WASHINGTON, April, 28, 2011 –The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a package designed to help Albania improve the effectiveness of its social safety nets, and enhance the efficiency and equity of health financing. The Social Sector Reform Development Policy Loan (DPL), a loan of US$ 25 million is designed to support improvements of social assistance programs to better reach the poor and those without access to basic social services.
This operation supports policies that strengthen the mechanisms to allocate funds and select beneficiaries in the main social assistance program; introduce incentives for investing in human capital by providing an additional benefit linked to school enrollment and attendance for families with school age children; initiate the process to create a unified registry of beneficiaries of social assistance programs; and change the indexation formula of the disability benefits program, to control the share of resources allocated to this program, which is growing disproportionately.
In addition, this operation will enhance the efficiency and equity of health spending, by introducing more predictable fiscal rules to finance health; improving the methods for contracting with providers and the capacity to monitor their performance; and granting health insurance coverage to social assistance beneficiaries.
“In both sectors, there has been progress in reaching the poor, but further changes, supported by this operation, are needed,” said Daniel Dulitzky, Sector Manager and Task Manager for this project. “In the social safety net the project aims to improve equity, efficiency, transparency and effectiveness in the use of resources for poverty reduction, while in the health financing sector its objective is to increase access for vulnerable groups, improve efficiency in service provision, and enhancing transparency in the financing of the sector”
Albania became a member of the World Bank in 1991. Since then, 69 projects totaling US$1.4 billion have been supported by IDA and IBRD, and 10 projects totaling US$185 million by IFC. Currently in Albania there are 15 active projects in social sector, health, education, natural resources, water and energy, municipal infrastructure, and public sector management that are helping Albania to achieve sustainable economic and social development and pave the way for European integration.