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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 10, 2000

10 April 2000
Government Discusses Alternative Sources Of Energy
High-ranking officials from Tatarstan's Cabinet of Ministers headed by Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov on 8 April considered ways of increasing output from hydropower plants in Tatarstan. Minnikhanov suggested increasing the water level at the Tuben Kama water reserve in order to boost input on the Tuben Kama hydropower plant in Chally. This power plant produces about 20 percent of the electricity consumed in TR but only uses 30 percent of its capacity. An increase in the water level is expected to allow the plant to run at full capacity. Minnikhanov told reporters after the meeting that the first stage of this program would require a 6 billion ruble investment, which he considered to be "an affordable sum." A governmental research group has reportedly been ordered to estimate the possible effects of this measure on the environment and the safety of the residents within the Kama River basin. The general-director of Tatenergo, Ilshat Fardeev, told reporters the same day that Gazprom will cut natural gas supplies to Tatarstan by 10 percent as part of its program to limit gas consumption in the Russian regions. Tatenergo is an energy producing monopoly that uses natural gas to produce electricity in TR.

KamAZ EBRD Debt To Be Restuctured
The KamAZ Automotive company signed a memorandum of mutual understanding with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the KamAZ press service announced on 7 April. The EBRD reportedly agreed to restructure 50 percent of KamAZ's debt under guarantees by the Russian government and convert the other 50 percent into company shares. In November 1995, the EBRD granted a $100 million loan to the auto works in Chally. Later, KamAZ directors claimed that the plant was unable to pay off the debt due to "financial difficulties." By March 2000, the company reportedly owed the bank $141 million, including annual interest and fines. The two sides expect to realize the restructuring program by 15 July.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi