By contrast to Russia’s export, the rise in the value volumes of which from the Far-Abroad countries appeared roughly equal to that from the CIS (+29.1% against 31.8%, respectively), the geographical structure of import in January to July 2006 has mirrored a more vigorous advancement in cooperation between Russia and the former group of countries vs. the CIS nations, with the respective growth rate in the noted period 2006 to that of 2005 accounting for 30.7% against 7.6%. A far greater appreciation of the Ruble against USD and Euro that that against the CIS countries’ currencies contributed much to the respective ultimate effect.
According to the IET forecasts, the rise in export and import indicators over the period between October this year and March 2007 should make up an average 19%. During the period in question export to and import from the CIS countries, vs. the respective period 2005-06, should post a growth of 18% and 29%, respectively. The rise in the nation’s balance of trade with all the countries and those outside the CIS should account for 19 and 8%, respectively, while the volume of balance of trade should make up USD 80 bn.
Thus the 2006 projections suggest a rise in the indicator of export to all the countries worldwide should account for 18%, while in that to the non-CIS countries – 13%. As concerns the respective import figures, they should account, accordingly, for 20 and 25%.
In July 2006 federal Law # 145-FZ ‘On introducing amendments to Art. 3 of the Law of the Russian Federation “On customs tariff” was passed. The law reads that export customs duties on rude oil products shall be sent for the term of two months, but they shall become effective as of the first day of the second calendar month following the end of the period of monitoring; the RF Government’s rulings on their economic force should be published no later than in ten days prior to their coming in force. This would enable one to synchronize timelines of the coming in force of decisions on adjustment of the noted export duty rates.
The earlier existing mechanism suffered a substantial deficiency, that is, a considerable gap (twenty days) between the period during which new duty rates applicable to oil products were computed and the period during which they came in force. That led to losses of the federal budget. For example, according to some estimates, between May and June 2005, when the customs duty rates rose by 2 USD for just 20 days, the government lost some USD 6 mn., because of the lag; however, when in January to February 2006 the customs duties sky-rocketed at 17 USD, the losses became ten-fold vs. the earlier noted period. Having come in force, the Law should help the government mobilize extra financial resources in to the federal budget.
According to the RF Government Resolution of September 16, 2006, “On approval of the rate of export customs duty on crude oil and crude oil derivatives produced from bituminous layers exported from the territory pf RF to beyond the borders of the states that participates in agreements on the Customs Union”, since October 1, 2006, the export duty on oil shall be raised from USD 216/t to a new, record-breaking value of USD 237.6/t.
N. Volovik Reforming the Law on Local Self-Governance in the City of Moscow Early summer 2006 saw modifications of the Moscow city law on local self-governance being brought in consistency with Federal Law # 131-FZ. The most substantial modifications were introduced to the provisions that regulate organizational fundamentals of local self-governance and division of powers between the Mayor’s office and municipal authorities.
The Law “On introducing amendments to Moscow city Law of Nov. 6, 2002 “On organization of local self-governance in the city of Moscow” was passed on May 31. 2006. With its enactment, the city Law was brought in line with the Federal Law “On general fundamentals of organization of local self-governance in RF”. The newly amended act has introduced substantial modifications into the regional legal provisions that regulate organizational fundamentals of local self-governance in the city and changes the list of matters of local concern the solution of which had been mandated to local selfgovernance bodies of the city districts.
As concerns regulation of organizational fundamentals of local self-governance, the amendments introduced to the Moscow city law have set principles of shaping a system of local self-governance bodies that fully comply with the Federal Law. More specifically, this concerns the obligation of the presence of the position of head of a municipality in the system of bodies and functionaries of local self-governance of intra-city municipal entities, or districts. Like the Federal Law, the newly adopted Moscow city act provides for two ways of electing a municipal entity head, that is, by means of municipal elections or by members of a representative body of local self-governance (municipal council) from their corps. Once elected by the former procedure, the municipal entity head may run an executive and administrative local self-governance body (municipality) or chair the municipal council.
Should he (she) be elected out of the representative body, he (she) is nominated a chair of the municipal council, while the position of the municipality head is to be filled by contract. Given this, it is prohibited to occupy both positions.
It should be noted that yet prior to enactment of the noted city law, Moscow had seen a widely spreading model of organization of local self-governance under which the municipal entity head was elected from the municipal council and thus became its chairman, being appointed, at the same time, the municipal entity head. The modifications currently introduced in the charters of municipal entities in the part of the organizational fundamentals of local self-governance keep the model practically unchanged, except for the way the municipality head is appointed – in compliance with the federal and the newly adopted city acts, he 9she) should be appointed using competition procedures.
Another avenue of modifying the city law, which should have substantial effects on the local selfgovernance system in Russian capital, is associated with changes in the list of matters of local concern.
Interestingly the noted basic Federal Law, which has triggered a large-scale, nationwide municipal reform, left organization of local self-governance in the federal-level cities, namely Moscow and St.
Petersburg, practically completely beyond the framework of its regulation. In compliance with its Art.
