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Internet users in Russia to grow to 21.5 mln by 2006, says minister

Moscow. 6 June. Interfax - The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade predicts that the number of Internet users in Russia will grow from 9 million to 21.5 million by 2006.

   German Gref, the economy minister, made this announcement at a meeting of ministry officials, and said that the Electronic Russia program will include a system for electronic procurements, the issuing of a number of licenses over the Internet, filling in tax declarations on-line, and e- control of exports, which could help with VAT refunds.

   Gref said that at present, only 5% of federal information resources are open to the general public, and 95% are in official networks, off- limits to citizens. He said that the government's decree about openness of information in executive federal bodies means that the bulk of information should be accessible to citizens. The government will soon look over the draft law about openness of information in executive federal bodies, which will be introduced to the State Duma, in the autumn, Gref said.

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