KINSHASA, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Congo is in talks with the IMF over a possible new loan agreement, two months after the Fund terminated a previous deal over lack of transparency in the country's booming but murky mining sector.
The International Monetary Fund halted a $250 million programme in December, saying that Congolese authorities had failed to provide sufficient information over the sale of the state's 25 percent stake in a copper mining project.
Democratic Republic of Congo's prime minister told journalists in the capital Kinshasa that he had held two meetings with the IMF's managing director Christine Lagarde during a trip to the United States earlier this week.
'We are in agreement that this question of mining contracts, which blocked our relations, must be resolved,' Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon said, adding that the IMF had said it was willing to start a new programme.
'There will be bilateral discussions between experts from the IMF and from the DRC to deal with this problem and provide the basis for a fresh start.'
Congo had previously promised to publish all extractive industry contracts as part of an IMF- and World Bank-backed programme to improve governance in a sector riddled with corruption.
Matata Ponyo said he had also met U.S. and World Bank officials during his trip, and said the government was committed to tackling graft in Congo, which is ranked as one of the worst places in the world to do business.
'We confirmed the determination of this government to put an end to bad governance in all sectors, including the mining sector,' he said.
(Reporting by Jonny Hogg; Editing by Catherine Evans) Keywords: CONGO DEMOCRATIC/IMF
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