Central African Republic settles backdated pay, debts

The Central African Republic’s embattled president has ordered the disbursement of two months’ backpay to state workers, local media reported.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera instructed the payment – for unpaid salary dating to November and December 2013 – after reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), they said on Sunday.

Under it, the IMF gave the green light to a loan of $40.2 million, its third tranche in a programme for the deeply impoverished country, as well as an increase in aid.

“I am delighted by this decision (by the IMF) because we met every condition,” Touadera said.

The backpay issue dates back to the regime of Touadera’s predecessor, Michel Djotodia, who was installed in March 2013 by a Muslim rebel coalition, the Seleka, only to be forced out in January 14 under international pressure.

Unions representing state workers had warned of strikes if the money was not paid.

Touadera also said the state would pay outstanding bills totalling nine billion CFA francs ($16.1 million) to its contractors by March next year.

One of the poorest countries in the world, the CAR has been riven by conflict between nominally Muslim and Christian militias, which started after the 2013 overthrow of the then president, Francois Bozize.

Outside of the capital Bangui, most of the country is in the hands of armed groups, who fight over resources in shifting configurations of alliances.

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