The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank (WB) on Friday, December 11, decided to provide Ukraine with a loan of US $ 300 million as additional financing aimed at overcoming the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic within the framework of the project “Modernization of the social support system for the population of Ukraine ".
"Social protection measures, for the implementation of which a new loan is provided, will help the government of Ukraine finance social assistance programs in order to save about one million Ukrainians from falling below the poverty line," the WB press service quotes the regional director of the bank for Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine) Arupa Banerjee.
According to him, this support is provided to protect low-income citizens who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and is a powerful anti-poverty response.
According to the bank's forecasts, due to the consequences of the pandemic, the poverty level in Ukraine could grow by 4 percentage points, reaching about 23 percent by the end of 2020. Its experts note that the crisis requires the introduction of prompt emergency response measures in the country and the provision of emergency financial assistance to citizens.
The World Bank also said that the Ukrainian government needs to strengthen the social protection infrastructure and develop systems for payments to the population during the crisis.
"The allocated funds will help Ukraine finance urgent social protection measures to overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which provide for emergency cash payments to those citizens and households who have lost their jobs or sources of income as a result of the pandemic," the bank said in a statement.
Additional funding will support the introduction of an online social assistance assignment system and the expansion of social assistance and pension payments through electronic payments.
In addition, the loan should help strengthen the social protection system in Ukraine in the coming years. The bank estimates that 60 percent of Ukrainians who are on the brink of poverty through the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are not yet recipients of social assistance under any of the existing social protection programs.
Recall that the World Bank has implemented its project "Modernization of the system of social support for the population of Ukraine." It provides for the provision of $ 750 million to the government of Ukraine, including additional funding.
This project supports reforms to reduce poverty and contributes to state policy to protect citizens in need and the introduction of programs to systematically lift families out of poverty, the Interfax-Ukraine agency notes.
As a reminder, on April 30, the World Bank decided to provide Ukraine with the first additional financing in the amount of $ 150 million under this project.