Medvedev Orders $16 Bln Far East Development Program

MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government on Tuesday to devise a new investment program with funding of no less than 100 billion rubles (around $3.22 billion) a year to develop the country’s depressed eastern Siberia and Far East regions by 2018, the government said on its website.

The program, totaling 500 billion rubles (around $16 billion), is to be finalized before July 1.

Priority for spending is to be placed on boosting the capacity of the Trans Siberian and Baikal-Amur railroads, the development of regional aviation, airport and seaport infrastructure, the building of highways and the energy sector.

Medvedev proposed on April 2 using cash from Russia’s Pension Fund to finance the government’s investment program for the Far East and Baikal area.

The program, which envisages loan funds and private investment as well as state funding, was first discussed at a government meeting on March 21.

Medvedev has said the development of Russia’s vast Far East area, which is home to just 6 million of the nation’s 142 million people, is a priority target for the federal government.

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