Ukraine says it is sticking to commitments after IMF declines to say if programme on track

KYIV, July 29 (Reuters) - Ukraine’s Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko told Reuters on Wednesday the government was fulfilling its commitments under a $5 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund.

Marchenko’s comments, given via his press office, came after the IMF’s representative to Ukraine declined to answer a question in an online discussion on whether the programme remained on track.

The shock resignation in July of Central Bank Governor Yakiv Smoliy, who complained of political pressure, rattled investors and raised doubts over whether Ukraine could stick to the IMF deal, which is conditional on the central bank’s independence.

“Ukraine continues to fulfil its commitments under the IMF memorandum,” Marchenko said.

IMF Resident Representative in Ukraine Goesta Ljungman was asked whether the programme was on track.

“I will refrain from answering,” Ljungman said. “We have a programme with Ukraine. In that programme, Ukraine has made a number of commitments.”

Smoliy’s successor Kyrylo Shevchenko has made reassuring noises to investors and the IMF about stability and keeping the central bank independent.

But he has stressed the need to make loans cheaper for struggling businesses and consumers, which President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government and lawmakers have also called for. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets; writing by Matthias Williams, Editing by Ed Osmond)