,8 18,4 17,In the sectoral structure of investment in fixed assets the share of industries will grow that produce final production and raw materials and supplies, while the share of investment in the Fuel and Energy complex will gradually be lowering. It is assumed that in real terms the annual average growth rates of investment in the fuel industry will make about 6%, in industries producing raw materials and supplies 9%, while in those producing outputs oriented to final demand about 10%. However, in this case, the primary industries will retain their dominant influence on the sectoral structure of investments.

The Share of Individual Groups of Industries in the Volume of Investment in the Fixed Assets of Industry, in % Forecast 2004 2006 2007 FEC (Fuel and Energy complex) 55,5 55,1 54,8 53,9 53,including:

electric power industry 13,3 13,3 13,8 13,8 13,oil producing industry 22,7 23,2 22,6 22,1 21,gas industry 12,1 11,2 11,3 11,1 11,Industries producing raw materials and 25,4 25,5 25,6 25,9 26,supplies Industries producing final products 16,4 16,8 17,0 17,5 17,The forecast contains hypotheses on raising the efficiency of the economy. In particular, it is assumed to reduce by 11,5-13,8% the GDP power intensity for 2006-2008 against the level of 2004. The intensive need to pursue active policy in the field of energy saving and introduction of resource saving technologies is determined by the forecasted changing of priorities in the economy in favor of the production modernization, developing the processing productions and sectors orienting to servicing. One of the ways of solving this problem is changing the structure of the economy as a whole and within branches of industries, rising of prices and tariffs for fuel and energy resources, as well as developing measures to stimulate energy saving.

Increase in labor productivity is one of major indicators of the efficiency of economy restructuring, changing of the situation on the labor market and conditions for the economy advancement in the long run. Taking into account the demographic situation and qualitative changes in the composition of the population, associated with decrease in the growth of the population in its active working age, these are just the factors that determine raising of the efficiency of use of the work-force that are to be given priority. According to the forecast, the GDP increment in 2006-2008, with stable figure of employed in the economy, the production rate of growth is fully determined by labor productivity indicators.

* * * To assess feasibility of the major macroeconomic indicators of the RF Federal Budget for 2006 IET has computed several scenarios of development of the RF economy. We made an estimation and forecast of the dynamics of macroeconomic and financial variables, as well as indicators of the RF Federal Budget for 2005 and 2006 basing on the structural econometric model of Russian economy developed in the Institute for the Economy in Transition. We considered the prices of Brent oil, index of investment in the fixed assets, the growth rate of the population real incomes, as well as the increment rate of money supply 2 as exogenous parameters in the model.

The Table presents the results of computations for all the three scenarios.

