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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 30, 2004

30 July 2004
President Joins Unified Russia's Discussion On Social Reform
President Mintimer Shaimiev on 29 July joined a meeting of the Unified Russia party's central political council, of which he is a member, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. The council discussed a draft law on financial payments to the poor and amendments to regional legislation that is necessary for locally introducing the reform of the system of in-kind benefits. After debate, the pro-Kremlin party is expected to submit the draft federal law for its second reading in the Russian State Duma.

Water And Heating Networks To Be Offered To New Owners
Tatarstan Minister of Construction, Architecture, and Housing Marat Khusnullin told a ministerial conference on 29 July that water suppliers and heating networks will be transformed into joint-stock ventures in the second half of 2004. Blocking minority stakes of 25 percent-plus-one share will be left in the hands of the municipality, while the rest should be sold to investors, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day.

About 50 percent of companies currently working in Tatarstan's housing sector are privately owned, but the state-owned ventures control a 75 percent share of the housing-services market. The total cost of necessary repair works at republican heating, water-supply, and sewage networks is estimated at some $476 million. Khusnullin emphasized that the mentioned sum can only be raised with the help of outside investors.

Tatarstan To Get Republic-Wide Governmental Computer Network
Tatarstan's cabinet is preparing a decree on creating a republican system of computer communications that would allow access the republic's computer network, Intertat reported on 29 July. The connection, which will reportedly be available free of charge, should be used to circulate government documents among different levels of power.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Ufa To Mark Decade Under Power-Sharing Treaty With Moscow
Ufa will host a conference devoted to the 10th anniversary of the signing of the power-sharing agreement between the Russian federal and Bashkortostan's republican government on 3 August, Bashinform reported on 29 July. The conference will consider legal aspects of power sharing within federative states and current issues of budget relations between the center and the periphery.

Bashkortostan's Budget Revenues Grow
The State Statistics Committee announced on 29 July that Bashkortostan�s budget revenues reached 20.8 billion rubles ($717 million) in the first half of 2004, suggesting a budget deficit of less than 1 percent. Profits from state-owned industries and other enterprises accounted for 67 percent of budget revenues, which showed 9.9 percent growth on the figure in 2003.

Meanwhile, 31.5 percent of state-owned ventures remain unprofitable, costing the budget some 1.6 billion rubles ($55 million).

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi