Dushanbe, Tajikistan, August 24, 2012 – Over 200,000 people residing in five towns of Tajikistan – Kurgan-Tube, Farkhor, Dangara, Kulyab, and Vose – will benefit from improved access to clean water and high-quality utility services as a result of US$ 11.85 million of additional financing for the World Bank’s Tajikistan Municipal Infrastructure Development Project (MIDP).
On August 23, 2012 World Bank Country Manager in Tajikistan Marsha Olive and Minister of Finance of Tajikistan Safarali Najmiddinov signed the grant agreement to finance the costs of expanding investment in the water and sanitation sector and solid waste management, and place a greater emphasis on institutional strengthening to ensure long-term improvements in the quality of people’s lives. Around US$2 million of this financing will be made available to the Government under a retroactive financing mechanism to mitigate seasonal floods in the Khatlon Region.
The Municipal Infrastructure Development Project aims at improving the availability, quality, and efficiency of delivery of basic municipal services to the population, including water, sanitation, and solid waste management. The additional financing will support the Government of Republic of Tajikistan in implementing the “Concept for Housing and Communal Services Reform 2010-2020” approved in 2010 by financing the development of a Municipal and Communal Services Sector Strategy and Design of a Communal Services Development Fund to identify the reforms required to further improve the delivery of communal services.
A component of the project also aims at strengthening the capacity of the State Unitary Enterprise “Khojagiyi Manziliyu Kommunali” (SUE “KMK”) to provide centralized oversight over local utilities, and to respond to emergency situations caused by natural disasters through better equipment and flood protection measures along selected vulnerable river sections. The additional financing will allow for piloting of a number of initiatives, including the Household Connection Subsidy program for small towns to improve equity of access to water supply, and piloting of modern billing and collection technology.
“The Bank has always placed a high priority on improving the quality of water services delivered to the people of Tajikistan, as well as helping ensure the sustainability of these improvements. The continuation of this project will enable an additional 25,000 people to benefit from safe drinking water,” said Marsha Olive, World Bank Country Manager in Tajikistan.
The original MIDP, launched in 2006, has successfully implemented municipal infrastructure investments in eight participating towns: Kurgan-Tube, Kulyab, Dangara, Istaravshan, Gharm, Vose, Kanibadam, and Vahdat, through: i) financing the rehabilitation and repair of infrastructure and installations and the replacement of equipment at local branches of the SUE “KMK”, and ii) assisting the SUE “KMK” and its local branches in improving the management of basic municipal services delivery. As a result of the project, the eight participating towns have benefited from a 146 percent increase in the number of people with access to an improved water source, an average of 20 percent increase in the number of daily access hours to water, and an average of 31 percent reduction in unaccounted water.
The World Bank is committed to improving the operational and financial sustainability of the utilities sector in Tajikistan. Thus, in two of the five towns, at the request of the Tajik Government, the World Bank will pilot institutional strengthening measures to complement infrastructure investments in water, sanitation, and solid waste services that can potentially be scaled up nationally. The pilot initiatives aim to increase the sustainability and performance of water supply services. The additional grant will assist the Government in identifying financing mechanism options to support the development of the water and sanitation sector, and attract and leverage donor contributions.
The Tajikistan Municipal Infrastructure Development Project is currently financed through a US$26.85 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), part of the World Bank Group; US$2.53 million of co-financing from the Government of Tajikistan; in addition to US$88 thousand in contributions from project beneficiaries.
The current World Bank portfolio in Tajikistan consists of 14 projects with net commitments of US$225 million. The largest share of the portfolio is in the energy and water sector (35 percent) followed by agriculture and rural development (31 percent), human development – education, health and social protection (30 percent), and economic policy and public sector (4 percent).