Russia must spend on infrastructure

By Richard High12 June 2008

Russia's deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov has said the country must raise spending on infrastructure development from the current level of 2.5% of GDP to 4%, reports state news agency RIA Novosti.

Speaking at last week's International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Mr Ivanov said the problem of poor transport links, in particular roads, required a long-term strategy, not a quick fix solution.

"In a country with such a large territory, these problems cannot be solved in five or 10 years. They can only be solved over several decades," he said.

There was also a big difference between Russia's cities and its regions. In most regions, roads repair, rehabilitation and construction is not happening quickly enough, he said. However, in several large cities there has been substantial progress.

"Certain roads are appearing. In St. Petersburg, a ring road has already been created, to the standard of European roads."

During the press conference, Mr Ivanov also cited a poll of participants at the International Economic Forum, which found that almost 75% of businessmen believed the government should prioritise spending on transport infrastructure.

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