MOSCOW, June 15 (Reuters) – Russia will hold Group of 20
nations to promises to put their fiscal house in order when it
assumes the presidency of the global policy forum towards the
end of this year, its summit ‘sherpa’ told Reuters.
Russia plans a compliance check on pledges to cut budget
deficits, curb debt and reform voting rules at the International
Monetary Fund made since the G20 became the main venue for
leaders to tackle the world financial crisis.
“We will be very devoted to doing an audit of previous
commitments,” Deputy Economy Minister Stanislav Voskresensky
told Reuters in an interview.
G20 leaders have since 2008 promised to halve budget
deficits, reduce national debts and redistribute voting rights
for the IMF’s member states to give emerging market nations a
greater say, he noted.
“We see budget deficits declining in the OECD, but it’s
still not a 50 percent decline,” said Voskresensky.
The aggregate national debt in the Organisation of Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD), which groups developed
nations, has meanwhile risen above 106 percent of gross domestic
product this year from 93 percent in 2009.
The focus on fiscal prudence will allow President Vladimir
Putin to assert bragging rights when he takes the G20 presidency
in December – Russia’s national debt is 10 percent of GDP and
the central bank holds half a trillion dollars in reserves.
The world’s largest oil producer runs a balanced budget and
- in its contribution to financial stability – plans a new
medium-term fiscal rule that seeks to end its reliance on oil
prices of over $100 per barrel to balance the budget.
Russia is on the verge of joining the World Trade
Organisation and has pledged to cut its average import tariffs
by three percentage points over the next seven years. “We are
looking pretty good here,” said Voskresensky.
A deal to reform IMF voting is expected to evade leaders at
next week’s G20 summit in Mexico, he said, and the issue could
spill over into Russia’s one-year presidency. The annual G20
summit will be held in St Petersburg on Sept. 5, 2013.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Jason Bush, Ron
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