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Putin to support small businesses

MOSCOW, December  3 – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday pledged major financial support for small businesses to help them through the economic crisis.

"In 2009 serious resources from the federal budget — 10.5 billion rubles (357 million dollars, 281 million euros) — will be allotted to support small business, and up to 30 billion more will be sent through the Development Bank," Putin said, as quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.

"Control over this money will be most strict," Putin said, adding that the global crisis had forced the government to take "more resolute and quick measures and concentrate large financial resources" on small businesses.

The tax burden on small business is also due to be brought down from 15 to five percent, with President Dmitry Medvedev having signed a decree to that effect last week and regional authorities expected to pass similar laws by year\’s end.

Parliament is due to pass a bill sweeping away bureaucratic hurdles for small- and medium-sized businesses, as well, including involving business creation, Putin said.

"It is small business that can actively generate new jobs, new development and seriously influence diversification and effectiveness of the economy, which is what we most need now," he explained.

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