Putin says average pay must rise

At the first session of Russia’s new cabinet, economic matters took centre stage. The meeting focused on the Economic Development Ministry's three-year forecast, which will form the basis for calculating the budget this summer.

New Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was critical of what he said was a modest growth forecast by the ministry.

“It doesn't smell like innovative development. Has anyone taken a look at this forecast? It's extremely weak. We should regard these figures as a minimum level. Basically, there is still a lot more that must be done”, he said.

Putin said average wages should rise to around US$1,200 dollars a month by the end of the three-year period, and that the number of people living below the poverty line must be drastically reduced.
 
“The growth in average wages will be no less than about 10% a year. The forecast for the average wage by 2011 is 29,000 rubles. Currently it’s 13,500 rubles. The percentage of people under the poverty line should fall below 10%. Unemployment has to be below 4.5% – currently it’s 6.3%,” Putin said.