• ACI Russia

08/01/1998 14:21:10 IMF's Fischer meets Russia's Chubais

MOSCOW, Aug 1 (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund deputy managing

director Stanley Fischer met Russia's chief foreign debt negotiator Anatoly

Chubais on Saturday to review how Moscow is meeting the conditions of last

month's IMF rescue package.

"The aim of the talks is to see if measures are being implemented as agreed

under the protocol last month," said one source close to the talks, in which

Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov also took part.

"If there are any problems, they should be removed so thatthere will be no

difficulties when it comes to releasing the second tranche."

The IMF, which led the $22.6 billion bail-out package to tide the government

over a critical hump in debt repayments, released $4.8 billion to Russia last

week and is due to pay out a second $4.3 billion tranche in September.

Fischer arrived in Moscow on Friday, when he met Chubais and Prime Minister

Sergei Kiriyenko. He was due to leave early on Sunday.

The source said his visit was also timed partly to coincide with the

activation on Saturday of the government's package of anti-crisis measures, many

of which President Boris Yeltsin signed into law late on Friday.

The president signed the core of a new tax code aimed at simplifying the

complex system, approved casino and gaming taxes, withdrew subsidies to closed

cities and approved other tax changes including a cut in profit tax to 30

percent from 35 percent. Another measure changed the budget code.

On Saturday, the amount of individual income deducted in contributions to

the state pension fund rose to three percent from one percent and the number of

foodstuffs and children's goods benefitting from reduced rate value added tax

was cut.

Fischer had earlier met the hardline new head of Russia's state tax service,

Boris Fyodorov, who may have passed on the good news that Gazprom, the natural

gas company which is Russia's biggest firm, had paid all its taxes for July on

time, averting threatened sanctions.

Gazprom said in a statement, however, that it was, in turn, still owed large

sums by state gas consumers, highlighting a vicious circle of debts which the

government is trying to break.

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