The World Bank's mission in charge of structural reforms will visit Moscow on Dec. 4, according to a report by Interfax.
Michael Carter, the bank's director for Russia, said the bank expects the mission to secure an agreement on the main lines of structural reforms to be prioritized by the government.
The fact that the mission will arrive in December implies that the World Bank will not extend a loan this year, a consensus on the program being the overriding goal, Carter said.
He had earlier said repeatedly that reforms in three areas are of key importance for the bank. A competitive environment must be created for enterprises. In particular, the legislative regulation of the economy must be made predictable while budget subsidies to enterprises must be discontinued. Furthermore, state expenditure must be reformed, Carter said.
State funds should be used more efficiently and control over spending stepped up. The bank also believes that interregional relations must be reformed and taxation rules made uniform.
Finally, the World Bank wants better social protection, in particular because enterprises must be reformed, Carter said.
In September 2000, the economic situation changed to such an extent that the Russian Cabinet said it no longer needed the $1.1 billion from the third loan for restructuring the economy, SAL-3. The loan, approved in December 1997, totaled $1.5 billion. Russia met the conditions needed to receive two installments, $100 million and $300 million. The World Bank has repeatedly said that the slowing rate of the structural reform worries it.
Meanwhile, the World Bank said Thursday it was negotiating a $150 million loan with Russia to help fight what a U.N. official has called the world's highest AIDS growth rate.
"This is really the time for action, particularly because AIDS is a serious problem among young people and so it's really a problem for Russia's future," Carter said.
Russian and foreign experts have warned the government that the spread of the killer disease could reach catastrophic proportions in Russia unless officials take quick action to reduce runaway growth rates.
Carter said the bank would lend about $150 million for fighting AIDS.