Ukraine Says Gas Price Re­view Wanted by IMF Is Un­der­way

Iran News - - WORLD NEWS -

KIEV (Dis­patches) - Ukraine’s prime min­is­ter, Volodymyr Groys­man, said on Satur­day the govern­ment was re­view­ing the way it sets do­mes­tic gas bills to make sure mar­ket prices are taken into ac­count - a bid to an­swer de­mands un­der a $17.5-bil­lion IMF aid pro­gram.

The long-de­layed dis­burse­ment of a next tranche of IMF loans also de­pends on pen­sion re­form and the cre­ation of an in­de­pen­dent ju­di­cial body to tackle en­demic graft.

“We be­lieve that the gas price should be de­ter­mined in ac­cor­dance with the gas mar­ket and in ac­cor­dance with a for­mula. The most im­por­tant thing is for this for­mula to be fair,” news agency In­ter­fax Ukraine quoted Groys­man as say­ing at the an­nual Yalta Euro­pean Strat­egy con­fer­ence.

“At the mo­ment our tech­ni­cal di­vi­sion is work­ing on ver­i­fy­ing the for­mula that de­ter­mines the gas price,” he said.

The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund wants gas prices to be set by ex­ter­nal mar­ket dy­nam­ics through an au­to­matic for­mula to stop tar­iffs be­ing set un­sus­tain­ably low as a pop­ulist mea­sure.

Ukraine has so far re­ceived $8.4 bil­lion from the IMF, help­ing it re­cover from a two-year re­ces­sion fol­low­ing the an­nex­a­tion of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and the out­break of a Rus­sian-backed in­sur­gency in its in­dus­trial east.

On Fri­day, the IMF’s first deputy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, David Lip­ton, said Ukraine risked un­do­ing progress made un­der the pro­gram and urged the au­thor­i­ties to push ahead with re­forms needed for the next loan tranche.

Ear­lier on Satur­day Groys­man said Ukraine needed to set up an in­de­pen­dent anti-graft ju­di­cial body quickly - adding that it did not mat­ter if it was a sep­a­rate court, as en­vis­aged by the IMF, or a cham­ber to ex­ist­ing courts.

“We need to quickly es­tab­lish an in­stru­ment that would al­low ‘cor­rup­tion­eers’ to face jus­tice and whether it’s called an anti-cor­rup­tion cham­ber or court doesn’t mat­ter,” he told the con­fer­ence.

On Fri­day Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko said an anti-graft cham­ber within the ex­ist­ing court sys­tem would be more fea­si­ble in the short-term - a pro­posal that re­form ac­tivists have said would limit the in­de­pen­dence of the body.

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