Somalia seeks three-month extension of its IMF support programme By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu October 25, 2015. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

NAIROBI (Reuters) -Somalia’s government has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to extend its financial support by three months to Aug. 17, the head of the IMF’s country mission told Reuters.

The Washington-based fund warned in February that Somalia’s delayed legislative and presidential elections put the renewal of the three-year budget support programme, worth nearly $400 million, at risk of automatic expiration this month.

The presidential election, which is carried out by lawmakers, is now set for May 15. The government has written to the IMF’s board asking for more time to conclude talks on the budget support programme’s renewal, said Laura Jaramillo, IMF’s mission head.

“The extension is expected to provide the time needed to confirm policy understandings with the new government after presidential elections are completed,” she said.

She did not comment on whether the automatic expiration of the programme will be extended. Officials at Somalia’s ministry of finance and the central bank were not immediately available for comments.

The conclusion of negotiations for renewal of the programme is also a required part of a deal to slash Somalia’s debt from more than $5 billion to around a 10th of that.

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