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At present, Russia displays a high dependency on imports in respect of some agricultural products and foodstuffs. The overall share of imported foodstuffs in this country amounts to 36 %. In this connection the share of imported meat is fluctuating at the level of 41 %, that of imported milk at the level of 27 %. One should be wary of the fact that the lately emerged trend towards a growing share of imports not only persists, but is becoming even more pronounced in livestock products, because the prices of products on the global scale are continuing to rise. During the past year, as a result of the food crisis, the international prices of foodstuffs increased by 40 %.

In the first eight months of 2008 Russia imported 1,030,200 tons of meat to the value of 2.98 billion USD, against 840.6000 tons to the value of 2.05 billion USD in the corresponding period of last year. The supply volumes of imported fish, canned milk, sunflower oil, and alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages were likewise increased. It is noteworthy that some import items displayed multifold growth. For example, import of canned milk and cream increased from 3,000 to 17.800 tons.

The USA renewed their supply of beef to Russia. Between January and August 2008 the. USA supplied to the RF 28,956 tons of beef to the total value of 67.5 million USD. In this connection, in August export of US beef reached its monthly historic high, its value amounting to approximately million USD Similarly, the volume of supply of US pork to Russia in the first eight months of 2008 displayed an upward trend. By comparison with the corresponding period of 2007, its growth amounted to 174 % and reached the level of 141,446 tons, while the total value of these supplied increased by 177% and became 302 million USD. Export of pork in August 2008 also reached a new monthly high, amounting to 61.9 million USD.

Owing to the protectionist measures introduced by Russia, there was a twofold decline in the supplies of white sugar, and in that of raw sugar by one quarter.

The RF Federal Government Commission for Safeguard Measures in Foreign Trade and Customs and Tariff Policy recommended, in late July, that the RF Government should introduce, from December 2008 through May 2009, a seasonal duty on raw sugar in the amount of 220 - 270 USD per ton. In effect, this duty is prohibitive; and the purpose of its introduction is to protect domestic producers.

During two years from 2006 through 2007 the rate of the import duty on raw sugar remained at the level of 140 USD per ton. From December 2007 onwards, by decision of the RF Government, a seasonal duty on raw sugar was introduced in the amount of 220 USD per ton, and then from 1 June it was once again lowered to 140 USD per ton.

According to the RF Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the average monthly price of raw sugar on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), from June through August amounted to 277.USD per ton, having gone up by 30 USD by comparison with the results of the previous three-month monitoring.

At present, the RF Government is introducing further urgent measures, designed to support domestic agriculture. Thus, it was decided to grant a loan to Rosselkhozbank (the Russian Agricultural Bank) in the amount of 25 billion rubles, to finance the enterprises belonging to the agroindustrial complex.

Besides, the State is trying to compensate the producers of foodstuffs for the rise in some categories of costs: it was declared that agricultural companies will be recompensed for growing fuels and - lubricants costs to in the amount of 10 billion rubles. Besides, the Government is discussing the measures aimed at restricting the growth of the prices of mineral fertilizers.

All these restrictive government measures will, no doubt, have a positive effect on producers by somewhat abating their financial problems, but one should not expect any substantial production growth in the short-term perspective.

In order to provide a solution to the problem of Russias food security, a task force has been created, to which it has been assigned to analyze the challenges created by the global financial crisis and to develop the Food Security Doctrine, which is to be later approved by the RF Presidents edict. This document will be designed to provide a foundation for elaborating the legal and normative documents, concepts and programs in the sphere of ensuring the Russian Federations food security and further development of its agroindustrial complex, including its basic branch agriculture.

Budgetary and Tax Policy . Kirillov On October 21, 2008 the RF Government Decree On additional measures to support the financial system of the Russian Federation was issued, which implies to allocate up to USD 625 billion for the anti-crisis purposes. The draft federal budget for the 2009-2011 was estimated, based on the price of oil at USD 95 per barrel, despite the prevailing trend to declined oil prices in recent months. There were no unexpected changes in the performance of the federal budget throughout January-August 2008.

The top news of the recent months is the financial crisis. In this regard, the greatest event in the Russian budgetary sphere was the RF Government Decree On additional measures to support the financial system of the Russian Federation, which implies to invest the assets of the National Welfare Fund in the Russian financial organizations.

