The Soviet Union announced modest economic targets for the next five years and disclosed that its oil production is unlikely to grow much in the near future. Draft guidelines for the new five-year plan for 1981-85 were published in the main newspapers, setting our figures about which there had been much speculation and debate in the West.
The guidelines said there would be an increase in production of crude oil and gas condensate to between 12.4 and 12.9 million barrels per day in 1985, with most of this coming from western Siberia. This would mean at best a marginal rise of around 1 percent a year for the next five years.
Analysts said that, in view of recent failures by the Soviet Union to meet its oil output targets and increasing difficulties in the remote west Siberian fields, actual output over the next five years might well be lower.
The target for growth in industrial output over the five-year period is 26 to 28 percent, significantly lower than the goals set for previous plans. Analysts said that in view of this disappointing performance over the past few years there would be doubts about Soviet ability to meet the growth target of around 5 percent a year.
The guidelines made consumer needs a top priority, with production of consumer goods rising by 27 to 29 percent. But few details were given, and it seemed unlikely that living standards would rise any faster than they have over the past five years.
The plan guidelines will will be discussed and possibly amended by the Communist Party's 26th congress in February, and will then be passed into law by the Supreme Soviet (parliament) in the second half of 1981.