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IMF hands Comoros more funds, notes fiscal concerns

MORONI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it had approved the release of an additional $2.4 million to support economic reforms in Comoros but noted shortfalls in the Indian Ocean archipelago's fiscal performance. The latest disbursement takes IMF funding under an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) to the country, one of the world's poorest, to about $11.4 million. "Despite a challenging political environment, economic activity is accelerating. Initiatives are in place to remove structural impediments to growth and make further inroads into poverty alleviation," IMF said in a statement late on Friday. Comoros' Constitutional Court earlier this month upheld the results of December's disputed presidential election that handed victory to the ruling party's candidate. The opposition accused the authorities of widespread fraud. Comoros is eligible for debt relief but the IMF and World Bank said last year the coup-prone islands would have to strengthen fiscal performance. The latest statement said more could be done in this regard. "Recent fiscal slippages need to be addressed by strengthening revenue mobilization and containing the wage bill. Additional action is also needed to improve the efficiency of tax and custom administration and reform the budget process." (Editing by Richard Lough and Toby Chopra) (For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://af.reuters.com) Keywords: COMOROS ECONOMY/ (Email: nairobi.newsroom@reuters.com; tel: +254202224717) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. All rights reserved.

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