On February 12, a group from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Washington office will arrive in Ukraine to assess the country’s reform progress. The visit precedes the IMF’s upcoming review, which will determine whether Ukraine will receive the next tranche of aid from the IMF.
Ukraine’s cooperation with the IMF is part of the organization’s four-year Extended Fund Facility programme, which is set to last until March 2019 and could see Ukraine receiving a total of $17.5 billion.
According to the IMF’s Resident Representative in Ukraine Goesta Ljungman, the key areas of reform up for discussion are: the establishment of an anti-corruption court, adjustment of domestic gas tariffs, fiscal policy, privatization law, as well as land and pension reform.
“It's important to focus on the reforms that are going to unlock this review. And also to focus on the overall economic policies that will ensure that the stability seen now in Ukraine following the crisis in 2014 and 2015 can be preserved, that growth can accelerate and that this growth can be sustained in the medium time,” Ljungman told Hromadske.
Ljungman stated that while Ukraine has made positive steps towards fulfilling the IMF’s conditions for aid so far, there are some areas of concern, most notably the establishment of a specialized anti-corruption court in Ukraine.
“There is broad consensus that the draft legislation [on establishing an anti-corruption court]...does not meet the requirements under the IMF programme,” Ljungman said, adding that, “what's really needed now is to take a step back and ensure really that the draft legislation is strengthened so that the fight against high-level corruption can be successful,” Ljungman said.
Another area highlighted as a “key element” of the IMF programme with Ukraine is land reform. As Ljungman told Hromadske: “Land market reform is important in Ukraine to increase investments and increase the productivity in the agricultural sector.”
Despite the challenges Ukraine may still face before the next tranche of IMF aid is released, Ljungman believes that this goal is “feasible” and “within reach” for Ukraine.
Hromadske sat down with Goesta Ljungman to discuss Ukraine’s reform progress and what this means for the country’s ongoing cooperation with the IMF.
/Interview by Angelina Kariakina
/Text by Sofia Fedeczko