IMF wants more reforms for Ukraine to get next part of loan

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's Prime Minister Shmygal speaks during an interview in Kiev

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine must make more progress on reforms to unlock the next part of a $5 billion loan, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative in Kyiv said on Saturday, after what he described as productive talks.

"Discussions will continue," Goesta Ljungman said in a statement.

Online negotiations with the IMF mission, which ran from late December to Feb. 12, focused on strengthening governance of the central 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, as well as on energy policy, he said.

Following the IMF statement, Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said the government would take into account recommendations suggested by the mission.

"Have agreed on the next steps ... and clearly understand the expected results," Shmygal wrote on Twitter, without giving details.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will ask parliament to urgently vote on bills on judicial reform, his office said in a statement.

Ukraine expects to receive $2.2 billion spread across three equal tranches from the IMF in 2021, Central Bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko has told Reuters.

Last June, the IMF approved the $5 billion loan programme and disbursed the first tranche of $2.1 billion to help the economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Further loans have been frozen due to the slow pace of reforms.

The IMF was also concerned about the government's decision made in January to regulate household gas prices.

"Very predictable the latest IMF mission "departs" with no deal ... Gas price cap was the last nail in the coffin of hoping to get sign off," Timothy Ash, head of emerging market research at Blue Bay Asset Management, wrote on Twitter.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Editing by Michael Perry and Mark Potter)