French minister urges $16 bn IMF programme for Ukraine – Capital Business
PARIS, France, Feb 20 – France’s finance minister called Monday for a $16 billion International Monetary Fund programme to support Ukraine over the next four years as its economy reels from Russia’s invasion.
Bruno Le Maire said France would also push for tougher sanctions against Moscow.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of G20 finance ministers in India this week, Le Maire said he wanted “us to work on an IMF programme for Ukraine which could be in the order of 15 billion euros ($16 billion) over four years”.
“Beyond the support provided by Europe, beyond the support provided by G7 countries, it is important that the IMF mobilises for Ukraine”, he said.
On Friday, the IMF said it had reached a staff-level agreement with Ukrainian authorities paving the way to a fully-fledged loan, which would also support the country’s bid to join the European Union.
The IMF said Ukraine would be able to request financial support after a “strong” performance meeting its targets.
The government in Kyiv submitted a package of draft tax laws to parliament aimed at lifting revenues, and is taking steps to address arrears, among other efforts.
“In the framework of the G7, we will also argue for a strengthening of economic sanctions against Russia”, Le Maire added, describing the penalties as an effective “long-term weapon”.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago has displaced millions of people, and global food and energy prices surged on the fallout from the war.
Ukraine’s economy contracted by 30 percent last year, less severely than anticipated, but recovery and reconstruction have been estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars.
Apart from the IMF’s work with Ukraine, the World Bank has also mobilised over $18 billion in emergency financing for the country, with more than $16 billion disbursed through projects.
France’s finance ministry estimates that European financial aid to Ukraine has already reached 18 billion euros, including more than three billion in January alone, and that the US has approved $9.5 billion for Kyiv.