Ukraine gains access to next tranche of bailout funds

19 May 16

Ukraine has secured initial approval for the release of $1.7bn worth of long-awaited bailout funds from the International Monetary Fund in July.

The third tranche of funds has been held up for eight months amid allegations of corruption and political squabbles, leaving Ukraine’s war-torn economy in dire need of cash.

Following a government reshuffle in April and repeated commitments to the required reforms on behalf of officials, in particular the new prime minister Volodymyr Groysman, the country looks set to gain the green light on the money’s release, as long as it can implement the changes in the next two months.

Ron van Rooden, IMF mission chief for Ukraine, said the period would act as a “litmus test” for Ukraine, proving the government’s ability to retain broad domestic and international support for its policies.

“It is therefore important that the authorities boost their efforts to entrench fiscal and financial stability, decisively enhance transparency and the rule of law, and reform the large and inefficient state-owned enterprise sector.”

Rooden said this would “pave the way” for the IMF’s executive board to approve the release of funds in July of this year.

Disbursement of IMF funds would also unlock additional western aid, contingent on the fund approving its bailout tranches. This includes a $1bn loan guarantee from the US, as well as monies from Europe and the UK.

Overall, Ukraine is waiting on $3.4bn in order to plug a hole in its budget and avert further financial turbulence.

Earlier this year the World Bank said that, with sustained progress on reforms, the government could turn the economy around, from a 10% contraction last year to 1% growth in 2016.

Ukraine’s economy was plunged into recession following an uprising that ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, subsequent attempts to sever structural ties with Russia and a conflict with pro-Russian separatists who opposed this pivot towards Europe.


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