KYIV, Nov 10 – Ukraine has asked the International Monetary Fund to send a team to the country as soon as possible to check reforms and to resume lending, Kyrylo Shevchenko, the governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, said.
Shevchenko, along with top officials from the Finance Ministry, is holding four-day negotiations in Washington through November 13 with the leadership of the IMF, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
"The continuing cooperation with the IMF is of strategic importance, and there are no other options on the table,” Shevchenko said in comments released by the NBU. “We are ready for the mission to commence its work as soon as possible."
Shevchenko made the comments after meeting with Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, the Head of the IMF mission in Ukraine.
The developments come days after Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal assured business leaders that an ongoing political crisis, which threatens to derail Ukraine’s anti-corruption reform, will not have significant impact on the IMF’s decision.
"No, it will not,” Shmyhal said. “Ukraine clearly declares and shows its European intentions: its intentions to continue and actively pursue anti-corruption reform, and all reforms that are targeted and spelled out in our international commitments."
The political crisis emerged last week after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy suggested terminating judges following a controversial court ruling that had reversed anti-corruption reforms. The ruling undermines Ukraine’s support at the IMF, but Zelensky’s attempt to replace the judges contradict the constitution and cannot be easily implemented.
The IMF warned Ukraine on November 2 that continuing the anti-corruption reform is essential for new lending
"Maintaining and enhancing the effectiveness of all of Ukraine's anti-corruption institutions is key to unlocking stronger and more equitable growth and is therefore an essential commitment under the IMF-supported program," the IMF said.
The IMF approved $5 billion 18-month Standby loan program for Ukraine on June 9, disbursing immediately $2.1 billion to help the country cope with COVID-19 pandemic. The second and the third installments were supposed to be $700 million each, followed by installments of $560 million and $980 million.
The loan, however, appeared to be suspended after Ukraine had failed to meet requirements after projecting wider 2021 budget deficit targets.
The World Bank’s $350 million loan and the European Union’s EUR 600 million loan were also suspended as they are tied to the resumption of lending by the IMF. (tl/ez)