Gates open wide to new opportunities
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to finance reconstruction of waste-water treatment facilities in Orsha, Polotsk and Lida
Minskvodokanal’s waste water treatment facility will also undergo large-scale reconstruction
By the end of 2016 an agreement should be signed to finance reconstruction of waste-water treatment facilities in Orsha, Polotsk and Lida. The EBRD is already, with the Nordic Investment Bank, financing reconstruction of water treatment facilities in Vitebsk, Slonim and Baranovichi, as well as in Grodno and Brest. Equipment is being purchased using EBRD loans.
The provision of financial stability for water services and an improved tariff policy are conditions of loans already signed between the EBRD and Belarus. EBRD leading banker Jan Johansson, with the Department for Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure, speaking in Minsk at a seminar on water utility reform, commented, “Investments aren’t the major goal of the bank; we’d like to make water utility companies financially independent.”
Igor Fomin, the Director of the Economy Ministry’s Pricing Policy Department, notes that tariff policy should balance the interests of consumers and manufacturers. The country has a mechanism of differential payment, with a certain volume of water subsidised and the rest covered in full, to recover expenses.
During the seminar
Mr. Fomin underlines that Belarus’ socio-economic development and budgetary parameter forecasts for 2017 need to take into account the exchange rate of the US Dollar, as well as GDP growth, salaries, and other macroeconomic factors affecting expenditure, including the public’s disposable income. He adds that the EBRD is helping Belarusian organisations optimize expenditure by introducing new technology.
The Belarusian Economy Ministry explains that water utility projects are being financed by the EBRD and the Nordic Investment Bank, jointly with the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership, which names the protection of Baltic Sea ecology as one of its goals. As work indirectly affects the Baltic Sea, the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership is supporting the initiative, and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), which is keen to implement ecological projects, is providing assistance to Belarus.
The Economy Ministry is eager to implement more projects with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, covering new opportunities for Belarus-EBRD co-operation, including in the spheres of power engineering and transport.
By Vladimir Khromov