Thursday, March 27, 2014

World Bank to Approve 250 Million-Euro Romania Health-Care Loan

By Andra Timu Mar 27, 2014

March 27 (Bloomberg) --The World Bank’s board will probably approve a 250 million-euro ($345 million) loan to Romaniatomorrow to improve the country’s health care infrastructure, said Elisabetta Capannelli, the lender’s country manager.

The Washington-based lender is working with the Romanian government on a new country partnership strategy for 2014-2017 that may include funding of 1 billion euros a year, Capannelli said in an interview in Bucharest yesterday. It may take as much as six months for lawmakers to ratify a program, allowing for disbursement to start, she said.

“This is only a first step and a lot remains to be done as there is an important gap between the quality of Romania’s health care system compared with the rest of the European Union,” Capannelli said.

Romania, the European Union’s second poorest nation has obtained three consecutive loan accords from the International Monetary Fund, the EU and the World Bank in the past five years to help it stay afloat and push through measures to streamline its economy. The government cut the budget deficit to about 2.5 percent of economic output last year from 7.2 percent in 2009.

It stopped drawing bailout funds in 2011, and now has a 4-billion euro precautionary accord with the lenders that ends next year.

The 250 million euros from the World Bank will be used to modernize hospitals, improve health governance and help fight different diseases, such as cancer, Capannelli said.

Romania will probably also tap another 300 million euros from the World Bank this year as part of a 1 billion-euro loan approved last year, from which it has used 700 million euros, to help fund itsbudget deficit, according to Capannelli.

“The money is at the disposal of Romania and we expect it to be drawn either by the end of the current fiscal year or next,” Capannelli said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz Michael Winfrey

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