Leadership of the International Monetary Fund sees progress in Ukraine and is ready to send its mission at any time, finance minister Yuriy Kolobov said in an interview with the Mirror Weekly Ukraine newspaper.

"The IMF leadership has recognized that they see progress and are ready to send the mission at any time - before or after the elections. As far as I know, the National Bank is holding talks to ensure that the fund's mission arrives before the elections and that its experts see that we are conducting a very responsible policy and are ready to cooperate," he said.

At the same time, the minister said that the issue of increasing energy tariffs was a key issue in talks with the IMF, but now it is not as tough as it was before.

"When the IMF mission arrives in Kyiv, we will continue to discuss these issues and seek the opportunity to relate the issue of a rise in tariffs to the ongoing processes of the reform of the energy sector within five years, by the time when we will be able to cover domestic gas consumption with our own production," he said.

Kolobov added that most Ukrainians currently could not pay the market price. At the same time, in his opinion, it is fundamentally wrong that the budget should compensate to Naftogaz Ukrainy for the part of the difference in tariffs, which is underpaid by high-income citizens who consume the largest amount of natural gas.
While commenting on the requirements to improve exchange rate flexibility, the minister said that it would not be quite correct to switch to a free exchange rate amid the unstable balance of payments and high devaluation expectations, since the banking system will not be able to withstand respective tension.

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