2005 2005 (IET 2006 2006 (IET 2006 (IET 2006 (IET Indicator (MERT estimate) (MERT forecast forecast forecast estimate) forecast) inertial) probable) negative) 51,5 (48) 50 43 (40) 43 55 Oil prices (Brent, USD/barrel) Real GDP increment rate 5,9% 5,7% 5,0% 6,0% 4,3% 5,8% Nominal GDP (Rb bn) 21000 20630 24380 24760 25130 Export (USD bn) 215 232,4 193 231 245,Import (USD bn) 120,3 113 139,0 129 135 Index of investment in the fixed 9,8% 9,9% 11,1% 8,7% 9,5% 6,7% assets Increment rate of the population 9,4% 8,5% 8,9% 7,9% 9,0% 7,0% real incomes Tax revenues of the federal 23,7% 25,9% 20,7% 20,3% 28,2% 17,7% budget (% GDP) Tax revenues of the federal 4971 5343 5046 5026 7080 budget (Rb bn) Federal budget expenditures (% 16,7% 16,1% 17,5% 17,3% 17,0% 17,4% GDP) Federal budget expenditures (Rb 3497 3295 4270 4270 4270 bn) Federal budget surplus (% GDP) 7,0% 9,8% 3,2% 3,0% 11,2% 0,3% Repayments on foreign debt 34,5 34,4 13,8 13,8 13,8 13,(USD bn) Changing of funds in the RF 1102 978 923 820 1200 Stabilization Fund (at cut-off price 27) The volume of the RF Stabiliza- 1319 1195 2242 2015 2395 tion Fund as of the end of the year (USD bn) Balance of the capital account of -8,5 -5 -5 0 0 private sector (USD bn) The volume of foreign reserves 185 185 239 225 265 (USD bn) Changing of the nominal dollar- 2,7% 2,0% 0,7% 3,2% 0,7% 4,6% to-ruble exchange rate Nominal ruble-to-dollar exchange 28,5 28,3 28,7 29,2 28,5 29,rate as of the end of the year (Rb/$) Changing of the real effective 9,2% 7,5% 4,2% 5,4% 7,2% 4,3% exchange rate of the ruble The CPI (consumer price index) 11,0% 11,5% 8,5% 9,9% 10,5% 9,7% increment rate 2 increment rate 30% 33,3% 26% 25,0% 32% 19% 1,25 1,25 1,25 1,The of annual average dollar-to- 1,23 1,euro exchange rate We analyzed the indicators for 2005 (basing on information for the first half of 2005) and considered the three scenario of economy development in 2006.

The first, inertial scenario, provides a gradual slowdown in 2006 in the world oil prices to USD a barrel (Brent). Thus, the average annual value of oil prices is equal to USD 43 a barrel (Brent) and USD 40 a barrel for Urals. In other words, from the perspective of external factors this scenario is identical to Variant II of MERT (the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Russia) forecast, on which basis the draft budget was formed.

The second, probable scenario, is based on the assumption of correctness of forecast of maintenance of high level of world prices for a full year. Thus, the annual average level of Brent oil prices will make at least USD 55 a barrel.

The third, negative, scenario, proceeds from an assumption of the dramatic fall in oil prices (including due to strengthening of exchange rate of the dollar vs. the worlds leading currencies). We considered the case where the average annual Brent oil price will be USD 30 a barrel, which corresponds to Variant I of MERT forecast (USD 28 a barrel, Urals).

An analysis of the results obtained allows to make the following conclusions:

1. We find that the forecast of the socio-economic development of Russia for 2006, prepared by MERT, is sufficiently qualitative and balanced. In contrary to previous years, practically no conflicts exist between the dynamics of individual indicators, the volume of provided (in the forecast) information is comprehensive for analysis of assumptions and conditions of development of the RF economy, taken by MERT.

2. In parallel with that, we should note that the forecast of MERT is based on a series of assumptions which are not quite realistic. These primarily concern the growth rates of investment in the fixed assets and the volumes of export and import (both in 2005, and 2006), which leads to overstated estimate GDP growth forecasts in 2006.

3. By contrast, the forecast of CPI growth rates is, obviously, understated in conditions of the given balance of the capital account, money supply growth rates and the scope of raising regulated prices and tariffs for natural monopolies services.

4. The section Institutional Transformations in the Economy contained in the forecast is of vital importance, though it is unlikely that the measures stipulated in it will produce the needed effect on enhancing the investment activity and speeding up the GDP growth as early as in 2006.

5. as is seen from our computations, underestimation of the inflation growth rates allows the Russian Federation government to rely on reaching the nominal volumes of GDP and, consequently, to achieve next year the nominal volume of tax revenues in planned volumes, notwithstanding the expected lower growth rates of real GDP. In parallel with that, the volume of expenditures of the federal budget is maintained at 17,017,5% GDP for any of scenarios. Therefore, since 2006 no threat practically exists to the stability of the budget system, and even in considerable fall in oil prices, the budget will have equal to zero net surplus, as a last resort.

