MOSCOW (Reuters) – The federal budget for 2021 has been calculated based on too optimistic estimates and may be revised in the first quarter of next year against the backdrop of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, said the head of the Accounts Chamber, Alexei Kudrin.
The draft budget for the next three years, which presupposes maintaining the deficit throughout the entire period, was submitted to parliament by the Ministry of Finance only last week. The ministry has set the budget deficit of the Russian Federation for 2021 in the amount of 2.76 trillion rubles, or 2.4% of GDP compared to the hole in the treasury this year at 4.71 trillion rubles, or 4.4% of GDP.
Speaking at parliamentary hearings in the Federation Council, former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said that official estimates of GDP dynamics for 2020-2021 do not take into account the second wave of coronavirus that has already begun and in reality will be worse.
In his opinion, the fall in GDP this year will be greater – 4-5% instead of 3.9%, and in 2021 the recovery growth will be more modest than planned by the Ministry of Economic Development (3.3%), which means that both the macro-forecast and the based on the budget.
“It is clear that winter and the first quarter will be difficult for economic growth, and indicators for next year may be adjusted,” Kudrin said.
He also criticized the government's tax innovations, which should additionally bring 2.0 trillion rubles to the treasury in three years.
“This is more than 0.5 percent of GDP or more increase in the tax burden on the economy during the crisis, when all these processes have not yet recovered,” he said, adding that the best solution would be to spend more reserves for the sake of stability of the tax system.
Shortly before submitting the draft budget to parliament, it turned out that the Ministry of Finance had found a source of replenishment for the treasury in increasing taxes for a number of industries – from metallurgy to the tobacco industry – and revising benefits for the oil industry in order to return to the budget rule in 2022.
(Daria Korsunskaya. Editor Dmitry Antonov)