Fifth of Russians work in 'shadow economy': statistics chief

1st April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Almost a fifth of Russia's working population are employed in a "shadow economy" without formal contracts or tax contributions, the statistics chief said in an interview published Friday.

"You could call it an informal labour market and undisclosed payment for labour. According to today's estimates, around 13 million people work there, or 17-18 percent of the economically active population," Alexander Surinov, head of the state statistics agency, told government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

He stressed that figures for this "shadow economy" did not include those employed in illegal spheres such as prostitution, drug dealing, pornography and piracy.

The "shadow economy" accounts for around 16 percent of the GDP and includes covert transactions by legal entities as well as the casual labour market and people who raise home produce for their own use, Surinov said.

A census carried out in October revealed that the country's population had fallen by 2.2 million people, amid a falling birth rate and low life expectancy for men. The last census was conducted in 2002.

© 2011 AFP

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