KUCHMA EMPOWERS FINANCE MINISTRY WITH SHAPING TAX POLICIES. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has signed a decree putting the Finance Ministry in charge of taxation policies, a key requirement for the IMF to resume its $2.6 billion aid program to Ukraine, AP reported on 27 August. The decree deprives the State Tax Administration of policy-making duties and orders the Finance Ministry to set tax collection targets and propose new taxes. The State Tax Administration retains the right to monitor tax collection. JM

UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENT TELEVISION CHANNEL SAYS IT FACES CLOSURE. Tax authorities in Kyiv on 26 August ordered that the bank account of the private STB television station be closed because of the station's failure to submit tax documents for examination, AP reported on 27 August. STB President Dmytro Prykordonnyy told journalists that his station cannot submit the required documents because they are being held by eight other state bodies. "I haven't dealt with television proper for the past two months. Instead, I've been working with the nine controlling agencies," Prykordonnyy commented. He added that the channel will have to close in September unless it is granted access to its money. STB has vowed to give equal air time to each of the leading candidates in the upcoming presidential ballot. JM