KYIV, Nov. 24 - The International Monetary Fund said on Saturday it will continue talks with Ukraine about a new support program in coming weeks following significant progress in discussions so far with Kyiv, Reuters reported.
An IMF mission has been in Ukraine for a week as part of talks between Kiev and the fund to replace a $3.9 billion stand-by arrangement that expires in January.
“The IMF staff team had constructive and productive discussions with the Ukrainian authorities and commended them on the considerable progress made during the last few months in advancing reforms and continuing with sound economic policies,” it said in a statement.
Ukraine wants to secure an IMF deal worth around $5 billion-6 billion over three years to support its economy and signal to investors that the new government of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is committed to reform.
“Discussions will continue in the coming weeks,” the IMF said.
Finance Minister Oksana Markarova said earlier this month that Ukraine has been moving quickly toward agreeing a new three-year loan program with the IMF. She denied reports that the talks for the new deal have stalled.
Markarova was in Washington in October for talks with the IMF that had focused on stability and normal operation of the banking sector.
The financial status of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank that has been bailed out by the government in 2017, is a sensitive issue and is part of the talks, people familiar with the issue said.
The IMF is concerned that the government may be considering returning the bank to its previous owner Ihor Kolomoyskiy, a billionaire, who is believed to be backing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
“PrivatBank is a very difficult issue,” a person said.
Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said earlier this month that the government expected to receive 12 billion hryvnias ($485 million) next year from selling state-owned firms, and that it would do everything to bring down inflation. (rt/ez)