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Russia to push back deadline for $360 bln spending on national projects to 2030

MOSCOW, July 13 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday supported a proposal to extend the deadline for a 25.7 trillion rouble ($363 billion) package of state spending, known as the national projects, by six years until 2030 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin suggested Russia give itself more time to complete the 13 projects, strategic spending goals ranging from infrastructure to education and healthcare, in light of the economic slowdown brought about by COVID-19 and the resultant strain on state coffers.

The pandemic has dealt a serious setback to the projects, which formed the cornerstone of Putin’s bid for re-election in 2018, including the key target of Russian GDP growth exceeding the global average by the time the spending reached its scheduled conclusion in 2024.

Russian GDP was forecast to grow by 3.1-3.2% in 2021-22.

“We have to work under tighter budget constraints,” said Mishustin.

“The spread of the coronavirus and its consequences for the global economy and our country, on the one hand have spurred development in certain segments of the market, but on the other hand have created new limits, slowing economic growth and constricting consolidated budget revenues.”

Mishustin said these changes must be taken into account when setting targets and suggested extending the deadline for Russia to achieve these national goals until 2030.

Putin, boosted by constitutional changes voted for by the electorate this month that would allow him to stay in power until 2036, on Monday ordered his administration to prepare draft decrees that would make the proposal a reality.

$1 = 70.7740 roubles Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Alexander Marrow, editing by Ed Osmond