According to the Decree, the following terms should be adhered to in connection with the National Welfare Fund at the deposits of the Bank for Development and External Economic Activity:

a) the funds should be placed on deposits in the Russian rubles, U.S. dollars, EURO and GBP;

b) the maximum amount of funds in rubles, should be RUR 625 billion.

Up to RUR 450 billion can be allocated on the deposits under the following terms: a) funds should be reimbursed no later than Dec. 31, 2019, interest payments from the placement of funds within the complete term should be carried out quarterly at the rate of 7 per cent per annum.

b) the placement of funds on deposits should be carried out by the Federal Treasury upon the decision of the Ministry of Finance.

The draft law on federal budget for 2009 and the plan for 2010-2011 are under discussion in the RF State Duma. However, despite the global financial crisis and the decline in the world oil prices, the macroeconomic indicators, on which the budget revenue is estimated are not adjusted. The draft federal budget for the 2009 was estimated, based on the price of the Russian oil at the level of USD per barrel. By the end of October of the current year, the average price of Urals brand has declined approximately to USD 60 per barrel.

Table 2 presents parameters of the RF federal budget within 2006 2008. Due to the fact that the Ministry of Finance has not published figures for January-September, the current survey of the budgetary sphere is based on the data, published by the Treasury of the Russian Federation, which are disclosed with two-month lag.

TABLE Parameters of the RF Federal Budget in 2006 2008 (% in GDP) January - January - Au2006 August 2007 gust Revenues 23,5 23,2 23,9 24,Expenditures 16,2 15,8 18,4 15,Deficit ()/ Surplus (+) 7,4 7,4 5,5 8,Source: RF Ministry of Finance, IET estimates Within January-August 2008 revenues of the federal budget amounted, in accordance with President pre-election trend estimates, to 24.4 per cent of GDP. This level of revenues is an average for the past three years, and still exceeds the level of the same period of 2007 (Fig. 1) 38% 35% 32% 29% 26% 23% 20% . . . . . . . .

2005 2006 2007 Fig. 1. RF Budget Revenue within 20052008, per cent in GDP Let us consider the federal budget revenues in terms of basic budget lines (see Table 2). Compared with January-August 2007, during the same period of 2008, export customs duties and taxes on mineral extraction and profit taxes has increased by 1.6, 1.2 and 0.8 percentage points of GDP respectively. These articles constitute 56per cent of total revenue in the federal budget.Significant backlog from the level of the last year demonstrated the value added tax on goods and services sold in Russia, % in the amount of 1.1 percentage points in GDP. However, the share of that tax in the total tax revenue is 12.8 per cent, which prevents revenue from this budget line significantly affect the entire federal budget revenues.

Meanwhile, the revenue from other taxes, excise duties and fees are slightly different from the figures of the preceding year, no more than 0.05 percentage points in GDP.

TABLE Parameters of the RF federal budget within 2006 January January 2006 August 2007 August TOTAL BUDGET REVENUES 23,58 23,19 23,91 24,1. Corporate income tax 1,92 1,99 1,97 2,2. Unified social tax 1,19 1,31 1,24 1,3. Tax on gods and services, sold in 3,82 4,55 4,61 3,the Russian Federation territory 3.1.Value-added tax 3,47 4,20 4,27 3,3.2. Excises on excise goods 0,35 0,35 0,33 0,4. Taxes on goods imported into the 2,27 2,83 2,76 2,territory of the Russian Federation 4.1. Value-added tax 2,20 2,74 2,68 2,4.2. Excises on excise goods 0,06 0,08 0,08 0,5. Tax on mineral extraction 4,11 3,54 3,45 4,6. Import duties 1,28 1,54 1,50 1,7. Export duties 7,12 5,64 5,64 7,Source: RF Treasury, IET estimates The structure of RF federal budget revenues in Russia as broken down by federal agenciesadministrators is presented in Table 3. As expected, revenues, administered by the Federal Tax Service have decreased within January-August 2008 by 0.3 percentage points of GDP, as compared with January-August 2007. Revenues, administered by Federal Agency for Federal Property Management and other federal agencies are insignificantly different from the revenue for the same period of preceding year, (no more than 0.06 per cent of GDP). As far as the share of those tax administrators makes only about 5 per cent of the it does not provide an expressed effect on the total tax revenue.

