According to the business daily RBK News (www.rbc.ru), Russian Deputy Minister of Economy Klepach briefly commented on the GDP growth forecast for 2013 by saying “it won’t even reach three percent”, significantly reducing the previous forecast of 3.6 percent. The Deputy Minister promised to present the official forecast in April, but it is already clear that the tendency is not encouraging. Following a 0.8 percent growth in January, Russian GDP grew by mere 0.1 percent in February. Given the economic slowdown, it is expected that the central government will have to increase transfers to regions experiencing budget deficits. Prime Minister Medvedev stated that the Government plans to merge two types of subsidies provided to the regions – incentives for the expansion of the tax base and increased efficiency of the local administration – as well as to consider their increase. In 2012, the Government transferred 10 billion rubles (USD 325 million) in the form of incentives to the local administrations that implemented measures to increase their tax base, RBK reports.

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