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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 1, 2003

1 April 2003
KamAZ To Join The Russian-Belarusian Automotive Consortium
Pavel Borodin, state secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union, told RIA-Novosti on 31 March that Tatarstan's KamAZ automaker will join the new consortium of both countries' automotive industries to be established in April 2003. The consortium will also include Russia's Ural automobile plant in Chelyabinsk, Belarus's Minsk Automotive Plant, and a number of other unnamed enterprises.

Gas Tariffs On The Rise
The retail tariffs for natural gas consumed in Tatarstan rose by 19.7 percent as of 1 April 2003 to 70 kopeks (2 cents) per cubic meter , RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day, citing Tattransgaz, which represents Russia's Gazprom monopoly in the republic.

The hike was due to the increasing wholesale price for gas. In 2002 the Tatar public consumed only 13 percent of the 14 billion cubic meters of gas in the republic.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Ufa Administration Issues 300 Million-Ruble Bond
The Ufa city administration on 24 March approved a resolution to issue a 300 million-ruble ($9.6 million) bond, Finmarket reported on 31 March. The 552-day bond is planned to be issued in the second half of April at an interest rate of 3 percent and will be managed by the UralSib bank. In May 2002, the Ufa administration issued its first 300 million-ruble one-year bond.

NefAZ Service Centers To Be Set Up In Tatarstan
Heads of the Tatar KamAZ automotive concern and the Bashkortostan-based NefAZ bus plant met in Chally to discuss problems in the production of NefAZ buses on the KamAZ-produced chassis, reported on 29 March. KamAZ General Director Sergei Kogogin told the meeting that the bus business has strong potential for KamAZ. Tatar Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Vladimir Shvetsov, who attended the meeting, said the republic is interested in developing the production of NefAZ buses to become profitable and is ready to establish NefAZ service centers in Kazan and Chally. NefAZ has so far sold 594 buses, 70 percent of them to Tatarstan, the agency said. The production of the NefAZ buses on KamAZ-produced chassis started in Neftekamsk in mid-2001.

TsDUM Renamed To Islamic Board Of Holy Russia
A plenum of the Ufa-based Central Muslim Religious Board (TsDUM) of Russia passed a decision to rename the organization into the Central Islamic Religious Board of Muslims of Holy Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 31 March. TsDUM Chairman Telget Tajetdin told the news agency that the board wants to stress through the use of the word "Islam" in the board's name that it is the most peace-loving religion in the world. Tajetdin added that the inclusion of the expression "Holy Russia" was made to point out that "we represent two traditional religions which peacefully coexisted for many centuries on the same territory." "We believe that a global religious concord is not a myth but objective reality and Russia will become the first country where it will be embodied. We, supreme leaders of Orthodoxy and Islam, are doing everything we can" to achieve this, Tajetdin said.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova