New Ukraine prime minister eyes 'constructive' work with IMF

Denys Shmygal, who was nominated as the candidate for the post of Ukrainian Prime Minister, applauds during a parliamentary session in Kiev, Ukraine March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine’s new Prime Minister Denys Shmygal on Thursday said the government would continue “constructive” work with the International Monetary Fund.

A sweeping government reshuffle this week by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has raised questions about Ukraine’s reform momentum and weighed on Ukrainian bonds.

A $5.5 billion IMF loan program, provisionally agreed by the previous government last year, is contingent on Ukraine passing reforms and keeping the budget deficit in check.

Shmygal outlined a proposal on Wednesday to increase social spending including on pensions, which he signaled would be offset by cuts elsewhere.

“Changing the government means that we want even better and faster reforms in Ukraine,” Shmygal wrote on Facebook on Thursday evening.

“The government will continue prudent fiscal policy and constructive cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and other creditors of Ukraine.”

Reporting by Matthias Williams and Natalia Zinets; Editing by Alex Richardson