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
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.