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Somalia begs IMF, wants 3 months to conclude talks on budget support programme

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Somalia has pleaded with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to extend its financial support by three months to Aug. 17.

IMF’s country mission, Laura Jaramillo, made the disclosure to newsmen on Friday.

Jaramillo said 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, 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.

Jaramillo did not comment on whether the automatic expiration of the programme will be extended.

The Executive Board of the IMF granted additional interim assistance to Somalia under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative in the amount of SDR 0.68 million (about US$ 0.97 million) on a lapse of time basis.

The monetary body in February warned 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.

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South Africa’s mining firm, Sibanye-Stillwater, finally agrees wage demands from workers’ union

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After months of industrial engagement, South Africa’s mining firm, Sibanye-Stillwater has agreed on a renumeration increase with the mining workers union.

Sibanye-Stillwater reached an agreement with both the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the United Association of South Africa (UASA) on wages and benefits at its platinum group metal operations.

According to a statement by Sibanye, “the company has presented an inflation-linked, five-year offer comprising fixed average annual wage increases of 6% and above for bargaining unit employees for a three-year period, followed by CPI-linked agreements in years 4 and 5, as well as notable increases in benefits.”

A BBC report says some 80,000 gold miners in South Africa went on a strike to call for higher pay, but their union has significantly scaled down its demands. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is calling for a 10% wage rise, down from earlier demands for increases of up to 60% for some workers.

Trade unions are recognized within the 1996 Constitution of South Africa, which provides for the right to join trade unions, and for unions to collectively bargain and strike.

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Morocco gets $194 million loan from AfDB to boost cereal output

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In a move that is hoped to boost its cereals production and reduce imports, the African Development Bank has approved a 199 million-euro ($194 million) loan to Morocco.

The AFDB in a statement on Friday said it approved the loan, which is part of the bank’s programme to help boost food security, nutrition, and resilient farming across Africa.

As of the 2019/2020 crop year, the total production of cereals in Morocco amounted to over 32 million quintals. With around 18 million quintals, soft wheat accounted for the largest cereal production in the country that year. Durum wheat and barley followed.

According to foreign exchange data, Morocco’s soft wheat import bill doubled to $1.6 billion compared to the same period last year.

A recent incidence of drought has slashed Morocco’s cereals output by 67% to 3.4 million tonnes this year.

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