By Vugar Khalilov
The World Bank (WB) plans to approve loans worth $95 million for Azerbaijan within the next two to three months to fight the coronavirus pandemic, WB representative office head in Azerbaijan Sarah Michael has said.
“We are currently discussing with the Azerbaijani government the implementation of the project (Emergency response to COVID-19) to support the country's authorities in the fight against the coronavirus infection. The WB plans to allocate a loan in the amount of $ 95 million for the implementation of the project “ she said.
Michael added that the project's approval is planned in line with an accelerated procedure, and the WB Board of Directors may approve the allocation of the funds within the next two to three months.
“The Azerbaijani government had certain unforeseen expenses due to COVID-19. In particular, these expenses included measures to combat the infection, support business, and ensure social support for the population's low-income groups. The WB loan will allow the Azerbaijani authorities to partially offset these costs,” she said.
In 2020, the Azerbaijani authorities allocated about AZN 2 billion (about $1.1 billion) or 2.7percent of GDP from the state budget to finance measures to combat the coronavirus, as well as to support business.
In general, the program to support the healthcare system, private business, and state-owned companies against COVID-19 for 2020-2021 is estimated at AZN 3.5 billion (over $2 billion).
Azerbaijan has been a WB member since 1992. So far, the bank has allocated to Azerbaijan loans worth $4.4 billion for the implementation of over 50 projects.
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