MOSCOW - Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on Tuesday forwarded the draft 2004 budget to the State Duma for consideration, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.
The draft budget is the country's fourth consecutive surplus budget. It envisions a surplus of around 80 billion rubles (US$2.6 billion), or 0.5 percent of gross domestic product.
The draft envisages GDP of 15.3 trillion rubles (US$493.55 billion), compared with a forecast of 13 trillion rubles (US$419.35 billion) this year. Spending is projected at 2.66 trillion rubles (US$88 billion), or 17.4 percent of GDP, while revenues are budgeted at 2.74 trillion rubles (US$91 billion), or 17.9 percent of GDP.
Revenue projections are based on the assumption of an average price of US$20 a barrel for Urals blend crude oil, Russia's main export. But Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin said that even if the price drops, budget spending won't be affected.
"Whatever the economic situation concerning oil prices is, the budget will be implemented regardless," Kudrin said, according to Interfax.
The State Duma, which is currently on recess, is expected to hold the first reading of the budget on Sept. 19. The ITAR-Tass news agency said the budget's four required readings will be held during a shorter period this year due to December's parliamentary elections.