KIEV, April 28 – Ukraine will probably in June receive its next installment of $1.7 billion from the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk said on Thursday.
Danyliuk made comments in an interview with Reuters a day after Parliament passed energy tariff reforms demanded by the IMF. Lawmakers would have to reconvene in May to pass laws that are a further precondition to securing the IMF funds.
In its negotiations with the IMF, he said Ukraine would seek to “fix” aspects of its planned pension reforms but declined to go into specifics regarding what Kiev might want to change.
With renewed cooperation there was a “very high likelihood” of Ukraine receiving a long-delayed third tranche of IMF loans in June, he said.
“We are in good shape now,” he said, when asked if Ukraine would be able to service its debt this year.
He stressed that he wanted Ukraine and the IMF to work as equals rather than seeing the IMF as a source for handouts.
“We are not looking at the IMF as a chocolate bar that you eat and how much energy and how many kilometers, miles you can run before you get another chocolate bar,” he said. “They need to understand that we are equal partners.”
Danyliuk joined Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman’s newly formed cabinet in April, which took power after months of political turmoil that stalled reforms and Ukraine’s efforts to stamp out endemic corruption.
Ukraine’s chief international backers – the IMF, the U.S. government and the European Union, have pressed Kiev to accelerate the pace of reforms, and the EU has publicly warned it not to renege on existing commitments.
The economy has been battered by a Russian-backed separatist conflict in its industrial east, although Danyliuk said the economy has bottomed out. He declined to give precise predictions for growth this year.
Danyliuk said he wanted to turn the finance ministry into an “engine that drives reform” to show potential foreign investors that Ukraine aims to make their life easier.
A priority is transforming an inefficient tax office by merging it over the next two years with the customs service to create an efficient, combined system that will crack down on corrupt practices. (rt/ez)