Finance Minister urges Government to increase nest egg

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says the country can more than double its reserve fund in 2012, by allocating $32.4 billion from its oil and gas revenues in 2011.

He’s urged the Government to consider this amendment by February, 1, the deadline by which the reserve fund should be increased by law.  The reserve fund currently stands at $25.2 billion.

"This is obviously still lower that the pre-crisis levels of 2008. Our policy is to prevent growth of spending and create new budget strategies for the implementation of anti-crisis measures. All in all, we are prepared for the worsening of the crisis, but we hope it will not happen," said the Minister.

Russia’s treasury nest egg helped the country to get through the financial crisis of 2008. It was created among other things to cover the country’s foreign debts and some budget expenses. In November last year, the head of the IMF Christine Lagarde recommended Moscow put aside more of its oil revenues while the price is high. Russia earned $176 billion from the sale of oil and gas in 2011.

Siluanov also says the Ministry of Finance is planning to cut the amount of money put on deposit at the country’s banks.  This measure helped Russian banks fight liquidity problems in the second half of 2011. “At the moment there are around 350 billion roubles in deposit accounts, and we are going to cut down this volume gradually,”  he said, noting that it’s the role of the Central Bank to help overcome liquidity problems.