ST PETERSBURG, Russia May 24 Russian Economy
Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Saturday that proceeds from
the state selling a stake in the country's largest oil producer
should go to the federal budget and not to the energy holding
Russia is considering bringing forward its plans to sell 19.5
percent in the world's top listed crude producer. The economy
and the finance ministries have been pushing for the deal,
wanting cash for the federal budget.
In the past, however, selling state property in Russia did
not always mean extra budget revenues, as proceeds were
sometimes retained by state companies.
"It should be an all-encompassing decision that we do this
deal with the understanding that as a result the budget receives
the money," Ulyukayev told journalists on the sidelines of the
St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Although the federal budget may come with a surplus of 0.5
percent of gross domestic product this year thanks to strong oil
prices and a weaker rouble, government finances are vulnerable.
Russia needs funds to secure the financing of Crimea,
annexed by Russia from Ukraine in March, at a time when a
slowing economy and Western sanctions threaten tax revenues and
access to financial markets.
The state holding Rosneftegaz controls 69.5 percent in
Rosneft and almost 11 percent in the world's largest
natural gas producer Gazprom.
The government is still waiting for proceeds from last
year's sale by Rosneftegaz of a stake in the oil company TNK-BP
to Britain's BP, worth nearly $5 billion, a part of a
bigger deal in which Rosneft acquired TNK-BP for $55 billion.
"Rosneftegaz should transfer 100 percent of those proceeds
to the budget," Ulyukayev said.
Russia's once ambitious privatisation plans have been
hitting obstacles, hindered both by poor financial market
conditions and the reluctance of some government officials to
sell state assets.
(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Lidia Kelly,
Editing by Jason Bush and Stephen Powell)