Ukraine to pass laws needed for new IMF loans by June 1, ruling party leader says

Matthias Williams
·1-min read

By Matthias Williams

KYIV (Reuters) - The Ukrainian parliament is on track to pass legislation by June 1 to unlock loans from the International Monetary Fund under a $5 billion programme, the parliamentary faction chief of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's party told Reuters on Wednesday.

Ukraine secured the IMF deal last year to tide the country through recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but the programme stalled over concerns about reforms, central bank independence and the government's efforts to tackle corruption.

To qualify for more IMF loans, Ukraine's parliament must pass legislation at the second and final reading to impose jail sentences on officials who make false asset declarations, after passing a draft bill on April 15.

It must also enact legislative amendments on the status of the country's main anti-corruption agency, NABU, whose ability to operate free from political meddling is closely monitored by Ukraine's Western backers.

Parliament must further pass a third bill on the status of a council governing the conduct of judges.

"June 1st is the deadline for us and both government and parliament and the presidential office are committed to stick to this deadline," Davyd Arakhamia, head of the ruling party's parliamentary group, said in an interview by video call.

The Group of Seven nations in a joint statement last week urged Ukraine to pass the law on NABU in a way that complied with its commitments to the IMF.

Arakhamia said there had been disagreements between Ukraine and its international backers on who got the majority say in appointing NABU's director.

"The model is still not in place but I think that people already start to realise that it should be a compromise."

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)