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Ukraine President Signs Long-Awaited Budget Bill

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a long-awaited national budget bill, which plans for increased spending and a renewal of foreign credits.

The legislation passed by parliament on April 28 plans almost $41 billion of government spending in fiscal year 2010, an almost 19 percent increase over 2009 spending. The allowed budget deficit was $7.3 billion, or 5.3 percent of expected 2010 GDP.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials have made the passage of a budget bill with a 6 percent budget deficit or less a key condition for obtaining further IMF financing.

Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tihipko, meanwhile, said that an IMF mission will visit Ukraine next month for talks on a new credit program. Tihipko was speaking on his return from a week of talks in Washington with IMF officials.

The IMF in October 2009 froze an emergency $16.4 billion credit program to Ukraine, citing Kyiv's unwillingness to cut budget deficits and remove state price supports to energy.

compiled from agency reports