IMF wants deeper reforms to unblock Ukraine aid

15 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

KIEV: The International Monetary Fund said Saturday it wanted deeper reforms and stronger anti-corruption measures before extending a second tranche of aid to Ukraine.

Goesta Ljungman, the IMF representative in Kiev said a team from the Washington-based lender had held talks with Ukrainian officials in late December and early January, reports AFP.

They focused on "strengthening governance of the National Bank; improvements to the legislative and regulatory framework for bank supervision and resolution; policies to reduce the medium-term fiscal deficit; legislation restoring and strengthening the anti-corruption framework and the judiciary; and energy policy," he said.

"The discussions were productive, but more progress is needed to support completion of the first review under the program. Discussions will continue," he added.

The IMF had in June approved a $5 billion (4.4 billion euros) line of credit with an immediate payment of $2.1 billion to help Ukraine fight the coronavirus pandemic. Four other tranches were scheduled in 2020 and in 2021 but none have been disbursed to the country of 40 million people, one of the poorest in Europe, due to the slow pace of reforms.

The Centre for Economic Strategy said the "main hurdle to unblocking a new tranche from the IMF is the reticence of the authorities to put an end to corruption."

"It is crucial to obtain a positive decision from the IMF before September," for Ukraine to be able to service its external debt.