Russia plans to triple its beer tax to nine rubles (20 cents) a litre in 2010 to raise money for the budget, the finance ministry said.

This weekend, the ministry said on its website that the levy would rise by 50% a year from 2010 to 2012.

The tax next year will rise "three times, or by 190% from the 2009 level", the ministry said in a budget presentation to the government. The tax is three rubles (seven cent) now.

Finance minister Alexei Kudrin had said the tax will rise to 10 rubles a litre in 2012, according to remarks posted on the ministry's website last week and then retracted.

The budget plan was passed by the government and sent to parliament for approval, a press official at the ministry said. The beer tax will reach 10 rubles per litre in 2011 and 12 rubles per litre in 2012, said the official.