Fighting corruption will be a key component of any new lending program Ukraine gets with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Gerry Rice, IMF communications director, said in a September 12 briefing in Washington.

Before his appointment last month, Ukraine's Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said in July that Ukraine wanted to replace its current $3.9 billion standby arrangement with the IMF, which expires at the end of the year, and replace it with a longer-term program, RFE/RL reports.

Rice said an IMF team is in Kyiv and is currently taking "stock of the new government's policy intentions" during its stay, which will conclude around September 26.

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One "important element of the discussions," Rice said, is the "importance of creating an effective anti-corruption framework," which has been a "critical element of our engagement with Ukraine for the last few years."

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In recent years, Kyiv has adopted new anti-graft laws and agencies have been established, including the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption, National Anti-corruption Bureau, and Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office.

According to polls, corruption is the second-most important issue for Ukrainians after the Donbas war.

In previous announcements, Honcharuk said he wants a staff-level agreement for up to four years to go into effect by the end of the year.Under the current program, Ukraine has tapped $1.4 billion.

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The IMF projects Ukraine's economy will grow by 2.7% this year, whereas Honcharuk said he is targeting 5% annual growth.

According to the Washington-based lender, inflation is projected to reach 8% this year.