IMF mission sets date for Ukraine reform review

KIEV - An International Monetary Fund mission will arrive in Kiev on Thursday to assess progress made under its US$17.5 billion bailout programme, the Fund's Ukraine representative Jerome Vacher said in a statement on Wednesday.

Under the programme, Ukraine has already received almost US$10 billion this year to shore up its finances crippled by separatist conflict and years of economic mismanagement and corruption.

However the disbursement of the next US$1.7 billion tranche has been delayed as the IMF said the government and parliament, which are in disagreement over proposed tax reforms, needed more time to sort out fiscal polices for 2016.

"The mission will continue policy discussions with the Ukrainian authorities in the context of the second review of the Fund-supported economic reform programme," Vacher said.

A key requirement under the IMF programme is cutting the 2016 budget deficit to 3.7 per cent of gross domestic product from the current level of 4.1 per cent.

Last week Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said Ukraine risked losing the support of its Western backers if the squabble over the size of tax cuts delays or derails promised reforms.

Apart from the IMF loans, Ukraine also hopes to receive a further US$2.7 billion this year from other lenders, including a third US$1-billion loan guarantee from the United States.

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will visit Kiev on Friday and assess Ukraine's progress in its reform drive, Yatseniuk said in a government meeting on Wednesday.


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