UKRAINE TO PRINT MONEY TO PAY BACK WAGES. Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko said on 22 December that Ukraine will print money next year to cover its mounting wage arrears, AP reported. He added that the cabinet plans a monetary emission of 1 billion hryvni ($290 million), but he did not say how he expects the money emission to affect the 1999 inflation rate, which has been forecast at 19 percent. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT DECREES CUTBACK IN ARMED FORCES. The Supreme Council on 22 December passed a bill reducing the current 320,000 servicemen by 10,000 and the army's 100,000 civilian staff by the same amount in 1999, Ukrainian media reported. The Ukrainian government has said it can spend only some 1 billion hryvni ($290 million) on the army next year. The Defense Ministry, however, maintains that the armed forces need at least three times that amount. JM

KUCHMA CANCELS FINES TO ENCOURAGE TAX COLLECTION. President Leonid Kuchma has signed a decree canceling fines on companies that pay all their 1998 taxes by February 1999, Ukrainian News reported on 22 December. Kuchma's decision is seen as a measure to improve poor tax collection. The nationwide tax debt skyrocketed from 2.3 billion hryvni in January ($1.1 billion at the then exchange rate) to 10.2 billion hryvni ($3 billion) as of 1 December. JM