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IMF reaches deal with Ukraine to unlock next loan installment

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An IMF team has reached an agreement with Ukraine on economic policies that would unlock a delayed $700-million loan installment, the fund said Monday.

The agreement, which is still subject to approval by the International Monetary Fund’s board of directors, follows months of talks amid concerns over political pressure on the country’s central bank.

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Authorities agreed on “an updated set of economic, financial, and structural policies to help address the economic and health crisis caused by COVID-19,” IMF team leader Ivanna Vladkova Hollar said in a statement.

The program’s focus includes “safeguarding central bank independence” and “reducing the role of the state and vested interests in the economy to improve the business environment,” she said.

Kiev in June 2020 received $2.1 billion of a $5-billion, 18-month aid package to help deal with the fallout from the pandemic.

However, four additional loan tranches were delayed due to the slow pace of reforms in the country, one of the poorest in Europe, and the country is seeking an extension to June 2022.

“Continued steadfast implementation of strong policies... will pave the way for the IMF Executive Board’s consideration of the review, expected in November,” Hollar said.

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