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Putin: gas companies tax insufficient; Gazprom shares tumble

Putin: gas companies tax insufficient; Gazprom shares tumble
Gazprom’s shares shed 1.5% following the Russian Prime Minister’s statement that the tax burden on the gas sector is insufficient and economically unjustified.

Vladimir Putin’s comments come at a meeting of Finance Ministry officials, where the country’s President-elect said Russia has sectors with a low tax burden that is economically unjustified and socially unfair.  “We're talking mainly about taxing natural resources extraction, primarily gas. We just have to be very careful here. The potential is of course there, it's clear, but we have to act in such a way as not to undermine the investment plans of our extractive companies,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday Russia's Vedomosti newspaper quoted Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Shatalov saying the Russian Finance Ministry has suggested raising the Mineral Extraction Tax for gas in 2013 and 2014 not only for Gazprom but also for independent gas producers.

Putin has also ordered the Finance Ministry to monitor banks' interest rates on loans to businesses and individuals on a quarterly basis, in order to fight unjustified raising of rates.