Ukraine calls on further IMF assistance

21 Apr 20

IMF support is “like blood for the human body” during the coronavirus pandemic, the president of Ukraine has said as his country prepares to deal with the economic fallout of the crisis.

volodymyr-zelenskiy-shutterstock_1367734469.jpg

Volodymyr Zelenskiy

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Ukraine faces a rising number of Covid-19 cases, and a government-enforced lockdown is expected to continue well past the predicted peak of the country’s outbreak in early May.

The government’s fiscal response to coronavirus will amount to at least 66bn hryvnia (£2bn) – equivalent to 1.3% of 2019 GDP – and more schemes are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, particularly support for businesses.

Ukraine has worked closely with the IMF in the past few years to enact economic reforms, but because of Covid-19 the fiscal deficit is almost certain to rise – and president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the country may need international aid payments or loans in the aftermath of the crisis.

He said cooperation with the IMF will open the door for other countries to help Ukraine, because it shows the country is worthy of confidence.

“I talk to the leaders of other countries almost every day – with the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, Canada, Germany,” he said.

“All of them are focused on one thing. They say: if there is [cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF], we will support you.”

Ukraine already has an $8bn agreement in place with the IMF, conditional on land and banking system reforms, but there are discussions ongoing to extend that support in light of the pandemic.

“The signal [to other countries] is of trust in Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said.

“Now [IMF assistance] is like blood for the human body.”

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