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Putin Outlines New Measures to Tackle Financial Crisis

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin outlined a number of new measures to combat the financial crisis at the 10th annual congress of his United Russia party on Thursday.

Putin, who has headed the party since April, said Russia would allocate up to US$1 billion for the International Monetary Fund to assist countries in particularly difficult financial situations, and would extend loans to China and India for Russian equipment purchases.

The Russian premier also proposed profit tax breaks in an effort to help companies weather the financial turbulence.

"The rate of the profit tax is to be reduced by four percentage points as of January 1, 2009 at the expense of the federal budget. The sum in question is over 400 billion rubles (US$14.5 billion). All this money will stay in the economy next year and keep working," Putin was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Russia's current profit tax stands at 24 percent, of which 6.5 percent is paid to the federal budget and 17.5 percent to regional budgets.

Putin also suggested a raise in the monthly unemployment benefit, and assured depositors that the government would guarantee 98.5 percent of all their savings held in Russian banks.

(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2008)

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