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Ukraine says IMF approves $1 billion aid tranche

KIEV (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Monday approved the payment of $ 1 billion (801.09 million pounds) of aid to Ukraine, its President Petro Poroshenko announced on his official Facebook page, saying this vindicated Kiev’s reform efforts.

The IMF is supporting Ukraine under a $ 17.5 billion (14.02 billion pounds) bailout programme. Kiev is expecting a total of four tranches of aid this year, in exchange for the government implementing reforms and tackling corruption.

“The IMF board of directors approved the decision about the disbursement of $ 1 billion to Ukraine,” Poroshenko wrote. “This is further recognition of Ukrainian reforms,” he said, without giving further details.

The IMF has not so far released a statement. It had delayed its decision on disbursing new aid from March in order to assess the impact of a blockade that Kiev imposed on separatist-held territory.

The IMF is due to pump the promised $ 17.5 billion into Ukraine’s economy in a four-year bailout, releasing the funds in instalments subject to progress on reforms.

To date, Ukraine has received three tranches worth about $ 7.62 billion in total under the programme launched in March 2015.

Earlier on Monday Ukraine launched an electronic register that will automatically refund value-added tax (VAT) owed to exporters, implementing an IMF-backed reform aimed at tackling endemic bribe-taking in the tax service and improving the investment climate.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by John Stonestreet and Stephen Powell)

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