Washington, May 10, 2012 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today an additional financing loan of EURO 37.2 million for the FYR Macedonia Municipal Services Improvement Project. The project puts transparency, financial sustainability and delivery of targeted municipal services for the citizens of FYR Macedonia at the core of its intervention.
The additional financing complements an initial loan of US$25 million and aims to help the country in responding to the dual challenge of increasing investments in municipal services and infrastructure, whilst tackling shortcomings in municipal performance and local capacity. The money will support the Government of FYR Macedonia program for 2011-2015, which underscores the importance of investments in urban infrastructure and municipal services to support economic growth and employment.
“The project is part of FYR Macedonia’s efforts to accelerate economic growth and increase citizens’ living standards through improving municipal services, while at the same time improving governance, transparency and financial sustainability of public service delivery,” said Björn Philipp, World Bank project team leader. “The project also supports the government’s overarching goal to meet conditions for EU membership.”
To date the original project has helped deliver better municipal services to towns across FYR Macedonia. In the town of Kocani, 11,000 residents are now enjoying water supply 24-hours a day. The local water utility company has achieved a reduction in water losses and improved its operating efficiency. In Bogdanci municipality, home to over 8,000 people, there’s today 100 percent coverage with public street lighting and 47 percent of energy savings have been achieved. In the capital of Skopje, over 11,500 households have access to waste collection services and waste selection at source has been introduced for over 4,800 households through a pilot project.
Going forward the additional funding will complement support under the original project through: i) sub-loans to municipalities for investments in the water and sanitation services, solid waste management and other revenue-generating or cost saving high-priority areas; ii) assistance to municipalities and their communal service enterprises in strengthening their capacity to provide public services, communications and public outreach; and iii) provision of investment grants to municipalities as a reward for initiatives leading to service delivery improvements. These interventions aim to support municipalities in FYR Macedonia to take full advantage of the decentralization process, including access to EU pre-accession resources, and help municipal governments play a greater role in delivery of a range of public services.
FYR Macedonia joined the World Bank in 1994. Since then, commitments to the country have totaled more than US$800 million. The current portfolio includes 10 projects worth US$280 million. Areas of support include transport, energy, social assistance, business environment, and agriculture.