MOSCOW, Sept 1 Russia cannot spend more of the
$83 billion parked in its National Wealth Fund (NWF), President
Vladimir Putin said on Monday, after the government recently
raised the cap on how much of the fund can be used for domestic
Spending pressure on the government has increased as a
result of the Ukraine crisis, which has led several Russian
companies to request state finance to compensate for the closure
of western capital markets.
The NWF, a fiscal reserve financed from oil taxes, has
become a prime target for lobbyists, notably since Russia has
earmarked 60 percent of the Fund for internal investments,
particularly infrastructure projects.
Putin indicated no objection to such lobbying.
"If someone thinks that the funds earmarked from the NWF
need to be directed towards other goals, in particular... goals
for creating (geographical) territories for priority
development, then by all means," he said, in comments quoted by
"But I can say at once that we cannot now increase
expenditures from the NWF."
Putin was speaking at a regional development meeting in the
Far East, where a dispute arose between Russian Railways and the
Far East Development Ministry over which projects should have
Russia recently raised the cap on domestic investments from
40 percent of the fund, leading to concerns the Kremlin is
taking risks with fiscal reserves intended to provide future
support for an overstretched pension system.
Last month Russia's largest oil company Rosneft
asked the government for a $40 billion cash injection, to be
financed from the NWF, to help it weather western sanctions
imposed in response to the Ukraine crisis.
Russia's economy minister later said that Russia may provide
some state support for Rosneft but significantly less than the
amount asked for.
(Reporting By Jason Bush, editing by John Stonestreet)