The Financial
Feb 26 2010

The FINANCIAL -- The World Bank 's Board of Executive Directors on
February 25 approved a US$5 million loan for the Additional Financing
for the Armenia Social Protection Administration Project (SPAP).

The Additional Financing will expand activities under the ongoing SPAP
to further improve the delivery of social protection and employment
services by strengthening institutions and better targeting social
safety net programs.

According to World Bank , the Project will target job seekers,
including youth choosing a career path and the rural unemployed, as
well as poor and vulnerable households, current and future pensioners,
and people with disabilities.

The Additional Financing supports several activities that are essential
for further improvement and maintenance of the efficiency of the
social service delivery system, including:

â[email protected]¢ rehabilitation of the regional social service offices;

â[email protected]¢ development and widespread use of management information system
and network of information flows;

â[email protected]¢ introduction of reporting and record-keeping in support of
Armenia's pension reform program;

â[email protected]¢ overcoming the institutional and reform bottlenecks for rural

â[email protected]¢ improving the targeting, coverage and administration of the
social safety net programs; and

â[email protected]¢ integration of social services for efficient and coordinated

"The implementation of the social reform program requires strong
administrative capacities both at central and local levels," said
Asad Alam, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. "With
severely constrained fiscal resources, aggravated by the current global
economic crisis, the Government has to continue pursuing a strategy
aimed at increasing the efficiency of use of program resources and,
in that way, expand the scope for increasing benefit levels and ensure
that the most needy individuals and households are protected."

"While the urgent challenge for the Armenian authorities is to mitigate
the economic and social impacts of the current economic crisis, the
measures supported by the Project will lay the foundations for an
effective post-crisis social protection system that provides vital and
sustainable protection to the poor and the most vulnerable groups,"
added Lire Ersado, head of the World Bank team designing the project.

The IBRD Flexible loan has a maturity of 25 years and a grace period
of 10 years included.

Since joining the World Bank in 1992 and IDA in 1993, the commitments
to Armenia total approximately US$ 1.3 billion.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress