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Ukraine: Final IMF Loan Drawing Expected Soon

Washington, 29 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Sources at the International Monetary Fund in Washington say the ninth and final drawing of Ukraine's stand-by loan of around $880 million could be approved as early as next week.

The last traunch of around $92 million is under final review by IMF staff experts and should go to the Board of Executive Directors for approval next week, the sources say.

Ukraine is currently negotiating a much more ambitious extended fund facility that could make around $3 billion available to Kyiv over the next three years. Ukrainian government and IMF officials are hoping to have the new loan package and its attached program of economic reforms ready for signing in February when the stand-by loan program expires.

However, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus has cautioned Kyiv that continued drawings from the IMF depend on Ukraine's continued adherence to agreed reform measures. Among those measures, Camdessus wrote in a letter to President Leonid Kuchma within the last two weeks, is the need for a government budget to be in place, including changes in the taxation system. There has been a delay in parliamentary approval of the 1997 budget over tax law changes.

An IMF spokesman confirmed that Camdessus had written to Kuchma, but would not disclose details of the letter.