REUTERS Newly appointed Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Kyrylo Shevchenko says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) remains a key strategic partner for the country and its central bank. "The IMF was, is and will be a key strategic partner of Ukraine in general and the National Bank in particular. Therefore, the full and successful implementation of the program of cooperation with the IMF is my priority," the NBU&#39;s press service quoted Shevchenko as saying at a meeting with IMF representatives. "I can assure you that all the obligations that the National Bank undertook under the memorandum on economic and financial policy will be fulfilled in full and on time." Read alsoIMF hopes Ukraine central bank chief will keep the bank&#39;s independence – media On July 21, Shevchenko met with IMF Mission Chief to Ukraine Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, IMF Resident Representative for Ukraine Goesta Ljungman, and Alternate Executive Director at the IMF Vladyslav Rashkovan. Ukraine&#39;s chief banker said that one of the priorities for him, the same as for the IMF, is to reduce the amount of non-performing loans, which is the burden on the banking system in general and on state-owned banks in particular. "Improving banks&#39; balance sheets will help revitalize lending, which will contribute to a faster economic recovery," he said. According to the report, the IMF representatives noted that it is largely due to the NBU&#39;s balanced policy that Ukraine owes the macroeconomic stabilization seen in the last five years, and this would have been impossible without the central bank&#39;s independence. Shevchenko, in turn, assured the IMF representatives that he deeply respects the NBU&#39;s independence. As UNIAN reported earlier, the IMF&#39;s Executive Board on June 9, 2020, approved an 18-month Stand-By Arrangement for Ukraine with funding equivalent to SDR 3.6 billion (about US$5 billion), aimed at helping Ukraine overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 12, Ukraine received the first disbursement of the IMF loan under the new 18-month cooperation program between Ukraine and the Fund. Tentatively in September, the IMF plans to carry out the first review of how Ukraine has been implementing the program.