The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday urged Ukraine's Parliament to pass legislation to balance the finances of the state pension fund, as the country seeks to unlock IMF assistance.

Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, the IMF's mission chief to Ukraine, welcomed the passage of a portion of an anti-crisis package aimed at freeing up more of the $16.4 billion rescue loan, including increases in excise taxes on tobacco, alcohol and diesel fuel.

"This will help to address the fiscal situation," said Pazarbasioglu in a statement. "It is now important that measures are taken to prevent the projected deficit of the pension fund."

Parliament put off votes on other parts of the crisis package Tuesday, including measures to balance the finances of the pension fund and of state energy firm Naftogaz, according to the Unian Ukrainian news agency.

Ukraine already has received $4.5 billion from the IMF under last fall's agreement, but the fund halted a second $1.9 billion loan disbursement in February until the government took additional steps to rein in fiscal spending.

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