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UPDATE 1-Kenya's $1.5 bln standby credit facility in place until end of March -IMF

-IMF@ (Updates with quotes, context)

NAIROBI, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Kenya's $1.5 bln standby credit facility remains in place until the end of March 2018, the International Monetary Fund said in a statement on Wednesday, contradicting a statement given a day earlier that access to the facility was lost in June.

"The precautionary SBA/SCF arrangement remains in place until end-March 2018," the statement said. "Kenya continues to have access to resources since June subject to policy understandings to complete the outstanding reviews."

The statement gave no more detail on the policy understandings.

On Tuesday, Jan Mikkelsen, IMF representative in Kenya, told Reuters that access to the two-year precautionary facility was lost in June because a review had not been completed due to Kenya's extended election season.

The East African economy has not tapped the facility, which was preceded by a smaller standby one-year credit line in 2015, as foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank have soared to record highs.

The IMF has expressed concern over the fiscal deficit, but government officials have said borrowing is necessary to fund the government's ambitious infrastructure plans.

The two-year precautionary facility, set to expire next month, was put in place in case of unforeseen external shocks that could put pressure on Kenya's balance of payments.

Kenya's total debt has risen to about 50 percent of GDP, from 42 percent in 2013, as it borrowed locally and abroad to build infrastructure like a new railway line from Nairobi to the port of Mombasa.

When Kenya secured the precautionary facility, IMF officials said it was recognition of the country's stable economic fundamentals, as that type of facility is usually reserved for more developed emerging economies. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)