Angola needs around $2 bln in IMF loans: govt

Angola will meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials in Istanbul this month, in a bid to secure up to $2 billion (R14 billion) in loans to shore up its finances, a spokesperson for the finance minister said.
Bastos de Almeida, spokesman for the Angolan Finance Minister, told Reuters the meeting would take place on the sidelines of an IMF and World Bank event, between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2. The meeting was initially expected to take place in Luanda.
Angola rivals Nigeria as Africa’s biggest oil producer but its oil revenues have been hit by low crude prices.
De Almeida said the IMF had said it could offer Angola a loan of around $500 million after it met with Angolan officials in Luanda last month but that Angola needed around $2 billion to bolster its finances.
“We are hoping to get much more than $500 million (R3680 million). Angola needs to continue to rebuild infrastructure that was destroyed by the war,” he said, adding that Angola and the IMF should reach a final agreement in the second half of October.
The talks show a thawing in relations between Angola and the IMF, which has been critical in the past about the way the African nation manages and accounts for its oil revenues.
The Angolan government broke off talks with the IMF in 2007 and turned to China instead for billions in oil-backed loans. But a sharp drop in oil prices has weighed on Angola’s coffers, dependent on oil for nearly 90 % of their income.
The central bank lost 28 % of its foreign exchange reserves since the start of the year as oil prices trade at less than half of last year’s high of over $147 (R1082) per barrel.
The drop prompted the Angolan government to revise downwards its 2009 budget to around $33.3 billion (R244 billion) from $40 billion (R293 billion)
and to delay around $2 billion (R14 billion) in payments to construction firms rebuilding roads, bridges and ailing communications.
IMF officials, who first held discussions with the Angolan government and key donors in Luanda last month, praised Angola’s government for carrying out measures to increase fiscal discipline and stabilise the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
“We hope that with the help of the IMF we can continue to fight the negative impact of the global recession on Angola,” said de Almeida.

Pic: Infastructure- or lack off…