Statement by the Managing Director on Ukraine
Press Release No. 16/50
February 10, 2016
Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today:
“I am concerned about Ukraine’s slow progress in improving governance and fighting corruption, and reducing the influence of vested interests in policymaking. Without a substantial new effort to invigorate governance reforms and fight corruption, it is hard to see how the IMF-supported program can continue and be successful. Ukraine risks a return to the pattern of failed economic policies that has plagued its recent history. It is vital that Ukraine’s leadership acts now to put the country back on a promising path of reform.”
Press Briefing by Gerry Rice, Director, IMF Communications Department
Thursday, February 11, 2016
(…) QUESTIONER: Thank you. So Madam Lagarde issued yesterday two statements regarding the situation in Ukraine. The second one was made after her phone call with President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. So if I may, I have several questions on this issue.
In the second statement there is a phrase, we agreed on the principle of a roadmap of actions and priority measure to ensure prompt progress under the program. Could you give us some details about this roadmap?
MR. RICE: Okay. Well, maybe just step back a bit on your question. As you know, since the beginning of the program and the beginning of this current engagement with Ukraine, the whole issue of governance and anticorruption has been a central part of the program objectives. So that’s the broad context for this issue. Again, as you may know, the Managing Director commented last week on the recent resignation of the Economy Minister and indicated that was an issue of concern. So I think it was against that backdrop of a growing concern here at the Fund, and I think also shared by some in the international community, that slow progress was made in improving governance and fighting corruption and in reducing the influence of vested interests in policy making. So, again, it was in that context that Managing Director Christine Lagarde made her statement yesterday, and stressed that without a substantial new effort to invigorate these governance reforms and fight corruptions, it was hard to have an enabling environment in place where the IMF program could continue and be successful.
So as you say, President Poroshenko and Madam Lagarde then subsequently had a conversation around that, and both issued statements. You’ve seen those. What I would say is that we remain engaged with the authorities on policies that are important to strengthen the economy and pave the way for the completion of the Second Review. That remains the objective. And following the conversation with Managing Director Lagarde and President Poroshenko, he, as he has said, reassured her of his commitment to reforms, including improving governance and fighting corruption.
Maybe just one final thing. I mean all of this is not to say that Ukraine hasn’t made a lot of progress. The authorities have made important headway in stabilizing the economy. The budget deficit has been reduced, growth is slowly returning, inflation is coming down, while reserves have been increasing. So, again, there has been progress, I want to acknowledge that, but it is vital that Ukraine and its leadership accelerates and deepens the reform efforts to support the much needed transformation of Ukraine’s economy.
You have a follow up?
QUESTIONER: Yes. Thank you. So there are a lot of people in the Ukraine who after the first statement had a feeling that IMF is ready to stop the cooperation with the Ukraine. After all, it was hard to see how the IMF supported program can continue and be successful. Is it correct that this cooperation can be stopped? And if it is not correct, when should we expect that the memorandum will be signed?
MR. RICE: Look, I just said and let me repeat. We remain engaged with Ukraine, and with the authorities on the program, on the set of policies that underlie that program, and meant to achieve what we share as a common objective, which is the return of sustainable growth and jobs to Ukraine and for the Ukrainian people. So we remain fully engaged. I want to be clear about that.
But again, and I won’t repeat what I said earlier, you know, there are certain measures that—where more progress needs to be made, and one of those areas, a very important area, was the one that was the subject of the statements on the discussion yesterday. That is governance and anticorruption.
So, further decisive implementation of these reforms is key. In terms of the—I think you were asking about the second review and when it might be going forward. I don’t have a date for you on when our Board will take up the second review. It really, again, depends on resolving outstanding issues, and also on having more clarity about the status of the government and the coalition. (…)
Transcript of a Press Briefing by Gerry Rice, Director, Communications Department, IMF
Thursday, March 3, 2016
(…) QUESTIONER: Thank you. I have a bunch of questions on Russia and the Ukraine. On Ukraine, when can we expect some movement on the program? How confident are you that the program can move forward given that in the polls over 77% of the Ukrainians do not want drastic reforms that make them tighten their belts? (…)
MR. RICE: The status of the program. I’ll not go into what I’ve said here before. Where we are today, you know, we need to have more clarity about the status of the government and the coalition for us to be able to engage on policies to strengthen and transform the economy and to pave the way for the completion of the second review, which I think was your question. You know, I would remind you that President Poroshenko recently reassured the IMF, the managing director, of his commitment to the reforms, including improving governance and fighting corruption. And so, in the last weeks that’s been the focal point of the discussions about measures to ensure progress towards tangible results in these areas. I mean I can give you a bit more detail in those areas if you wish. But they are part of the program and they are in the memorandum of economic and financial policies. (…)