Ukraine, IMF agree on 99% of pension reform – social policy minister

Ukrainian`s Social Policy Minister Andriy Reva says Ukraine has agreed 99% of its pension reform with the International Monetary Fund`s mission, which last week completed its work in the country.

The parties will coordinate the remaining technical details via video conference, Reva said following a government meeting April 19.

”Today we are at the final stage of preparing the pension reform. I think we need up to one and a half weeks to complete our work. We agreed that the final details would be coordinated via video conference. We are working on a draft law in parallel lines, without waiting for the final agreement with the IMF, as 99% of the reform has already been agreed upon. It`s only technical issues that remained. We are not waiting for a formal approval following the talks with the IMF to move to the next stage. It won`t take long to prepare the final draft of the bill,” the minister said.

The relevant bill could be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada before May 16, he noted.

”I think the parliament will not delay the consideration of this issue,” said Reva.

In addition, the minister commented on the statement by Ukraine`s Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko addressing the head of the IMF mission, Ron van Roden, when he called the IMF envoy ”terribly unprofessional.” The statement followed the publication of Van Roden`s op-ed in the Ekonomichna Pravda online newspaper, where he claimed he considered it premature to introduce a funded pension system in Ukraine. He noted that only a comprehensive pension reform could increase pensions for Ukrainians, which would provide for a reduction in the inflow of new pensioners and an increase in the number of citizens paying contributions to the Pension Fund.

”It`s a creditor, which has its own position it voices. Hence, the government has its own position as well. The debate is ongoing. The only thing regarding pension reform is that you need to read the memorandum [with the IMF]. The memorandum set the record straight,” the social policy minister emphasized.

Earlier, as part of the pension reform, the government planned to raise pensions from October 1, which, according to preliminary estimates, would touch upon some 5.6 million Ukrainians, as well as to abolish the taxation of working pensioners.

The government version of the pension reform does not provide for raising the retirement age, at the same time offering other tools for developing a fair and deficit-free pension system.

According to the statement by the International Monetary Fund following the IMF Executive Board meeting on Ukraine, the country cannot delay much longer a comprehensive pension reform, including raising the effective retirement age.

According to the list of structural beacons of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the IMF, Ukraine pledged before the IMF to adopt legislation on pension reform by the end of April.

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