KIEV (Reuters) - Talks between Ukraine and the IMF on the much-needed next tranche of financial aid should take place as soon as possible, the Ukrainian finance minister said on Wednesday, speaking alongside two other newly appointed foreign-born ministers.
Three non-Ukrainian ministers were elected as part of a new cabinet by parliament on Tuesday, appointments of foreign technocrats seen as a bid by Kiev to prove its commitment to implementing extensive reforms, agreed in exchange for billions of dollars in international financial aid.
Kiev had expected that the next loan tranche from the International Monetary Fund, worth $2.7 billion, would come before the end of the year, but the IMF had waited for the new government to be formed to hold talks on the payment.
New Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko, who held various economic positions in the U.S. State Department before moving to work in Ukraine over 20 years ago, said the government had asked to meet the Fund as a matter of urgency.
“We have asked that the IMF will be here as soon as is possible. If it were up to me, it would be tomorrow ... So we can continue these discussions and reach an agreement,” Yaresko told journalists.
She said the cabinet would work to have a budget for 2015 adopted by the end of the year that would be based on tax reforms developed by previous members of government.
Kiev has been under pressure to appoint quickly a cabinet capable of tackling Ukraine’s near-bankrupt economy and handling a pro-Russian separatist rebellion in eastern regions in which over 4,300 people have been killed since April.
The new economy minister, Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavicius, said the government did not have time to wait and promised radical steps to deregulate and reform an economy long-hobbled by red tape and corruption.
“Parliament is in a good mood now to pass a lot of a laws. ... we need to use that momentum to pass a good number of laws while the honeymoon and the unity remains,” Abromavicius said.
Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Ralph Boulton