MOSCOW, April 26 Russia has decided not to
change its basic budget rule limiting the amount of oil revenues
which the government spends, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov
said in comments cited by RIA news agency.
He said senior economic officials had discussed the matter
at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.
"A decision was taken that our basic budget rule will remain
unchanged. And we will spend exactly within the limits of this
budget rule, that is to behave extremely responsibly and in
quite a disciplined way," RIA quoted Shuvalov as telling Rossiya
1 television in an interview.
Debate has been raging within the government over the rule,
which is designed to protect government finances against falls
in the oil price. The rule limits government borrowing to 1
percent of economic output and links government spending to the
long-run oil price.
Earlier this month Shuvalov said Russia might change the
rule to cope with an additional population of about 2 million
people in Crimea, which it annexed last month.
Russia's Economy Ministry has called for the rule to be
modified to enable more government spending to boost flagging
However, the Finance Ministry has fiercely opposed softening
the rule, arguing that it should instead be tightened to protect
vulnerable government finances.
Putin said earlier this month he "would not hurry" with
changing fiscal rules.
(Reporting by Jason Bush; Editing by Mark Potter)