Ukraine on Tuesday prepared for a crunch visit from the International Monetary Fund which could pave the way for up to $19 billion in credit, and its top economic adviser said she saw a possible agreement in July.
An IMF mission is due in Kiev on Wednesday to discuss economic policies that could be supported by a new standby programme.
But it has indicated it does not regard some of the budget revenue figures issued by President Viktor Yanukovich's government as realistic and it is pressing for unpopular measures to be taken, such as raising utility tariffs at home. In a sign the government is unsure about the outcome of prolonged IMF talks, Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Tigipko said late on Monday the crisis-hit ex-Soviet republic had other options if the IMF turned down its loan request.
These included turning to Russia and other countries for bilateral loans, Tigipko said.
But Iryna Akimova, Yanukovich's top economic aide, told Reuters in an interview that she expected Wednesday's IMF visit to culminate in a new programme worth $12-19 billion.
The Fund last year suspended Ukraine's $16.4 billion rescue programme because the former administration of Viktor Yushchenko, who was at odds with his government, reneged on promises of financial restraint.
"There is only one expectation (from the IMF visit) and that is that the first preliminary agreements will be made which will allow a technical mission to come here and sign a memorandum," Akimova said.
"At the moment I do not see any serious danger that this cooperation cannot take place," she said, adding, in response to a question, that agreement on a new programme could be tied up in July.
The government of Mykola Azarov pushed a 2010 budget through parliament soon after Yanukovich came to power in February with a relatively tight projected deficit of 5.3 percent of gross domestic product at the behest of the IMF.
Ukraine's key export sectors of steel and chemicals took a battering in the global downturn and the Yanukovich administration says it needs a new credit programme to get the economy back on its feet and to restore competitiveness.
ReutersLast Mod: 08 Haziran 2010, 22:21