6. Along with other most important distinctions of MERT forecast and our computations, we should note that concerning volumes, primarily of export. The overstated, in our opinion, value volumes of export are concerned in the forecast of MERT with expansion of the physical volumes of export of oil and gas, which seems unlikely because of existing technical limitations on exporting of hydrocarbons (capacities of pipe-lines, port capacity of ports etc.).

7. In addition, in the forecast of MERT it is assumed the stronger (in comparison with our forecast) strengthening of real effective exchange rate of the ruble in 2005, but less strengthening in 2006.

This is, in our opinion, the result of underestimation of the degree of weakening the U.S. dollar exchange rate vs. other world currencies this year, as well as underestimation of the level of inflation in Russia in 2006.

8. In conclusion, we would like to stress the two moments in our computations, disputable also from our point of view. First, according to our computations, the level of revenues of the federal budget in the second scenario exceeds 28% of GDP, i.e. by 8 p.p. of GDP exceeds the level of the first scenario and the forecast of MERT. Such a result is the effect of employment of a linear model in estimating the level of tax revenues of the budget, but, most likely, in conditions of further growth of oil prices the linear relation between prices and the level of budget revenues will be violated.

Second, the model shows a nominal weakening of exchange rate of the ruble even in the first and second scenarios, despite maintenance of large volumes of export revenues to the Russian forex market. Such a result is a consequence of the forecasted slight lowering of the amount of positive trade surplus of the RF and is within the accuracy of the model forecast. In other words, this more likely suggests that the nominal ruble-to-dollar exchange rate will be maintained in 2006 at a fixed level.

S. Drobyshevsky, O. Izryadnova Issues discussed at the meetings held by the Government of the Russian Federation on September 22 and 29 of At the meeting of the RF Government held on September 22, A. A. Fursenko, the RF Minister of Education presented his report On measures aimed at the development of education in the Russian Federation. At its meeting held on September 29, the RF Government discussed the draft federal law On amendments to the federal law On the federal budget for year 2005 and invalidation of certain provisions of the federal law On amendments to the federal law On the federal budget for year 2005. * * * In his report On measures aimed at the development of education in the Russian Federation, presented at the meeting of the RF Government held on September 22, A. A. Fursenko, the RF Minister of Education, analyzed the progress in implementation of the measures set at the meeting of the RF Government held on December 9, 2004, which approved the priority avenues of the development of the education system in the Russian Federation, by the RF Ministry of Education and Science, and set new measures aimed at the further development of education. According to the data presented in the report, in 2005 there were prepared 5 draft laws concerning the introduction of a two tier system of higher professional education, improvement of the normative framework of the extended professional education, introduction of new mechanisms of attestation of school leavers and competitive selection of entrants to educational institutions providing professional education (introduction of the uniform state exam), as well as a number of other problems. There were approved the normative conditions pertaining to the attraction of employers to the elaboration and implementation of state educational standards, elaborated proposals aimed at the improvement of efficiency of management of federal property in the sphere of education, introduction of changes in the basic principles of remuneration of educators, provision of resources for the educational system. There was also elaborated the concept of the national system of evaluation of the quality of education. The Minister noted that restructuring of the network of educational institutions is underway and that there are taken active measures aimed at the re-equipment of educational establishments.

In his report, the Minister in general terms outlined the measures needed to attain the objectives set on September 5, 2005 by V. V. Putin, the RF President, in the sphere of education and presented assessments of financial resources and respective normative framework necessary for attainment of these objectives.

The Minister has at length dwelled on the analysis of measures envisaged in the draft federal targeted program of development of education in 2006 through 2010 elaborated by the Ministry of Education. The measures included in the draft program in order to implement the priority guidelines of the development of the education system in the Russian Federation are a complex of actions interrelated in terms of resources and schedules, which embrace changes in the structure, substance, and techniques of education, management system, organizational and legal forms of the subjects of educational activities, and financial and economic mechanisms. At the same time, the measures envisaged by the draft program are aimed at the attainment of the strategic objective of the meeting of the needs of citizens, the society, and the market as concerns education of high quality.

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