After a number of critical setbacks and delays in the 16 months since program approval, the authorities have taken important corrective actions to address shocks to program objectives. Early tension around the authorities’ commitment to uphold the independence of the National Bank of Ukraine required a pause to assess policy continuity and to determine possible corrective actions. A prior action for this review and new commitments by the authorities provide a way forward in protecting a key policy pillar under the program. Similarly, adverse Constitutional Court rulings challenged the anticorruption framework in fundamental ways that required restoring its effectiveness before the review could proceed. In a push to make progress on delayed structural benchmarks, the authorities have recently met seven of the nine structural benchmarks set at the time of the program request.
Ukraine’s economic performance has been anemic since the early 1990s. A major impediment to productivity growth has been low investment, held back by lack of strong and independent institutions. This paper aims to assess the major areas of institutional weakness in Ukraine and quantify the long-term growth impact of catching-up to Poland in terms of the quality of major economic institutions and market development. Our analysis identifies the legal system as the area where the institutional quality is weakest compared to Poland, followed distantly by market competition, openness to trade and financial depth. Using a methodology that accounts for positive spillovers between the structural reform areas, we estimate that even under the most optimistic scenario, where institutional gaps are fully addressed, Ukraine would need 15 years to catch up to Poland’s current income level.