Additional $150 million financing will help strengthen Ukraine’s social safety nets
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2020 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today $150 million in Additional Financing for the Social Safety Nets Modernization Project, to enhance and improve social assistance for low-income families in Ukraine.
$50 million of this additional financing will be used as part of Ukraine’s emergency response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. These funds will help ensure larger amounts and faster disbursement of cash transfers via the country’s Guaranteed Minimum Income and Housing and Utilities Subsidy programs. One-off cash transfers will also be provided to the elderly and people with disabilities.
“Thousands of Ukrainian families are already facing difficulty paying for housing and utility services because people are losing their incomes. Pensioners can’t afford to buy even basic medicines and food due to rising prices. It is important to help those people by making social payments swifter and more targeted,” said Alex Kremer, World Bank Acting Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine. “The additional financing will also support start-up grants for small businesses, known in Ukraine as the ‘Hand of Help’, which will support the poor in learning new skills, finding a job, or opening a business”.
“Hand of Help” is an initiative developed by the World Bank and Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy. During 2017-2018, under the ongoing Social Safety Nets Modernization Project, micro financing was provided to support people who were internally displaced as a result of the conflict in Donbas, as well as the poorest among the population. Thanks to the project, 230 people have started new businesses in the Kharkiv, Poltava, and Lviv regions, and in some territorial communities in Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, and Donetsk.
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources in grants or highly concessional terms.