20 Feb 2020 14:26

IMF expert team led by mission head in Ukraine starts working in Kyiv

KYIV. Feb 20 (Interfax) - A group of experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Ron van Rooden, head of the IMF Mission in Ukraine, started working in Kyiv on Thursday, the IMF office in Ukraine told Interfax.

The office was unable to say when the visit would end.

A government source told Interfax that preliminarily IMF representatives will work in Kyiv until the middle of next week.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva discussed the preparation of a new cooperation program with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Munich on February 15, after which he fund's Ukraine office said a number of IMF experts planned to visit Kyiv for "technical discussions on policies aimed at achieving growth and stability."

Earlier the IMF said that the fund expects Ukraine to fulfill all the necessary prior actions to enable its directors to finally approve a new Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Ukraine. The new program has five focal points: strengthening the supremacy of law, the fight against corruption, opening up the markets and reducing the role of oligarchs, strengthening guarantees of the National Bank of Ukraine's independence and stable fiscal policy.

In December 2019, the president, government, and National Bank reached an agreement with the IMF on a new three-year, $5.5 billion EFF. The IMF's board of directors will make a final decision after Kyiv takes the final preparatory measures, including the adoption of a number of laws by the Verkhovna Rada. Those measures were expected to be adopted by early February, but the parliament shifted its attention to a bill on the land market, delaying their consideration by several weeks or even months.

The previous cooperation program expired on February 17 as part of a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The program was adopted on December 18, 2018 and envisaged a loan of 2.8 billion SDR or $3.9 billion, however Ukraine was only able to receive the first tranche of 1 billion SDR or $1.4 billion.