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11 Apr 2019

Belarus, WB to sign $300m worth of loan agreements in 2019

Belarus, WB to sign $300m worth of loan agreements in 2019

MINSK, 11 April (BelTA) – Belarus expects to sign loan agreements on three new projects with the World Bank by the end of 2019, BelTA learned from the press service of the Economy Ministry.

A Belarusian delegation led by Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi is in Washington, D.C., the United States, to take part in the Spring Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG). During their visit, the Belarusian delegation met with Cyril Muller, Vice President for the Europe and Central Asia region of the World Bank.

The parties discussed the World Bank's active portfolio in Belarus that features eight investment projects totaling about $790 million. The parties pointed to the high quality of the active portfolio and efficient utilization of the resources. “Apart from that, the parties shared views on the course of preparation of new infrastructure projects in education, energy efficiency and housing and utilities. The loan agreements on these three projects are to be signed in 2019. The aggregate investment is estimated at around $300 million,” the press service said.

Other promising avenues of cooperation mentioned during the meeting included new projects in energy efficiency in the social sector, upgrade of public finances, transport, and other priority areas.

Apart from the investment portfolio, the parties reviewed progress in drafting the roadmap to increase the efficiency of the domestic economy. In particular, the parties noted that they share the vision of how the stability of the financial sector should be maintained, how public finances should be bolstered and how the public debt management policy should be improved. The World Bank deems it necessary to conduct more dramatic structural reforms in the real economic sector and to simultaneously strengthen social security and social assistance. It is also necessary to reform the energy sector, in particular, to reduce subsidies for heat supply.

The Belarusian delegation informed their WB partners about the government’s determination to keep working to promote small and medium-sized entrepreneurship, to introduce corporate management in the public sector and to strengthen social security, especially at the regional level. As far as heating subsidies are concerned, work will be continued within the framework of the policy adopted by the head of state.

The World Bank emphasized that additional measures to reduce fiscal risks in the public sector might be needed to maintain long-term sustainable economic growth in Belarus.

The Belarusian delegation is on a visit to Washington on 9-14 April to take part in the Spring Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. Apart from traditional meetings with the IMF and the WBG senior executives, the Belarusian delegation is set to hold talks with top managers of the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction Development and other institutions.

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