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WASHINGTON, March 26 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said it was making progress in its talks with Ukraine about a new funding arrangement, and certain legislative changes could allow the country to move forward quickly with a bigger than expected package.
Ukraine's Finance Minister Ihor Umansky told Reuters this week that his country was close to finishing talks for more loans from the IMF but had no plans to restructure its debt to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.
On Thursday, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the Fund had made "very good progress" in discussions with the Ukrainian authorities on a new Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.
"Adoption of legislation to improve the bank resolution framework and on land reform would allow moving forward quickly with finalizing the parameters of the new arrangement, with larger access than previously envisaged," she said in a brief statement. She gave no further details.
Ukraine provisionally agreed a $5.5 billion loan deal with the IMF in December but disbursement is contingent on Ukraine passing banking and land reforms, as well as taking steps to tackle corruption.
Turbulence from the epidemic has dragged down the hryvnia currency and prompted the government to ask the IMF for additional emergency assistance. The government has not disclosed how much more money it would like.
Ukraine restructured its debts in 2015 in a previous crisis triggered by Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014 and the outbreak of conflict in the eastern Donbass region. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)
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