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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 10, 2003

10 January 2003
Small Industrial Cities Attract More Foreign Investment Than Kazan
Kazan attracted some 38 percent of the more than $47 million received by Tatarstan in foreign investment in 2002, the city press service reported on 9 January. Only $900,000 of the Kazan investment was characterized as direct, while the remaining $17 million was represented by long-term loans in the foodstuffs industry. Similar to the previous years, Switzerland topped the list of investors, which also included Cyprus, France, Turkey, China, Moldova, and Germany. Despite being Tatarstan's first city, in 2002 Kazan attracted less general foreign investments than Elmet, the republic's oil-industry center, while Tuben Kama, which hosts most of the republic's oil-processing industries, outpaced the Tatar capital in direct investment.

More Companies To Pay Oil-Product Tax
Midkhet Shagiekhmetov, deputy head of the Russian Tax Ministry in Tatarstan, told "Nalogovie Izvestiya" weekly on 9 January that the amendment to Russian Tax Code levying a tax on companies engaged in whole and retail sale of oil products will increase the number of payers of this tax in Tatarstan from three to more than 160. Before 2003 the oil-product tax was imposed only on oil-processing companies. Although 100 percent of revenues from this tax used to be directly transferred to the federal budget, beginning in 2003 Moscow will get 40 percent, 10 percent will be transferred to Tatarstan's budget, and 50 percent to the republic's road fund. The tax is expected to bring more than 1 billion rubles ($31.3 million) in revenues, representing some 2.2 percent of the total republican budget.

Tatarstan's GSM Market To Get More Crowded
The Middle-Volga inter-regional association of radio-telecommunication systems, SMARTS, began operation in Tatarstan's second city Chally, joining the two GSM providers, Santel and BeeLine, already operating there, "Vremya i Dengi" wrote on 9 January.

Meanwhile, another inter-regional cell-phone company, MegaFon, has set up its first stations in Tatarstan and plans to expand its network to all 12 regions of the Volga Federal District by the end of 2003, Intertat reported on 9 January.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Rakhimov, Putin Discuss Socioeconomic Affairs, Youth Education
Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov met on 7 January with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the latter's departure from the Abzakovo Mountain ski resort in Bashkortostan's Beloretsk Raion, the Bashkir presidential press service reported on 9 January. The two leaders discussed the socioeconomic development of the republic and of the country as a whole, including the necessity of ensuring that officials at all levels of authority carry out their duties and observe the law. The presidents also discussed the moral and physical education of the country's youth, as well as ways of creating the necessary conditions for providing such education.

Legislature Begins New Round Of Harmonization
Speaking at a plenary session of the Bashkir State Assembly's Legislative Chamber on 9 January, Bashkir Parliamentary Speaker Konstantin Tolkachev said that the republic's legislators are charged with implementing the provisions of the amended Bashkir Constitution and with harmonizing local legislation with the new constitution within six months, Bashinform reported the same day. With the goal of carrying out this harmonization, deputies passed amendments to the laws on municipal service, on power sharing between republican state bodies and organs of local self-government, and on Bashkortostan's participation in the international exchange of information. The legislative body also annulled the law on guaranteeing the freedom of activities of public associations.

Official Denies Reports Of Outbreak Of Mad-Cow Disease
Galinur Qunaqbaev, an official in the Bashkir Agriculture Ministry, has denied reports by the Russian media about an outbreak of mad-cow disease in Bashkortostan's Qaraidel Raion, Bashinform reported on 9 January. Qunaqbaev said that the death of 11 cows at a farm in the village of Tatarskii Uryush over the past 20 days was the result rabies , not mad-cow disease. Qunaqbaev said that an examination of the animals at the Birsk Veterinary Laboratory confirmed this. Bashkir First Deputy Chief Sanitary Doctor Leonid Korobov said that there have not been any known cases of mad-cow disease in the republic, Bashinform reported.

Number Of Reported Cases Of HIV Increases Drastically In 2002
The number of registered cases of HIV in Bashkortostan increased by 63 percent in 2002, reaching 3,754 infected individuals, Bashinform reported on 9 January. According to the report, 81 percent of known HIV carriers are under the age of 30, while 73 percent are believed to have been infected with the virus through injections with tainted needles.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova