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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

WAITING FOR IMF LETTER OF COMFORT

Meanwhile, back at the International Monetary Fund ...

In case you’d forgotten, Swaziland is in the grip of a financial meltdown and has gone running to the African Development Bank for a loan (reports disagree on how much it wants but it is thought to be between US$75 – 100 million).

Before it can get the loan it needs support from the IMF in the form of a ‘letter of comfort’.

On 8 April 2011, Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime minister said that letter of comfort would be in his hands within two weeks.

Strangely, the previous day (7 April 2011), the IMF publicity people put up a video on YouTube. It was an interview with Joannes Mongardini, the IMF Mission Chief to Swaziland.

This is what the IMF said in its blurb accompanying the video.

‘IMF management approve a Staff-Monitored Program for Swaziland to help the country enact tax reforms and at the same time protect social spending. The program entails IMF scrutiny of the authorities' policies, but does not include formal backing of the program or financial support.’

You will notice the words, ‘does not include formal backing of the program’.

So where did Dlamini get the idea of the ‘letter of comfort from’?

I don’t know. But his ‘two weeks’ deadline is up on Friday (22 April 2011), so we should expect to see him waving a little piece of paper within the next 48 hours.

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