Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday condemned as "disproportionate" a decision by the International Monetary Fund to halt cooperation over a contentious mining contract.
The IMF on Tuesday announced that it was interrupting a loan facility worth $561 million (435 million euros) because the government had failed to provide sufficient information about a June 2011 contract to sell a 25 stake in the public mining company Gecamines to Staker International, a company based in the Virgin Islands.
Matata said that "all the criteria" in implementing this programme had been respected "within comfortable margins". Of more than 130 contracts published to date, only one had been the object of differences of interpretation between the government and IMF services, he told a news briefing.
The IMF programme dates from an agreement in December 2009 and included six payment steps. Only three stages had been carried out, according to the IMF. The scheme had been due to end on December 9 with the last three payments.
"The government had requested a six-month extension, but we could not accept that," IMF country representative Oscar Melhado said Tuesday.
He added that the IMF would respond favourably if explanations of the deal involving Gecamines were judged satisfactory. Gecamines is the leading public enterprise in the vastly mineral-rich DR Congo.
"The spirit, the letter of the IMF programme were respected," the prime minister said, adding that the government had showed willing to carry out this programme.
Matata insisted that the Kinshasa government had not asked for a six-month delay because of a failure to carry out structural reforms. He said that the implementation of this plan had been "excellent".
The prime minister also said that the economic growth rate of DR Congo had been 7.2 percent at the end of November and he forecast a rate of 8.3 percent in 2013. Inflation had been kept to 2.63 percent at the end of November and was expected to be 2.85 percent at the end of December.
According to Matata, "the economic and financial state of the DR Congo indicate macroeconomic stability supported by orthodox budgetary management and better perspectives for economic growth."© ANP/AFP