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Russia: IMF Official Says Tax Problems Must Be Fixed

Washington, 2 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - The First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Stanley Fischer, says the problem of non-payment of taxes is getting worse in Russia and must be dealt with to keep the IMF loan program on track.

Fischer told the U.S.-Russian Business council meeting in Washington yesterday that Moscow will have to start enforcing tax collections immediately, including from some politically powerful people. He did not identify anyone, but Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Yuli Vorontsov earlier acknowledged that such giant enterprises as Lukoil and Gazprom are not paying their taxes.

Fischer spoke as the head of the IMF, Michel Camdessus, is in Moscow talking with senior Russian officials, including Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. They said the talks are going well.

Camdessus is there as part of the IMF-Russian negotiations on 1997 targets for this year's reform program under the three-year $10.1 million loan begun last year. Discussions on such problems as tax collections will follow setting the yearly targets as the two sides work to resume monthly disbursements from the loan.