UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TO REDRAFT 1999 BUDGET BY 1 DECEMBER. After all parliamentary caucuses rejected the government's 1999 draft budget (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 November 1999), the parliament announced on 18 November that it is sending the draft to the parliamentary Budget Committee for redrafting by 1 December, Ukrainian Television and Ukrainian News reported. Deputies criticized the draft budget for its "anti-social character," saying it provides for the financing of only 10 percent of the country's social needs. Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko said deputies wanted to increase budget expenditures by 140 million hryvni ($41 million). Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko suggested a "limited and controlled" money emission to finance the budget deficit. JM

UKRAINIAN CABINET DECREES ADDITIONAL BUDGET, PENSION FUND PAYMENTS IN 1999. The government has approved a program to boost budget revenues by 2.7 billion hryvni ($789 million) and payments to the state pension fund by 1.3 billion hryvni in 1999, AP reported on 18 November. To achieve that goal, the cabinet plans to force debtor companies to pay at least 30 percent of their debts to the state or face the seizure and sale of their assets. The government will also seek to privatize several energy companies, the Ukrtelecom monopoly, and several state-run hotels. JM

KUCHMA APPOINTS STATE TELEVISION HEAD... Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has appointed Information Minister Zinoviy Kulyk as president of the National Television Company, Ukrainian Television reported on 18 November. Kulyk replaces Mykola Knyazhytskyy, who headed the television company for only six weeks. Kulyk commented that Knyazhytskyy conducted a wrong personnel policy by appointing "a large group of
officers...including a former USSR KGB officer and military intelligence officers" to the company's management. JM

...DENIES RAISING FUNDS FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. Kuchma has instructed the Ukrainian Security Service to investigate alleged cases of fund raising for the presidential election campaign, Ukrainian Television reported on 18 November. According to the presidential administration, unknown persons requested businessmen in some Ukrainian cities and regions to contribute money to the presidential election campaign. "Of course, the president has not charged anyone with such a task," presidential press secretary Oleksandr Martynenko commented. JM

BELARUSIAN REGIONS TIGHTEN RESTRICTIONS ON FOOD SALES. Almost all oblasts in Belarus have recently imposed stricter food rationing, "Zvyazda" reported on 18 November. In Brest Oblast, an individual may purchase only 0.2 kg of butter, 1 kg of sugar, and 1 kg of sausage on any single occasion. Butter, eggs, and sugar may be purchased in the oblast only in the evening, after "the departure of the last trains to Ukraine," to prevent the smuggling of foodstuffs out of the country, according to the authorities. Similar restrictions have also been introduced in Homel and Vitsebsk Oblasts, on the border with Russia, as well as in some raions of Hrodna Oblast that border on Lithuania. JM