July 14, 2016 / 3:48 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-IMF says next Ukraine loan tranche nearing approval

(Adds comments on Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe, quotes on Ukraine legislation)

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund’s executive board could still be in position to complete its review of Ukraine’s $17.5 billion bailout program this month, a key step necessary to release the next loan tranche, a fund spokesman said on Thursday.

IMF chief spokesman Gerry Rice said some technical issues still needed to be resolved. Rice added that Ukraine’s parliament did not need to pass any additional anti-corruption and transparency legislation in order for the board to consider the next $1.7 billion tranche.

“Consideration could still be in July, the discussions are very close to being finalized,” Rice told a regular news briefing.

“There is no further legislation pending that is a condition for this review, but there are of course a number of laws that are to be adopted or to be amended that are important for the overall success of the program,” Rice said.

If approval is delayed, it may be considered again in mid-August, after the board’s summer recess, Rice added.

The IMF loans have helped Ukraine pull itself out of two years of economic recession caused by a separatist conflict in its industrial east. But a third tranche of cash from the Fund has been delayed since October due to political upheaval.

Rice also said the IMF’s loan program to Guinea-Bissau remained “off-track” after the West African country’s government went against the Fund’s advice to provide a $59 million bailout to two private banks, Banco da Africa Ocidental and Banco da Uniao. The IMF halted payments to Guinea-Bissau on June 3.

Rice said discussions with Guinea-Bissau’s new government are continuing.

He reiterated that Zimbabwe continues to be in arrears to the IMF, and there is no financing program under discussion with Zimbabwe’s government. The IMF has insisted that Zimbabwe clear its arrears of about $1.8 billion before any new loans could be made. (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Will Dunham)

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