79, the setting of fundamentals of the territorial organization of local self-governance, the identifying the list of matters of local concern, regulation of revenues sources for local budgets, and the composition of municipal property of intra-city municipal entities form elements of the city authorities’ mandate. By contrast, so far as other RF regions are concerned, these particular mandated facets are regulated on the federal level.
It should be noted that prior to the adoption of the new Moscow city law the local self-governance bodies’ mandates were set by the city legislation and they had appeared far narrower than other municipal entities across the country would enjoy. At the time, the self-governance bodies of 125 intracity municipal entities (aka rayons, or districts) had delivered practically no municipal services. Accordingly, the proportion of local budgets in the city’s consolidated on was negligible. For instance, in 2005, the local budget expenditures accounted for o.3% of the city consolidated budget, with the budget sufficiency per capita rate making a meager Rb. 148, or dozens time lower than in other municipal entities across the country. It should be particularly noted that a considerable share of the funds was spent on the local self-governance bodies themselves – such expenditures accounted for over 70% of municipal budgets.
Such an insignificant role of local self-governance in Moscow was traditionally justified by the “principle of integrity of the city’s economy”. The predominant belief was that any decentralization is pregnant with much looser control over the city and collapse of its infrastructure. It was the noted principle to which Federal Law 131-FZ emphatically referred while delegating practically all the powers on regulation of organization of local self-governance in the two Russian capitals to the regional level.
Passed in May 2006, the aforementioned Moscow city Law not only has failed to improve the situation with emergence of local self-governance in Moscow and expansion of the local authorities’ spheres of responsibility, but also to a significant extent diminished their possibility for exerting influence on local communities’ life within the borders of local districts. More specifically, the list of matters of local concern now lacks such powers as assistance to mass media and provision of material and technical support of their operations; accounting of local residents in need for improvement of their housing conditions; and support to development of small businesses in a given territory.
That said, the local authorities’ rights were limited not only by the exclusion from the list of matters of local concern of any specific problems - as well, the newly amended Moscow city Law sets a closed list of matters of local concern. Accordingly, all the powers the local authorities may enjoy under other legal acts may not fall into the group of matters of local concern and local authorities may not attempt to exercise those. Consequently the local self-governance bodies have found themselves deprived of one of the critical instruments of influence on development of their territories, for their most significant powers were those associated with coordination of local development documentation. However, those powers were granted to them not by the law on local self-governance, but Moscow city Act of July 9, 2003, # 50 “On procedures of preparation for and obtaining permits for construction, reconstruction of buildings in the city of Moscow”. In compliance with tat statute, before seeking approval from the Mayor’s office, city local development plans were subject to the compulsory endorsement by the district local self-governance bodies.
In compliance with the newly passed law on local self-governance, the respective bodies in Moscow have found their so-called “deliberative ” powers extend. They include the power to submit proposals to various executive agencies of the city, among others. More specifically, now local self-governance bodies are allowed to submit to the Moscow city government suggestions to the plan of general development of territories of the city districts and administrative okrugs in the part of matters of development of the territory of a given municipal entity. In addition, local self-governance bodies hold a deliberative vote, so far as development of draft targeted programs, development of projects of housing territories, parks, as well as projects on organization and modification of operational routes and modes of public transport, among others, are concerned. However, today, the city legal acts have failed to identify procedures of interaction between its executive power and local self-governance bodies. This makes the involvement of the latter in the decision-making process on the above matters problematic.
In addition, deliberative powers also comprise those associated with the necessity for local prefekturas to coordinate with local self-governance bodies their proposals on allocation of land for parking lots, placement of non-stationary retail sales objects, and matters of the targeted use of non-apartment facilities located in the housing fund.
In addition, the newly amended law granted the municipal authorities with a broader power to participate in the citywide events. More specifically, they were granted a possibility to take part in organization of activities with respect to the public ecological control, holding control over protection, maintenance and use of especially protected natural territories located on their respective territories, as well as in organization of operations of local public security offices, conscription office and a number of other activities that appear significant for their local residents.
It must be noted that the delegation of certain facets of the government mandate to the district level has somewhat expanded their sphere of activity – suffice it to note that today the Moscow city local self-governance bodies exercise powers on establishment and organization of operations of district commissions on minors and protection of their rights. As well it is planned to delegate them the powers on organization of the local work with children, teenagers and youngsters and those on development of physical-culture and sports work with the population, with the respective bill already submitted to the Moscow City Duma.
M. Slavgorodskaya Issues Discussed at the RF Government Meetings on September 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2006 г.
The following issues were discussed at the RF Government meeting on September 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2006: performance of the Federal Targeted Programs and Federal Targeted Investment Program within the first half-year 2006, the RF Pension Fund budget execution in 2005, issues of enhancement of the system of Government purchases in Russia; there were also analyzed and adopted the drafts of the Federal Laws on reduction of the cost of the land areas, privatized by individuals and on diminishing of barriers for foreign citizens, entering the bank system of Russia.
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