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Ukraine Hikes Interest Rates To 25% To Boost Budget Revenues

Ukraine’s central bank is considering bringing in extra import duty on non-critical imports, having hiked its main interest rate to a seven-year high.

The country has increased interest rates from a previously frozen 10 percent to 25 percent today, in the first tightening of policy from the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) since the start of Russia’s invasion.

Speaking in a press briefing earlier today on the possibility of hauling in an extra import levy, NBU deputy governor Yuriy Heletiy said: “We should first reinstate the taxation of imports, and we hope the parliament will implement this initiative, and also impose an extra import duty on non-critical import categories.”

The move would boost budget revenues, help support local producers and relieve pressure on the currency market during the conflict, local media reported.

NBU deputy governor Serhiy Nikolaichuk added that the import system helped cut the demand for foreign currency in certain sectors, in the first months following Russia’s invasion on February 24.

“But when the economy started recovering, this mechanism began to slow down its recovery,” Nikolaichuk said. “This is precisely what prompted the Economy Ministry to add numerous positions to the list of critical imports.”

Russia’s invasion has decimated the country’s finances, with analysts forecasting an at least 30 percent contraction by the end of this year.

The war has reportedly forced around 40 percent of businesses to close, as well as blocked key shipping routes and destroyed infrastructure, homes and whole towns.

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