Russian economy grew 3.5% in 2012: PM
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DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 23 AFP
January 24 2013, 00:12AM
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says his country's economy grew by 3.5 per cent in 2012 but that Moscow is aiming for annual output growth of more like five per cent.
"If you look at the general macro-economic situation in Russia, it's rather stable, last year economic growth amounted to 3.5 per cent, inflation was at 6.6 per cent," Medvedev told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.
Urging foreign firms to invest in Russia, Medvedev said Moscow had set ambitious goals for attracting international capital.
"To achieve at least five per cent per annum we need to see investment growing for at least a few years in a row by 10 per cent annually," he said.
"We have very ambitious goals in the investment field, to increase the volume of investment from 20 to 25 per cent of GDP, to increase investment in transportation, in energy infrastructure... and foreign direct investment would be instrumental in achieving this goal."
Medvedev, whose country is leading the G20 this year, also acknowledged that Russia had an image problem, with many taking part in the forum raising concerns about corruption and the country's over-dependence on energy exports.
Responding to a vote among participants at his talk naming governance issues as their top concern, Medvedev said: "At the moment, that reflects the current image that exists in the world of Russia and its problems. I'm not saying the image is correct."
He said Russia, the world's top oil producer, did not want see oil and gas prices rise.
"We're not interested in excessively high energy prices because they hinder the development of the global economy and the Russian economy," Medvedev said.
"I believe the current oil prices are more or less optimal both for consumers and producers," he said. "Our economy is indeed greatly dependent on commodity exports, but it is overstated."
He insisted Russia was making progress on tackling governance issues and would continue to make efforts.
"The top priority of the Russian government, my top priority as prime minister, would be increasing efficiency of all public bodies," he said.
"It would be wrong to say we are standing still. I believe we have already achieved much of what we planned," he said, pointing to the stabilisation of Russia's population decline and its joining of the World Trade Organisation.