News & Analysis

Ukrainian PM denies IMF bailout delay over corruption concerns

Ukraine’s prime minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk, has denied that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was stalling an agreement on a new cooperation programme with Ukraine over corruption concerns.

“The rumours that the programme has been put on hold and that the IMF has given up [cooperation with Ukraine] are just manipulations one should not believe in,” wrote Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, quoting Mr Honcharuk.

“We have an absolutely normal working process with colleagues from the International Monetary Fund,” he said, adding that the Ukrainian government is in contact with the IMF on a daily basis.

According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal 9WSJ), the IMF has put a bailout programme for Ukraine on hold over concerns that the government will not be able to recover billions of US dollars allegedly siphoned from banks during the country’s 2014-15 financial crisis.

“The IMF told [Ukrainian] president Volodymyr Zelensky that he must aggressively pursue the missing money to deliver on his vow to clean up a financial system sapped by fraud, money laundering and theft,” the WSJ reported, adding that the looted money is estimated at 15 billion US dollars.

Ukraine and the IMF are expected to strike a deal on a new, three-year long cooperation programme. The National Bank of Ukraine expects the country’s government to seek a long-term programme worth 8-10 billion US dollars, with the first tranche estimated at two billion US dollars delivered by the end of 2019.