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22 Feb, 2024 11:55

IMF close to unlocking funds for Ukraine – Bloomberg

Plans to release the tranche come as the US aid package for Kiev remains stalled in Congress
IMF close to unlocking funds for Ukraine – Bloomberg

The International Monetary Fund could agree to unlock $900 million for Ukraine as soon as Thursday, Bloomberg has reported, citing officials with knowledge of the talks.

The disbursement would be part of a four-year $15.6 billion loan that the Washington-based institution approved for Ukraine last year, and would come as a $60 billion US aid package remains stalled in Congress.

Staff at the IMF have assessed whether Ukraine has met the conditions for the payment, and are expected to wrap up their work and make a statement in Washington on Thursday, Bloomberg wrote, citing the officials.

The reported agreement would follow two weeks of discussions on how the Ukrainian government will be able to continue to function if the US funding does not come through, Bloomberg wrote. Tax hikes, spending cuts, and increased domestic bond sales are reportedly among the measures designed to convince the IMF that Ukraine will be able to service the loan if the US fails to provide aid.

Members of the US House of Representatives have so far refused to refused to pass a bill requested by US President Joe Biden, which includes a new aid package for Kiev worth $60 billion, most of which is earmarked for weapons.

In December, Ukraine’s Finance Ministry estimated Kiev’s fiscal needs for 2024 at $37.3 billion, after more than $42 billion in foreign aid was received in 2023.

RIA Novosti news agency reported on Wednesday that an IMF representative had denied that the fund and Kiev were close to an agreement. A dedicated team is still reviewing the funding programme and studying whether Kiev has fulfilled the conditions for receiving the tranche, RIA Novosti wrote.