World Bank approves US$5 million loan for social protection in Armenia

26.02.2010 15:36
World Bank approves US$5 million loan for social protection in Armenia

YEREVAN, February 26. /ARKA/. On Thursday, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$5 million loan for the Additional Financing for the Armenia Social Protection Administration Project (SPAP), the press office of the World Bank reports.

“The Additional Financing will expand activities under the ongoing SPAP to further improve the delivery of social protection and employment services by strengthening institutions and better targeting social safety net programs,” the WB press release says.

The Project will target job seekers, including youth choosing a career path and the rural unemployed, as well as poor and vulnerable households, current and future pensioners, and people with disabilities.

The Additional Financing supports several activities that are essential for further improvement and maintenance of the efficiency of the social service delivery system, including

rehabilitation of the regional social service offices; development and widespread use of management information system and network of information flows; introduction of reporting and record-keeping in support of Armenia’s pension reform program; overcoming the institutional and reform bottlenecks for rural employment; improving the targeting, coverage and administration of the social safety net programs; and integration of social services for efficient and coordinated delivery.

“The implementation of the social reform program requires strong administrative capacities both at central and local levels,” said Asad Alam, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “With severely constrained fiscal resources, aggravated by the current global economic crisis, the Government has to continue pursuing a strategy aimed at increasing the efficiency of use of program resources and, in that way, expand the scope for increasing benefit levels and ensure that the most needy individuals and households are protected.“

Lire Ersado, head of the World Bank team designing the project, said “while the urgent challenge for the Armenian authorities is to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the current economic crisis, the measures supported by the Project will lay the foundations for an effective post-crisis social protection system that provides vital and sustainable protection to the poor and the most vulnerable groups.”

The IBRD Flexible loan has a maturity of 25 years and a grace period of 10 years included.

Since joining the World Bank in 1992 and IDA in 1993, the commitments to Armenia total approximately US$ 1.3 billion. -0---


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