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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 27, 1998

27 November 1998
Tatar President, First Deputy Premier On Credit Rating Downgrade
The international credit rating agency Standard and Poor's has reduced Tatarstan's rating for long-term currency credits because of the republic's default on an interest payment, ITAR-TASS reported. According to ITAR-TASS, Tatarstan is the first Russian region to have missed a payment under a $100 million credit given to local governments by the Dutch ING investment bank. The payment was due on 25 November.

Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said at a press conference after his return from India on 26 November that Tatar officials held intensive negotiations with ING to reschedule the payments. Shaimiev said Moscow has also defaulted on such loans. He added that it was important to wait and see when and how Russia would reschedule its international debts. First Deputy Prime Minister Ravil Muratov, also at the press conference, said Tatarstan has guaranteed ING that it will pay its debts. Muratov said the problem is not only Tatarstan's, but all of Russia's and that the problem would only be resolved once Moscow was able to pay off its debts.

1999 Budget Deficit Forecast At 5 Percent
The budget deficit for Tatarstan in 1999 is projected to be 600 million rubles or 5 percent of the total budget, Tatar television reported. The republic's 1999 draft budget was discussed in a session of the Budget and Finance Commission of the Tatarstan State Council on 26 November. In the draft budget, the government proposes to raise state wages next year by 13 percent and monthly pensions from 365 rubles to 420 rubles. Finance Minister Robert Musin told the session that the largest tax breaks will be given to KamAZ, YelAZ, and Tatneft. In support of goods manufacturers, the government plans on cancelling the tax on barter. Inflation is predicted to reach 127 percent in 1999.

On 3 December the draft budget will be introduced to the Federation Council. It will be discussed by the Tatarstan State Council on 21 December.

President Appoints New Administration Head
President Shaimiev appointed Ilkham Sabirov as the head of Tatarstan's Archa district on 26 November. The post became vacant earlier this month when the district's former head was appointed general director of Kazan's Soete dairy plant. The Archa District Council deputies approved of Sabirov's appointment at a 26 November session and elected him council chairman, Tatar media reported.

The 37-year old Sabirov, who is a mechanical engineer, headed the Archa Elevator company before the appointment.

Government Freezes Prices For Bread and Dairy Products
The Tatar government passed a resolution freezing retail prices for bread and dairy products until the end of the year. The cabinet, however, has raised the purchase price of milk by 25 percent in reply to the producers' request to liberalize prices. A forecast by the Tatar cabinet's Economic and Social Research Center said food prices will increase by 5 percent through December.

Compiled by G.Khasanova