Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma yesterday vetoed the Verkhovna Rada’s July 23 law which had “forbidden” tariff increases on public transport and on such communal services as public housing rent, heating and electricity. According to that law, tariffs may be raised only after the state pays the arrears on wages and on social benefits. This amounts to an open-ended freeze on tariffs for mostly bankrupt services whose operating costs end up being subsidized by the state. In vetoing the law, Kuchma cited its “damaging consequences to the national economy.” This was one of several populist laws voted by the leftist-dominated parliament just before the summer recess. Kuchma faces a politically costly fight over these laws when the Rada returns from recess on September 10. (Ukrainian agencies, August 12)
PUSTOVOYTENKO ISSUES DIRE THREATS TO OFFICIALS OVER UNPAID TAXES.