IMF Announces Staff Level Agreement with Ukraine on a New US$ 17.5 Billion Extended Fund Facility ArrangementPress Release No. 15/51
February 12, 2015
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited Kyiv during January 8 - February 12, to discuss the authorities’ economic reform program, which could be supported by an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) Arrangement. The EFF would replace the existing Stand-By Arrangement (See Press Release No 14/189). The new arrangement would provide a medium-term framework for policy adjustment and reforms, which, combined with strong support from the broader international community, aim to restore macroeconomic stability and promote robust growth over the medium term.
At the conclusion of the visit, Nikolay Gueorguiev, Mission Chief for Ukraine, issued the following statement today in Kyiv:
“The mission has reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on an economic reform program, which can be supported by a four-year Extended Fund Facility, in the amount of SDR 12.35 billion (about $17.5 billion, €15.5 billion), as well as, by considerable additional resources from the international community. The staff level agreement is subject to approval by IMF Management and the Executive Board. Consideration by the Executive Board is expected in the next few weeks, following the authorities’ implementation of decisive front-loaded actions to achieve program goals.
“The policies under the new arrangement, developed by the Ukrainian authorities jointly with Fund staff, are designed to address the many challenges confronting the Ukrainian economy. Economic activity contracted by around 7-7½ percent in GDP in 2014, weighed down by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, which has taken a significant toll on the industrial base and exports, undermined confidence and ignited pressures on the financial system. The economic reform program focuses on immediate macroeconomic stabilization as well as broad and deep structural reforms to provide the basis for strong and sustainable economic growth over the medium term.
“The 2015 budget initiates an expenditure-led adjustment to strengthen public finances within the availability of resources. This required bold, but necessary, measures, including keeping nominal wages and pensions fixed. The budget is supported by revenue reforms, including increasing the progressivity of the personal income tax and streamlining the tax system. The authorities are committed to medium term reforms of the civil service and the important health and education sectors, aiming to improve quality and efficiency, as well as widening the tax base and improving customs and tax administration. Fiscal consolidation would continue over the coming years which together with the debt operation envisaged by the authorities will strengthen debt sustainability.
“The authorities are firmly committed to deep and decisive measures to reform the critical energy sector. They have developed a comprehensive strategy aiming to foster energy efficiency and independence, increase domestic gas production, and restructure Naftogaz. As part of this strategy, and to rehabilitate Naftogaz while eliminating its drain on the budget, the authorities have decided to implement frontloaded gas and heating price adjustments aiming to reach full cost recovery by April 2017, while protecting the poor through revamping social protection schemes and allocating sufficient budgetary resources. At the same time, efforts are under way to improve Naftogaz’s corporate governance, as well as the framework for payment compliance and recovery of receivables.
“Monetary policy will be geared toward returning inflation to single digits in 2016 within a flexible exchange rate regime. To strengthen confidence in banks and improve their ability to intermediate credit and support economic activity, the authorities are moving ahead with a multi-pronged strategy to rehabilitate the banking system. The regulatory and supervisory framework will be upgraded, including through measures to address above the limit loans to related-parties; banks’ balance sheets will be strengthened, where needed, following a prudential review of banks; and measures will be undertaken to enhance banks’ asset recovery and resolution of bad loans.
“Structural reforms will aim at improving business climate, attracting investment and enhancing Ukraine’s growth potential. To this end, the authorities are advancing efforts toward deregulation and judicial reform and implementation of the anti-corruption measures. They will also proceed with state-owned enterprise reforms, to minimize fiscal risks and improve corporate governance structures and de-monopolization.
“This is an ambitious and comprehensive economic reform program, supported by the Fund and the broader international community. It is also a necessary program to tackle deep seated problems that have weighed down Ukraine’s prospects for too long. The authorities’ steadfast implementation will be necessary to achieve fully its objectives.”