TABLE RF budget revenues in 2006 2008 (% versus GDP) January- January2006 August 2007 August Taxes and other payments administered by 11,27 11,64 11,50 11,the Federal Tax Service Taxes and other payments administered by the Federal Customs Service 10,76 10,12 9,98 11,Receipts administered by the Federal Agency for Management of Federal Property 0,26 0,20 0,25 0,Revenues of the federal budget administered by other federal structures 1,25 1,23 2,14 1,Total revenues 23,54 23,19 23,87 24,Source: RF Ministry of Finance, IET estimates Budget expenditures for five consecutive months are maintained at the level of 16 per cent of GDP, which can be regarded as a positive trend. As of January-August 2008, the federal budget expenditures amounted to 15.6 p.p. in GDP. As shown in Fig. 2, within 2005-2008 the level of 16 per cent in GDP is the average indicator for the second and third quarters over the past four years. If in the fourth quarter of 2008 this level of budget expenditures is kept up, one can regard it as the result of prudent policy in national public finance. However, apparently, it is more likely that level of expenditures at the end of 2008 will be significantly higher, as compared with the end of 2007, due to the measures to overcome the financial crisis.

20% 18% 16% 14% 12% 10% . . . . . . . .

2005 2006 2007 RF budget expenditures in 2006 2008 (% versus GDP) Table Financing of the RF Federal Budget in 2005-2008 (in per cent of GDP) January- January2006 August 2007 August Federal issues 1, 1,77 2,50 1,Including expenditures associated with the servicing of federal and 0,municipal debt 0,45 0,44 0,National defense 2, 2,44 2,56 2,National security and law enforce2,ment 1,96 2,05 1,National Economy 1,30 1,20 2,13 1,Housing and public utilities 0,20 0,14 0,91 0,Environmental protection 0,02 0,02 0,03 0,Education 0,80 0,80 0,91 0,Culture, cinematography and mass 0,media 0,18 0,22 0,Health care and sports 0,55 0,46 0,60 0,Social policy 0,76 0,65 0,66 0,Interbudgetary transfers 5,63 6,06 5,84 5,Total expenditures 16,08 15,71 18,39 15,Source: RF Ministry of Finance, IET estimates Let us compare the indicators of individual budget lines for January-August 2008 with the relevant indicators of preceding year (see Table 4). The utmost decline (in percentage versus GDP) is observed in: national defense (-0.32 per cent), intergovernmental transfers (-0.16 per cent), national security and law enforcement (-0.12 per cent) and education (-0,11 per cent). Herewith, the share of those expenses % amounted to 68.4 per cent of the total federal budget expenditures, allocated within January-August 2008.

The largest upsurge (in per cent of GDP), compared with the same period of the last year was recorded in expenses for the national economy (0.31 per cent), federal issues (0.08 per cent) and health care and sports (0.07 per cent). Expenditures for those budget lines reached 30 per cent of the total federal budget expenses. There were minor changes in remaining articles (less than 0.01 per cent of GDP).

Therefore, in general the federal budget expenditures within January-August 2008 in terms of GDP share are less than relevant indicators of 2007, but the current backlog is insignificant.

As of September 1st, 2008, the total volume of the Reserve Fund in rubles made at RUR 3,504.billion, or 8.9 per cent of GDP, while the National Welfare Fund was RUR 784.51 billion, or 2.0 per cent of GDP. The negative dynamics in those funds replenishment is recorded to the fact that oil and gas revenues are initially accumulated in the federal budget before they reach the level of annual oil and gas transfer, and only then they are transferred to the Reserve Fund and National Welfare Fund.

Transfers of oil and gas revenue to the accounts of national funds was started since August in the current year.

16% 14% 12% 10% % 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% . . . . . . . .

2006 2007 Fig. 3. Aggregate volume of the RF Reserve Fund and the National Welfare Fund in 20062008, % in GDP Meetings of the Government of the Russian Federation in October M. Goldin The most important issues considered at the RF Governments Presidiums meetings were: the completion of preparations in the housing and utilities sector for the autumn and winter period of 2008 2009; reforming of the housing and utilities sector in the RF; the drafts of the concept of longterm socioeconomic development of the RF in the period until 2020, and the RF Governments plan of action for its implementation.

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